Table of Content
- Helps personalize the practice
- Helps to breathe deeper and relax more
- Quiets the mind
- Encourages to experiment
- Provides feedback that can be applied in everyday life
- Helps in true alignment
- Cultivate true comfort
Amateurs in yoga find it quite beneficial to use yoga props in the beginning when their bodies lack flexibility, balance and strength. They can safely practice the difficult yoga poses with the help of props. Experienced yoga practitioners also use yoga props to deepen their practice. These yoga props work as an assistant to them as they improve effectiveness of the asanas. It is better to use a tool or prop than being discouraged in a particular pose. There are various types of props used in yoga. They are balls, bolsters, blankets, blocks, straps, chairs etc. People have this misconception that a prop dumbs down a posture. But in reality, a prop enhances and advances the yoga practice. It helps a practitioner in mastering postures which demands flexibility and balance. It also helps in deepening twists and building muscles.
There are various benefits of using props in yoga.
1. Helps personalize the practice
There is a certain limitation when yoga is practiced without the props. Many times, we struggle to force the body to look the way we think it should look. But it leads to injury which could be quite dangerous. Using props help to easily achieve proper alignment which allows getting more from each asana like stretching, strengthening etc. E.g. Blocks help in ‘bringing the floor up to you’ in asanas that require flexibility and strength. When the pose ‘Balancing Half Moon’ is practiced, usage of blocks beneath the hand closest to the ground increases the safety of the posture and encourages the body to focus on developing core strength.
2. Helps to breathe deeper and relax more
One of the key aspects of yoga is the breathing practice. Sometimes we tend to forget to breathe deeply while maintaining the position of the body. One of the main benefits of yoga are that it helps us in a state of stress and anxiety which is only possible if breathing is done properly in yoga; as it leads to a sense of calmness. With the help of props, we are able to breathe deeply which in turn activates the parasympathetic nervous system which releases tension. E.g. Blankets help to relax the body during the Savasana pose by providing comfort and warmth. Even if the blanket is folded several times, it gives tremendous support to the body. In this way it helps in the overall relaxation of the body.
3. Quiets the mind
It is very important to have a steady mind when one is performing yoga. One should not get distracted by stress of not being able to do the pose appropriately without falling down. E.g. While doing the ‘half-moon pose’ blocks help to stay steady while doing a pose thereby maintaining calmness.
4. Encourages to experiment
Certain poses which are complex to do can be done efficiently with the help of props. Even the advanced techniques can be done with the use of props. E.g. Poses such as ‘Pigeon’ can be done with the help of bolster by placing it directly in front of the body to rest the torso. Similarly, by placing the block between the legs during bridge helps in adductor muscles which are not possible otherwise. In this way, with the help of props, one is able to experiment the new and advanced techniques.
5. Provides feedback that can be applied in everyday life
Props provide awareness about one’s self that what poses the body can perform and to what extent the body can stretch while performing yoga. It gives feedback regarding the imbalances in body whether it is muscle imbalance or something else. In this way one can address the issue and work towards it. It opens more pathways so that one can explore the practice.
6. Helps in true alignment
The true mechanics of the pose can be learned through props. People have this misconception that props encourage to cheat but in reality, they provide a lesson in true alignment. E.g. In a pyramid triangle pose if the block is used, then it helps in balancing the pelvis while the hips level and legs are kept engaged. In this way props play a very significant role in the alignment of poses.
7. Cultivate true comfort
The struggle to get a pose altogether can be reduced with the help of props. It helps in avoiding pain and the original aim of the pose can be attained rather than the discomfort. E.g. A blanket acts as a true comfort while doing low lunge pose or a half-split pose. It provides padding when one’s knee is drop to the floor. In this way, props help in cultivating true comfort by making the yoga experience quite enriched.
Props play a very important role in performing various yoga poses. They not only give awareness to our body but also act as a foundation in exploring the body alignment. Mat being one of the most important props deepens one’s yoga experience. Various props like blocks, blankets, bolsters, chairs etc. are quite affordable and easily available. These props are not only used by beginners but also by advanced yogis in practicing different postures. People with physical disabilities can also use props.
The best thing about props is that they provide a true experience of the poses to people of all shapes, sizes and ages practicing yoga. One can avoid the risk of injury or pain when doing a challenging pose with the help of props. Props can also be known as ‘the training wheels’ as they act as a learning tool to get smarter in yoga and also more creative in yoga practices. Props certainly encourage the yoga practice to be more versatile and doable for all.