Yoga teachers guide us to listen to and respect our body, and yoga props serve to deepen the practice. The equipment acts as a support that allows you to completely relax and better control your breathing.
Do I need to use props while practicing yoga?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a short answer to this question. Certain types of yoga, such as Ashtanga yoga, were originally developed for twelve year old boys from India. They had youthfulness, genetics and lack of injury, which made them very flexible and resilient. This type of yoga does not require cushions, blocks or straps. But you and I are most likely not twelve-year-old boys. We are adults, with our own injuries, sedentary work and sedentary lifestyles, and in some cases with minimal flexibility.
Each instructor will have his own answer to the question whether additional props are needed. Some teachers love them and actively use them, others are categorically against them. But you should consider that instructors teach based on their 200-300-500 hours of training, their personal practice, their own experience, and what they have learned from previous students. So the most important advice, try it yourself, examine your body, and decide how you feel better with or without equipment. Keep open to the world and any opportunities to comprehend it, because your practice is what over time works for you!
In this article, we will analyze exactly how to use the props, so as not to restrain yourself in practice.
It all depends on the teacher
Usually, if you like yoga, or absolutely dislike it, it is very much up to the teacher. Some teachers are more experienced, others less, and they do not always notice where and how an asana can be modified. If the full version of the asana is not yet available to you, and you are offered to use blocks or other props, take them without hesitation! This is your opportunity to get closer to the correct posture, without undue stress and harm to yourself. Some teachers, on the contrary, do not like to use props, but they know how to simplify the asana. Sometimes teachers suggest using props, not because the students cannot do anything, but in order to work pointwise on certain parts of the body.
Don’t get attached
The props are suitable for deepening regular practice. But it’s important not to get attached to him. Since any modifications of asanas are similar to crutches. It seems that we have entered a pose, but we still cannot breathe in it without props. At first glance, additional equipment helps to enter the asana, and facilitate the posture, even deepen it somewhere. But in the end, try to work on your own.
After all, this is very important for your body. Yoga is an incredible practice. In it you will never know how deep you can go until you try.
A prime example of this is the use of the wall during inverted asanas. We like to do the handstand against the wall because we know it’s safe. But, also knowing that the wall is near, you can avoid the correct technique of entering the asana, and fly into a handstand or headstand, knowing that you will not fall. Not using your abs for support, not choosing the strength of the push, and not aligning correctly. But if you want to grow, develop and move forward in this direction, you need to remove the wall from time to time. This is when you will understand exactly which muscles need to be activated in order to properly hold a handstand, or on the head, or forearms. You will get a feel for how your body is responding to a change in balance, and you will know which muscles your body uses when it needs balance in an inverted position.
Using props is a reason to experiment…
What’s so great about yoga accessories?
They help our rigid bodies to find lightness and mobility. We can master asanas that were previously not available for tense and non-flexible bodies. Thanks to them, the practice deepens, and you begin to feel your divisions, and also learn to breathe in asanas.
So, what we use in practice most often: blocks (bricks), belts and rollers (pillows).
You create the space inside the body yourself
Often we see people wrapped in a pretzel on social networks, or in crazy handstands, this is certainly not for everyone. And not everyone shows that years of practice passed before turning into incomprehensible poses, not without the help of props. But by adding props to your practice, you can get the most out of your body and unleash its potential.
Blocks, they are bricks
- They can be made of wood or foam and can be of different heights. Blocks improve your practice like the hands of an experienced instructor. What are they for? They deepen the posture, align, provide support where needed. Most of us are not flexible enough to reach the floor in slopes with our hands, which is where blocks come in handy.
- The belts perfectly complement the blocks, help us stretch the back of the body, and reduce the risk of injury. Belts are usually made of non-elastic nylon or cotton, some can stretch, others only to fix. Also, some have a special fastener so that you can make a loop for holding.
- Pillows or bolsters, bloggers, vary depending on the size, your goals and the type of yoga. They exist in varying degrees of hardness. But usually they look like big bolsters and blankets folded several times. Although not many people work with them, they are some of the best options for additional support. They actively work with rollers and bloisters of the instructor on soft yoga for pregnant women, and during yin yoga. Instead of forcing the body to enter asanas that it is not ready to enter, the rollers help relax tense muscles. You can also use meditation cushions and bolsters during shavasana.
“There is a misconception that if you use a block, you are a beginner or not advanced enough,” the teachers note.
As an instructor, I rarely teach in a class without one or even two blocks. I think they are incredible tools for all yogis, not just beginners. When used correctly, blocks open many doors for both beginners and advanced practitioners.
Difficult poses become available
In most asanas, you have to reach the floor to align your body. Yoga blocks are great for getting closer to the floor without using your lower back. After all, not everyone can safely bend forward, the back of the thigh is simply not ready. Over time, thanks to the straps and blocks, you will understand exactly which muscles you need to turn on in order for the asana to work. And the body will allow you to.
Props are also used to enhance any asana. For example, you feel at ease, and you are looking for much greater sensations in the chair posture. To do this, simply place a block between your knees. The same can be done in nawasan, boat pose, placing a block between the knees to activate the inner thigh.
And of course yoga equipment makes us think about humility. Because in asanas there is always something to strive for, and you will always have several levels to study a particular asana. And the props will help you navigate in practice on the path of self-improvement of spirit and body.