4 Yoga Props Every Yogi Needs for Their At Home Practice
If you've been to my yoga classes (live or virtual) you know that I am a huge fan of yoga props. I love the additional support they offer and I feel they often allow the yogi to open the body more fully and safety, while softening deeper into the poses.
There seems to be some stigma around using yoga props. In some cases I have experienced people viewing the use of props as to mean one is somehow weak. Please observe that this is merely the egoic mind and that the use of yoga props can actually deepen your practice and allow you to reach levels of a posture that might have otherwise been unattainable. I invite you to notice if any resistance to use yoga props arises within you and explore where this may be coming from.
As always, I like to remind my students that you are your own guru and you know what's best for your body. Always tune in and listen to your body and move in a way that best supports you in your practice.
If you have a regular at home practice or you're beginning to build one, you might enjoy the benefits these props offer.
I personally use yoga props in my asana practice, meditation and Yoga Nidra and I cannot imagine my practice without these tools.
Below you will find 4 props, plus one bonus prop, that I personally own and use and I believe every yogi would benefit from having at home for their personal practice.
Please note that not all instructors will guide their practice with the use of props, but as you become comfortable and familiar with your props you'll be able to bring them into your personal practice to enhance your experience, even when the instructor is not guiding you to use them.
If you are to purchase only one yoga prop I highly recommend yoga blocks (2). Yoga Blocks have transformed my teachings and practice and they are the first thing I recommend to my clients and students. Yoga Blocks have a wide variety of uses that expand beyond cute yoga photoshoots (haha- see image below); from simply sitting on one in your seated meditation to a vigorous asana practice to support through restorative and yin sequences, blocks are a wonderful tool to have. There are softer blocks and firmer blocks available. I personally prefer the firmer blocks like these Yoga Blocks and this set even comes with a strap- all for under $15.
I love bringing out the yoga strap in classes and showing students the many ways this seemingly simple accessory can open up the body; it's my secret magical yoga tool. From shoulder stretches, to heart openers, to leg stretches, to adding a little extra assistance when you can't quite reach your foot in King Pigeon or Dancer pose, or your toes in a forward fold, this tools assists in safely opening up the body and deepening your practice. If you're not purchasing the block and strap set mentioned above, I recommend this strap. If you're not ready to invest in a yoga strap you can also try a belt, dog leash or sarong.
I love, love, love, my bolster. Okay, so I know I've really emphasized the greatness of all of the yoga props thus far, but seriously, this one will change your life; did I mention how much I love my bolster? Yoga bolsters are more commonly used in restorative and yin practices as well as Yoga Nidra. This prop is pure goodness as it allows you to prop your body up in various poses and then hold for longer periods of time, softening into the delicious opening of the body and releasing tension that you've been holding ,all while feeling supported. I highly recommend this Bolster by Hugger Mugger. A bolster is firmer then a pillow, or stack of pillows, believe me I've tried, and therefor offers more support in your practice. You can also make a bolster using your two blocks and a blanket, which I have often done in studios that don't offer bolster. While this can be done, I personally prefer a bolster any day.
A yoga blanket also has a wide range of uses from offering support under your knees in a table top position or any other poses that put pressure on your knees, to support under the head in various stretches, to adding additional height to props in supported postures, to covering yourself in savasana and Yoga Nidra. Now you might be thinking "why would I buy a blanket for my at home yoga practice, Melinda, when I'm clearly at home and I have a bunch of blankets around?" Yes, you can absolutely use blankets around your home, however you will find that many blankets are big, bulky and can be slippery. These blankets might be good to cover yourself in savasana but a yoga blanket will be easier to fold, manipulate and arrange and it won't slip under your knees. I like this Yoga Blanket as I also use it for the beach, picnics and camping, so for me it has a multitude of uses.
Meditation Cushion- Zafu
This prop was a more recent purchase for me; as I mentioned above you can use a block, a bolster or even a folded blanket as your meditation cushion. I personally found a specific cushion for my seated mediation practice, that sits out in front of my alter, to work best for me. It not only serves as a visual reminder for me to come to my practice, but there is a reasons they make a cushion specifically for a seated mediation, it really is more comfortable. Okay so not that meditation is meant to be comfortable, but I have really enjoyed having mine. The zafu I use and love is also by Hugger Mugger.
I look forward to seeing you on the mat, in person or virtually.
Love, Light & Aloha
Find out how to prepare for your at home Yoga Nidra practice HERE.