I have to admit, I can sometimes be a bit of a big kid in yoga class. Try a new balance? Oooh yes (try not to giggle as I fall over)! Inversions (or my attempts) can feel a bit like playing, maybe it’s the excitement of the challenge. Likewise, when our teacher asks us to take some props (blocks, belts, blankets, bolsters) I get curious about what that class will bring!
Props are of course, hugely important to everyone’s practice. They give support to prevent overstraining and injury and they add confidence when trying something new. There is nothing better than using props in a relaxation pose to allow you to linger and stretch.
While I love using props in class, I’m often more reluctant to use them at home so I thought I’d share some ideas for using use props to enhance your home practice. Pillows and rolled up blankets can be easily incorporated into your session. Remember, this might only be ten minutes before bed or in the morning but your body will be grateful for the attention.
Build Chaturanga strength by pressing down into your hands and lifting your shoulder heads back up an inch or two away from the blocks, or try lowering down to the blocks and hovering just above them without touching your shoulders to them.
Great for the hamstrings, this wide leg forward fold can be held for 5-7 breaths or more. Remember to breathe into the backs of the legs, visualizing the hip joints in line with the ankles.
A beautiful heart opener, to undo a day hunched over the computer. Place the block underneath where your bra strap would be, make sure your head is supported and melt towards the floor. Keep palms facing up and legs straight or with soles of feet together and knees out wide (my favourite). Linger as long as your heart desires.
Check this out for comfort! Supported Shavasana is great for achy lower back or knees. Take a bolster and a blanket and give your body a little support wherever it needs it. Don’t forget an eye pillow, relaxation bliss!
So, at your next class, don’t hesitate to grab whichever props you fancy when you arrive so you have them close to hand throughout your practice.
Have fun and enjoy!
About the Author
Aisling may work a desk job but loves nothing more than being active and getting out into the fresh air and sunshine. She is a big fan of staying healthy and happy and believes the two are strongly linked.
She fell in love with yoga because of its feel good benefits and continues to reap the rewards of a regular practice every week. She adores the snow and sunshine and indulges in surfing or snowboarding as the season dictates. As a nutritional therapist and a bit of a foodie, she enjoys trying new recipes, looking for the balance between the wholesome and the indulgent!
Aisling has been our Yoga Dublin blogger for over two years and loves sharing her tips and insights for a healthy lifestyle.