Yoga props can be used to reduce stress and calm the mind when learning new postures to create a wider range of motion. Props help to stabilize the body as you work on more advanced postures. What is also practical is that you may be able to use many everyday items in the house that can substitute for store bought props, such as a stack of books.
Yoga Styrofoam blocks used for stability, may be purchased in many stores but wooden blocks you can purchase from a yoga website. You just need to be sure that whatever supporting props you use provide stability and help you feel more comfortable when extending the body. For example, if you have difficulty reaching the hands to the floor or squatting or balancing on bent legs, Yoga blocks can ease physical strain/pressure. You can also use a wall and a strap for stability when practicing leg raises. Leaning against a wall provides security as you gradually use a strap to raise the leg higher. When doing leg raises, you want to use a cloth belt wrapped around the ankle, holding it with one hand and balancing on the other hand on the wall, as you raise the leg.
To practice with props, let’s begin simply by sitting on two folded blankets. Be sure to be resting on the “sitting bones” not the spine. The “sitting bones” are on either side of the buttocks and can support the core when sitting tall without stressing the lower spine.
Body alignment is important in all yoga poses, so selecting a “sticky” yoga mat is important to help the body stabilize and firmly grip the mat without slippage. If a new yoga mat is slippery, rub a little salt into the mat and place it out in the sun to speed up the process of less slippage and a better grip for feet and hands.
Other props such as foam rollers can be used to loosen tight muscles by just rolling on the back and side. Foam rollers are great to use before yoga practice to loosen the body.
Return your body to a sitting posture with legs folded and palms resting on the knees then close the eyes and go inside the body. Work on aligning the ears with the shoulders. Lengthen the back without curves and deeply breath, inhaling and exhaling through the nose to reoxygenate the body with fresh blood. When sitting with legs crossed, be sure you are sitting on the “sitting bones” not the spine. Thus, blankets placed under the buttocks allow folded knees to drop lower to the ground as the back is lengthened.
There are many ways to integrate belts, straps as props to support the body using a solid wall for balance as you lengthen the legs/arms. At the end of Yoga practice, you can apply a warm rag to the forehead or use an “eye pillow.”
Be mentally creative, look around for every day props that you can use for Yoga balance and just begin. Have fun utilizing props for greater physical extension/stability and take up the challenge to learn new postures. Have fun and enjoy the learning process.