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June 05, 2019 4 min read

We can all use a little support sometimes. And just a few essential yoga props can help you get much more from your practice.

 

The idea of using support props in yoga was an innovation of B.K.S. Iyengar, who began teaching yoga in 1936 in Mysore, India.  One of the founders of modern yoga, Iyengar’s method, which is still widely practiced today, is a form of hatha yoga with a particular focus on precision and alignment of the body in the poses.  He added props to help accomplish this - but his props were things he found around his home such as bricks, cushions, belts.  He innovated from there, developing just the right tools to help the body achieve the correct alignment in each pose.

 

Props can be used by anyone, at any stage of their practice, and in any form of yoga.  There are so many benefits to having a little extra support in the poses.  Here is how props can help you:

 

  • Make certain poses easier, accessible for all body shapes
  • Help you to go deeper, to safely stretch a little more, to lengthen and extend the reach a little further
  • Provide more space and room to move and explore a pose
  • Provide support and comfort so that you can stay longer and with more comfort in a pose, which is an opportunity to focus on your breathing and to listen to your body

 

Why is it helpful to stay longer in poses?

 

When we can linger comfortably in a pose, we have the opportunity to focus on the breath, to listen to what the body has to tell us.  Holding a pose for longer develops physical and mental stamina, as well as builds confidence.  And finally, supporting the body with props for yin yoga and restorative yoga allows the muscles to relax and the work can go deeper, beyond the muscles and into the fascia (connective tissue).

 

The world of props has evolved since Mr. Iyengar first picked up a building block to help a student reach into a pose.  There are now many, many props available, many new-fangled inventions, so how to choose?  I recommend that we really only need a few, well-chosen props.  Each prop you choose should be useful to you in your practice.  If you choose well, you will use and love your props for years.  Prefer props that are high quality, made by eco-conscious and socially-conscious companies.  Choose beautiful fabrics, textures and colours that will contribute to the harmony of your sanctuary. 

 

My 6 must-have props

 

  1. YOGA MAT- you can certainly practice yoga on the floor, the carpet or the grass.  But with a good quality yoga mat that offers good grip, you will stay firm and solid in the pose, so you can focus on doing the pose itself instead of on your hands and feet slipping.  After experimenting with several different mats, finally finding the right yoga mat was the biggest game changer in my practice.  I have two mats, one always stays pristine in my sanctuary and one that goes out to classes with me.  Want some tips on how to choose your yoga mat?  Click HERE.

 

  1. MEDITATION CUSHION - useful for yoga as well as meditation.  In yoga, a cushion helps us to get a little extra height, a comfortable tilt of the pelvis when doing seated poses- in particular this is good for people with tight hamstrings, and those needing more comfort for the lower back.

 

  1. BLOCK - can add height to a seated pose or bring the floor closer to you in standing poses (I finally conquered half moon pose with the help of a block).  Blocks are handy tools because they offer three different height settings (low, medium, high) so you can use it according to your need. 

 

  1. BOLSTER- can be used to prop the body in many ways: lie back and drape your body over a bolster for a beautiful heart opening, giving support and length to the spine; it can be used to bridge the space between your body and the floor in forward folds so you can relax into a pose, hang out, feel supported, release all tension.

 

  1. STRAP - allow you to go deeper into a pose, particularly straight leg seated poses, allow you to go the the edge safely and with comfort. Can be used to restrain our movements, ie prevent legs from moving further apart.  extend reach (ie behind your back)

 

  1. SHAWL (or blanket) - A warm shawl extremely useful for a comfortable meditation, essential for savasana.  It can also can be folded and stacked to sit on for more height, support and cushion for your knees, used to cushion shoulders and arms in inversions, provide comfort for ankles in seated poses.

   

Of course you can be creative and use what you have around your home as a prop: sofa cushion, door frame, kitchen counter, stack of books, tie or scarf.   

 

But I invite you to discover our beautiful HUM collection of yoga and meditation essentials. 

 

As a result of my quest to discover just the right products to turn my yoga and meditation practice into a beautiful experience that would heighten all my senses, products that met my needs for beauty, quality, and the human touch, I have created this special collection of essential tools (and little luxuries too!).  You will find all the props listed above, many feature our exclusive HUM fabric designs specifically created to subtly support your practice with patterning on pattern, message inside message — sacred calligraphic art and the resonant treatment of our mantra, our word: HUM.  Mandalas and Mantras will resonate along with you during your meditation.  

 

Each piece will help you to create a serene and inspiring atmosphere in your home and your practice sanctuary, add a powerful element of ritual, and make your practice a sublime and sensorial experience.

 


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