“In the world of yoga, a prop is any object that helps you stretch, strengthen, balance, relax, or improve your body alignment”
Props include yoga mats, which are sticky, nonskid mats essential for providing stability and preventing your hands and feet from slipping, blankets that provide padding and support, long yoga straps and belts that are used in dozens of innovative ways to help you stretch further and prevent muscle and joint strain, bolsters, blocks, chairs and benches that support the body in various ways, wall ropes, sandbags, back benders, and many other objects designed to help students experience the various yoga poses more profoundly and safely, eye pillow, neck pillow, neck wrap, back pillow, zafu designed to help while meditating and relaxation.Why use Yoga Props?
By providing support, props help you to extend beyond habitual limitations and teach you that your body is capable of doing much more than you think it can.
Props are used to teach specific actions such as lengthening the spine and opening the chest.
Props can be used to make postures more challenging; to safely stretch farther; to work in a deeper, stronger way; and to expand, open, and blossom in a pose. In yoga we are asking the body to “work against the grain.” We are asking the body to let go of the death grip that habit and conditioning have on us. Props help us to accept this revolutionary (and evolutionary) process.
Using yoga props makes postures safer and more accessible. Most of the people are quite stiff by the time they start yoga, and props allow them to practice poses they would not ordinarily be able to do. Many people also often come to yoga with problems, ranging from back and neck pain to knee problems to chronic injuries. The more problems a student has, the more useful yoga props are.
Props allow you to hold poses longer, so you can experience their healing effects. By supporting the body in the yoga posture, muscles can lengthen in a passive, non-strenuous way. By opening the body, the use of props also helps to improve blood circulation and breathing capacity.
One of the greatest benefits of yoga as we grow older is that it offers exercise without exhaustion. Yoga replenishes our precious energy reserves. Supporting the body with props opens the door to what is known as “Restorative Yoga”, which not only allows you to exercise without exerting any effort but simultaneously relaxes and reenergizes you. This is critical during times when we find ourselves feeling too tired to exercise and then feeling even more tired because we are not exercising.
By using props, students who need to conserve their energy can practice more strenuous poses without overexerting themselves. People with chronic illness can use props to practice without undue strain and fatigue.
Props are adapted to each student’s body type and flexibility. They are especially helpful to anyone who may avoid certain poses because of fear, problems with balance due to loss of hearing and eyesight, pain, or other limitations.
Props help all practitioners—including both the most advanced students and those of advanced years—to receive the deep benefits of postures held for sustained periods of time.Eight Reasons Why Props Are Beneficial for Yoga Practitioners
- People tend to stretch from their more flexible areas and rely on their better-developed muscles for strength. Props encourage weak parts to strengthen and stiff areas to stretch, thus balancing and realigning the whole body.
- Props allow us to stay in poses long enough to release tension and experience deeper levels of relaxation.
- Props allow us to practice inverted poses safely and to reverse the downward pull of gravity, slowing down the aging process.
- Props help prevent injuries and help old injuries to heal.
- Props help us conserve and replenish energy, which becomes increasingly important as we grow older and also during times of illness.
- Props make difficult poses more accessible and safe. They allow even those who start late in life to hold poses for a long time, without strain.
- Props help create space in the spine and the joints, ever more important as we grow older and cope with issues such as osteoporosis, arthritis and joint replacements.
- Props allow older practitioners with balance problems to practice the weight-bearing standing poses, helping them to remain independent and out of wheelchairs.
Props can be used for: