Yoga props are used by novice and advanced yogis alike to personalize and enhance their experience on the mat. Whether you are joining an online class or practicing on your own, yoga props can come in handy.
Since COVID-19 restrictions have temporarily closed yoga studios’ physical spaces, you may not have access to yoga props right now. Fortunately, you likely have perfectly suitable substitutes on hand in your home.
Yoga Props 101
Yoga props support your practice and help keep you safe. They assist with balance, flexibility and postural support. Besides a yoga mat, four of the most common and useful yoga props are blocks, bolsters, straps and blankets.
Let’s start looking around the house!
Because of their versatility, yoga blocks are one of the most commonly found yoga props in studios. Beginners use them to steady a pose or achieve proper alignment. Comparatively, a more advanced student uses them to experiment with and learn more difficult poses.
If you don’t happen to have yoga blocks at home, look to your bookshelf or pantry to find this important yoga prop. Without a doubt, you may have to dust off your old dictionary if you still have one. If not, use rubber bands to bind together a stack of smaller books to make the perfect yoga block.
If you’ve gone fully digital in your home, you likely have some sturdy cans in your pantry. Though taller, “family size” cans make the best yoga blocks, you can duct-tape two regular cans together for a fine yoga prop.
Books and cans make fine yoga blocks, but what if you want a yoga prop for a Supported Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Cobbler’s pose), Viparita Karani with back support (Legs Up the Wall), or Savasana with a Knee Support (Corpse Pose)?
First, check your bedroom for bolster stand-ins. In addition to being a great place to rest your head at night, your pillow is a great yoga prop! Many are the same thickness as a regular bolster, albeit a bit wider. In addition, you may be able to fold your comforter in such a way that it also serves as a bolster.
Then, if your boudoir comes up short, check your living room. Maybe a decorative pillow, the couch arm cushion, lumbar support or folded throw blanket will serve as your perfect bolster.
Now that you have blocks and a bolster, let’s add a strap to your trove of yoga props on hand. Maybe you cannot clasp your hands in Gomukhasana (Cow Face pose) or reach your foot for Natarajasana (Dancer’s pose). A strap will “extend” your limbs and save the day.
In this case, you should look for something that is thin and sturdy, yet soft. For example, your bathrobe sash, a strong scarf, or several neckties knotted together to meet the strap criteria. By contrast, you should avoid leather belts, bungee cords, and fragile textiles to prevent yoga prop injuries!
This last home-brewed yoga prop will save your knees, at minimum. This is especially important if you’re practicing on a concrete, tile, or hardwood floor with a thin yoga mat or towel.
While blankets and throw pillows make suitable bolsters, a folded hand towel can be a life-saver of a yoga prop while you work on Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat-Cow), Virasana (Hero Pose), and the like. It also is handy when you need to elevate your hips just a little.
If there is a shortage of hand towels in your home due to hand-washing protocols, pull out a regular bath towel. Folding it only once or twice creates your knee pad. As a bonus, you can use it to cover up when you take Savasana (Corpse Pose).
Be Creative with Your Yoga Props
Above all, have fun! Look around the house and experiment with different items to achieve the support you want. Find what works for you and be creative.