How many times have you discarded the thought of using a yoga prop or accessory because you think it is cheating? A shortcut? The use of props and its effectiveness has been extensively discussed, and is practiced, in Iyengar Yoga. However, the use of props is not limited to one particular style or is not something meant just for newbs.
The wide array of Yoga accessories are often misunderstood or undermined because practitioners often assume that it may stop them from deepening their practice. Yoga mats; however, are now widely accepted as s must-have yoga accessory for a fulfilling practice. Thus there is a demand for natural and good Yoga mats that come with excellent grip and durability.
Likewise, accessories like cushions and blankets have always been in use to enable Yogis sit comfortably, and for a longer period in pranayama and meditation. Many Yoga experts and teachers think that Yoga accessories, including props and mats, are extremely useful for daily practice. Deepening the asana, experiencing proper alignment, getting a taste of deep relaxation, and learning how to hold the posture with comfort for a longer duration, are few of the many reasons they love their yoga accessories.
Yoga props and accessories are not here to replace your path, but they are here to help you in the chosen path by providing a strong foundation for alignment, and freedom to explore various other possibilities of asana practice regardless of your physical condition and limitations.
JURU Yoga asked popular Yoga experts about their three main yoga accessories and why they are most preferred. The following are some great reasons to incorporate the use of yoga accessories in your practice!
Samrat Pasham Yoga Teacher,
- Youtube: Svadhyaya Yoga (https://YouTube.com/c/Svadhyayayoga)
- IG: @samratpasham
Here is why I find Yoga Strap, Yoga Blocks and Matover or Mat-Overlay very useful:
Yoga belts or straps are super useful to help open shoulders and hamstrings. They also help in deepening binds and twists.
A pair of Yoga blocks is indispensable when it comes to working on heart openers and arm balances. They are also great in my Yin practices.
A Mat-over or mat overlay can help turn any surface into fair game and they are also lightweight, thus easy to travel with.
Shilpa Shakti, Acro Yogi
- Teacher of the Sivananda Yoga tradition
- IG: @shakti_shilpa
Yoga Mat, Arch Support Socks and Yoga Blocks are three main accessories for my yoga practice because:
A good Yoga mat is essential for me to have the right grip and in turn have right alignment especially while doing poses like downward dog, plank or even handstand.
I find arch support socks very helpful because of my flat foot. It helps me get comfortable with warrior poses and other standing leg stretches without putting a strain on my shin bone or knee.
I just started using blocks and its great as they help me deepen my stretches in poses like straddle forward bend and also work on my pelvic strengthening.
Preksha Badria, Yogini and Dancer
- IG: @the_yoga_way_
For me the most important yoga accessories will be Yoga Mat , a Towel and Yoga Blocks.
Good Yoga Mats provide support and provide the necessary grip. They also save you when you fall, especially when working on inversions and arm balances. Your mat is also your wonderful space. I just leave all my apprehensions and stress behind when I step on my mat.
A towel is a must because of the neverending sweat especially when I practice without the fan. This makes it very slippery sometimes and a towel comes in handy. .
And the Yoga blocks which I started using recently, make my practice even more intense and fun, especially with backbends and splits.
I also use a theraband sometimes to stretch or use an elevated bar or wall .But surely these extra accessories make the practice fun and exciting.
Nagi Chandan Yogini,
- IG: @NagiTheYogi
Three most important yoga accessories for me are, Yoga mat, Water bottle and a Yoga block.
Yoga Mat helps you understand your area of practice.
Water Bottle helps you stay hydrated so you can continue the practice without giving up.
Block helps you get deeper in your practice by not damaging/injuring yourself.
Sakshi Gupta Yoga teacher
- IG: @sakshiguptayoga
Three main yoga props that I need for my yoga practice as well as in my classes are Blocks, Belt and a wall!
Whether you are learning arm balances or you want to shorten the distance between floor and you in asanas like Uttanasana, or if you want to challenge your balance in asanas like Natarajasana and Vrksasana, Blocks are versatile and make our practice so much richer!
My favorite ways to use a Wall is for inversion practice and for hip-opening practice. Learning Sirsasana with support, making the stretch in standing splits more intense and lying in Viparita Karani with my legs up the wall are just a few examples of how we can use wall for every practice.
Learning flip grip in asanas like Dhanurasana, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, or checking alignment in asanas like Virabhadrasana III, Pincha Mayurasana, Chaturanga Dandasana become so much easier with a good Strap! My favorite way to use a strap is as a posture-brace/ shoulder-harness.
A lot of people think props are for beginners. While it is true that props help make yogasanas safer and more accessible for beginner yogis, they are also amazingly effective in intensifying the practice for every level of practitioner.
Maria Kiekari, Yoga and natural movement
- IG: @ KiekariTerra
A Yoga Blanket, Blocks and a natural sustainable Yoga mat are my three main favorites for a practice and here is why:
The Yoga Blanket is a very versatile prop, you can use it as a bolster, it offers smooth support for the joints and for a warm Savasana.
The Yoga Blocks are perfect tools if you want to offer some progressions or regressions for any asana.
And I prefer using a natural and sustainable Mat so I am not inhaling toxins and neither my skin is exposed to chemicals and synthetics while doing a detoxifying practice in all it’s dimensions such as Yoga.
Lara Fernandez, Yogini
- Youtube: Chandrini Yoga http://www.chandriniyoga.com
- IG: @mintyogini
If I could only choose 3 props to have, I would definitely go for a good Yoga Mat, a Strap (belt), and a set of Blocks. While I use other things too, such as a wheel to warm up my back, and blankets (to sit on, to cushion joints, or to cover myself in shavasana), these are not as essential to me as the ones above.
A trusty mat that supports your practice, makes you feel at “home” when you step on it, has enough grip that our hands and feet don’t slip, and which is dense enough to cushion the joints without being soft or bouncy is a must-have.
Yoga Belts are useful for adding some length to asanas in which the practitioner is not quite ready yet to hold their limbs, such as Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana or Gomukhasana. When used properly, the strap adds just the necessary length to be able to find and hold the stretch.It is also essential for shoulder opening and rotation in more advanced asanas that involve complete shoulder rotation (also known as “flipped grip”) like Natarajasana or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana.
Blocks are a very versatile prop that can help with alignment by adding a stable and higher base for the practitioner to place their lower hand on in poses like Trikonasana, Parsvakonasana, and other standing side stretches. It is also useful to deepen the stretch for advanced practitioners, eg: seated forward bend with blocks pressed against the sole of the feet. Placing blocks under the arched back in poses like Matsyasana, gives you a more passive or yin approach, allowing you to relax and enjoy the heart opener for a longer time.
While I was trained in a school that didn’t particularly encourage the use of props, so as we wouldn’t become too used to “relying” on them, after 9 years of practice, I’ve come to appreciate their value as stepping stones that may help improve our alignment or ease our way into certain asanas.
Hope that yoga props will soon be a part of your daily practice too! If you have been using yoga props, let us know which ones you find most useful and how it has helped you improve your practice. Share your answers as comments below. Thank you!
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