Beginners need good guidance and support when starting any new thing. The same goes for beginning with yoga. Finding an instructor you understand, and creating a beginner friendly workspace can make all the difference in keeping up with your new skill. Props in yoga are tools to help you as you learn how to practice. They can make poses that are challenging more accessible, and sometimes, they can also be used to make poses more challenging.
Whether you're new to yoga, young or older, creating a positive experience while you learn will only contribute to your growth and ability to be successful and consistent.
Creating, or building that experience requires tools, and this is how most things are made. In yoga, there are some basic tools that we use. These tangibles are commonly called Props. The intangibles come through experience and intuition, and take time. They are intertwined, and linked by your ability to be present while practicing.
A home yoga practice needs props. Inclusion and body positive aren’t just buzz words. Just stop and notice if you feel aging in your body.
—— things that come to mind ——
• creaky sounds in the bones
• tightness in low back and joints
• slower recovery time from movement
• discomfort when sitting
• popping or stiff hips
These are common and normal things to experience. Having tools to meet your body where it is at in the present moment will only add value to your yoga practice.
Work with what you have where you are, if you can’t afford the props, make your own with similar sizes and shapes. A strap, like the one I have here, is repurposed from my kid sized yoga mat. I love this strap because it has built in loops, which make using a strap more inclusive and accessible. Yoga straps can be used to extend the legs, and offer more space for people with tighter joints. If you don't have access to a strap, towels, belts or bands work well as a modification.
My mat is a natural cork layer mat that is amazing for my knees. I require extra cushion, as I have minimal cartilage in my knees. I also use a yoga blanket to add extra cushion. There are lots of yoga mats out there. If you're just getting started, I recommend an affordable mat that has enough cushion for your knees and back. Good mats are not cheap, but if you are on a budget, you can always use a double mat stack with some of the basic mats you can find at Marshalls or Target. Ask your friends if they have an extra mat laying around too. You never know, they might have one they outgrew and aren't using anymore!
My favorite block is a triangle shaped block, which fits in many other places that the rectangular block can’t fit. Literally creating support around bones and joints that have aged with these tools makes for a happy body. Blocks can be made out of lots of materials, from foam to cork. Comfort is key for me, so I use softer and lighter blocks. Blocks are quite literally building blocks for your body, so be mindful of that as you use them when you practice.
When you realize how to build support for yourself, recognize that "Ahaa" moment and let it move into your Daily Presence. A regular practice will teach you just how capable you are of using your yoga practice "Off the Mat" and into your daily presence.
If you want more info or to order props, check out
@be.jollie for that amazing strap
@mantradogyoga for the cork mat
and @theyogatriangle for the triangle blocks and rectangle blocks
I’d love to see more engagement on my posts. I hope your feel motivated to share! Please comment below and answer these questions:
1.) What kind of props have you used before?
2.) How do you create support for yourself on a daily basis?
3.) How do you take your yoga practice off of your mat and into your daily living?
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