Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help
You want to be strong and independent, but sometimes you need guidance whether it’s at work, school, or in everyday situations. The same goes for yoga. If you come from an athletic background it may be challenging to rid yourself of competitiveness. In yoga there are no winners or losers, and you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. It is important when practicing yoga to do your poses correctly and to your own ability and strength to keep yourself safe from injury. This is where props come in.
Don’t think of yoga props and accessories as an “easy way out” or “cheating.” Not so! Everyone’s body is different, as well as its flexibility and movement. Using props gives you the ability to perform a pose correctly and without straining your body or putting it in a position that just doesn’t feel right. Once you rid yourself of the notion that you won’t be getting the most out of your practice, you will be able to feel even more confident doing yoga. Here are some common props and their uses that may help you in your regular flow practice.
1 – Blocks
Blocks can be used as pairs or one their own, or sometimes three at a time! Blocks can be most helpful when doing lunge based poses. Your arms may be on the shorter side or your body does not get low enough for your hand to properly support you on the ground. If this is the case, place your hands on blocks to keep your balance and stay steady while in a low lunge. Blocks are also useful when you need some support on your knees when in a seated position.
Bonus use! Have you ever noticed yourself getting slightly short of breath in child’s pose? This may be a strange sensation in this relaxing pose. Try placing a block between your forehead and the floor to allow for better breathing!
2 – Straps
To really get the full experience of a good stretch, using a strap can help. The most common use is for connecting the top part of your body with the bottom part. This could mean pulling on a strap wrapped around your feet while laying on your back, stabilizing your legs while seated with your legs extended in the air (Heron Pose) and a strap wrapped around the bottom of your feet or for forward bends, with a strap on the ground under your feet. Straps are also great for restorative poses to help keep various body parts in specific positions that need to be held for minutes at a time.
3 – Blankets
Another very common accessory to have handy during yoga is a blanket. One of the best uses for blankets is for seated positions such as Staff Pose. If you start your class off in a seated prayer position that lasts a few minutes, you may notice your posture swaying or your back straining. Sitting on one or two folded blankets will give you better posture and make your seated meditation much more comfortable. Most often these poses are all about meditation, which will be easier if you’re not worried about how you feel physically. Blankets are also nice to lay your head, neck or back on when in Savasana.
Bonus use! If you’re in a restorative class, taking an extended Savasana or just want to get comfy, feel free to open the blanket and lay it over your body. However, you may just need to say the “I will not fall asleep” mantra in your head!
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