“Yoga is for everyone.” Most probably you have heard this sentence before.
And, yes and yes. It is for everyone. Yoga is strengthening, brings flexibility and creates more mobility, yoga is empowering, yoga is healing and calming. And, all yoga poses are for everyone?
But what about if you have tried a yoga class ( or online yoga session during the lockdown ) and, you did not like it. You felt out of place. You felt a yoga session was too fast and could not cope with a paced. You felt you could not reach a floor or touch your toes. Or, you couldn’t twist, nor felt any space in your body ( when teacher said you should feel a space) . You actually felt pretty stiff and frustrated throughout that there was no poses you felt that you could do comfortably and felt that a style of yoga did not suit and, you did not feel calm at all afterwards.
Do you relate to it? I certainly do. Until I started using yoga props, the experience in each practice shifted. It has changed into more safer and more empowering yoga practice since.
Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar invented yoga props that are still use today, making yoga accessible and relevant to people everywhere. Iyengar has helped bring Yoga to the West and, for more about his incredible journey of Yoga, his style and his influence in the world of yoga, read here.
I might not use yoga props for all of my yoga sessions but I do use them and suggest them to most of my online yoga sessions. And, I can not see myself without a prop – like a meditation cushion which I used most of the time to support my head and neck or for the beginning of each practice. Blankets which use under my shoulders and lower back. And, a yoga bolster. What the best invention ever! And, recently I have been using chair a lot especially at One to One’s personalised Yoga Sessions.
So let’s make all yoga poses accessible for everybody. Stay with me here and read 5 reasons why you should give yoga props a a try.
5 reasons to use and love yoga props
- More freedom to express yourself
- Let yoga props adapt to you, to your unique body, not the way around. Help to create more space in the body. while in a pose therefore your body does not need to strain or stress throughout
- Help you to breathe deeper and can relax more
- Empower you to experiment
Here are the yoga props that I really enjoy using them. Since I started to use yoga props, I have found yoga practice => supportive, enhancing, strengthening with a sense of freedom that I don’t need to compete the way I look in a pose but rather
- n.1. Less tension in my body. Pain feels like a distance memory
- n.2. I feel more space in the body
- n.3. I feel stronger physically and mentally and more balanced
So here are few examples of yoga asanas ( poses ) that I find with the same benefits during being being in the pose but with a yoga prop support. Example; a headstand. Look how beautifully and easy you can turn yourself upside down and enjoy an inversion without any compression on the head and neck. Because, Sirsasana ( Headstand ) is not for everyone. But, can be if you use Feet up Trainer as a support.
Yoga poses using yoga props as a support
Uttanasana – Standing Forward bend – with a head on the block(s)
Uttanasana can be challenging for many especially if hamstrings are tight. Always wise to start with knees bend a little ( I always bend my knees in the first 10mins of each practice esp. when practice/teaching is early morning. Body feels stiff more. ) I have 2 blocks on the picture. Adjust what you need. Remember, yoga blocks work for you, not you for them. So go as high with the blocks as you need to without putting strain, stress in your body.
Start comfortably and then progress ( using your breathing ) deeper into the pose. Only if that feels accessible for your body at that particular day/moment of the practice.
Standing half forward bend – with a chair support
At times, we all might feel a bit stiff so why not try a chair for a standing half forward bend to create more space in the body. Helping to lengthening the spine without any strain. Press firmly your hands on the chair, and weight on creating resistance to the chair, without lifting front legs of the chair from the floor. Draw your shoulder blades apart and feel the back of your chest broaden. Drawing your shoulder blades away from ears, to feel spacious. And, with each exhale let your chest melt gently towards the floor.
Parivrtta Trikonasana ( Reverse Triangle Pose ) – with a block
Look at the difference between a featured image and this image. Any differences can you see? It is challenging pose which requires your focus but provides a wonderful opportunity to build concentration and awareness. The yoga blocks really helps to support your pelvis ( as it is in the rotation ) so you don’t try to push yourself towards the floor ( unless feels there is a space to do so ) . Be mindful on your hips and pelvis throughout. Wednesday evening online sessions – Awakening your Spine 60mins session , we include this pose and how to safely position our body, focusing on the alignment to keep pose integrity.
Virabhadrasana 3 – Warrior 3 – with 2 yoga blocks as support
Warrior 3 is strong pose that requires a lots of practice. Once you start using blocks ( a chair can be helpful too ) , you can start concentrating more on your breathing, engaging your abdominal muscles and elongation throughout your spine.
Sirsasana – Headstand on the Feet up Trainer support
A few years ago, only about 3 years ago exact, I have turned myself upside down, right on the Feet up Trainer support. It felt so good, so liberating. And, despite I can now do Headstand on the floor without any Feet up support, I still like to use the prop. Using this prop, has changed my perspective – the way I look at asanas. The secret is to know when to persist in the pose and go deeper ( without pushing ) and, when to take one step at the time because body might not be ready. Always listen to your body, it’s smarter then we think.
The key to achieving the impossible is to break it up into what’s possible and then consistently build upon what you can do until the next impossible step on the journey becomes possible.
Hanumanasana – Monkey pose – with a support of bolster and two yoga blocks
As much as I remember doing spilts when I was a child, I would not attempt this pose without a support now. Am I ever going to be ready to perform this pose without a support? I am not sure, maybe not. And, do you know what is the best thing about it – it’s not my goal at all. I am happy the way I feel in this pose, the sensations throughout the body and, if ever I am able to go deeper, it will be a bonus. In yoga, unexpected openings occur when we least expect. Every day showing up on the mat, and magic will happen.
Supta Baddha Konasana – Supported Bound Angle Pose – Let go pose
This pose is for everybody – those yoga props will support your whole body beautifully. For this let go pose, you will need: 1 or 2 bolsters, 2 ( 1 blanket each under forearms ) or 3 blankets if you don’t have 2nd bolster, 2 yoga blocks, 1 extra cushion in case you need to support and raise your head higher. If you have only 1 bolster, you can use rolled blanket under your knees. Make sure your lumbar spine ( lower back ) is well supported by the props so it is wedged firmly against the edge of the bolster. I run every fortnight Sunday evening online session with Restorative poses – so if you feel overworked, overstressed, tired, stress, need to rebalance, reconnect, join us for this 75mins heaven practice. In April, we only have 1 Sunday sessions coming up. Here is the link to book. The rest in May, check the class schedule May dates here.
All the yoga props that I use for the past few years, have been purchased from Yoga Matters.
Come and try my online session, prepare your yoga props and start experimenting safely and more effectively, suitable to your unique body, for your body and mind with more freedom and empowerment. Click here for my class schedule
May you find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known existed… in yoga, with yoga props.
I can’t wait to welcome you on the mat.
With a lots of love and support.