In our prenatal yoga classes I ask mammas to load up with as many props as they can. As everyone settles in with their goodies arranged we begin, and as we progress without fail a mamma declares, “gee I really need some of these!” My emphatic response is always, “Yes you do!” Pregnant or not, here’s why we all deserve a little help from our prop friends.
Keep your yoga groove on
If you want to have an appropriate and responsive home practice, you need to get yourself some props, stat. I know there is still the odd soul who thinks not needing a block elevates the supposed complexity of a yoga practice, but let’s get real about our bodies and what they need from time to time. In my travels it has been extremely rare to see a yogi who can effortlessly sit cross-legged without a little support from a blanket to keep a natural spinal curve and open pelvis. Body proportions(and changes therein, meaning both expanding and shrinking), illness & injury all deserve respect so we can enjoy our bodies and practice for the long haul.
Safety before cirque de soleil
No one should contort the body into inappropriately strained, squishy, or stressed shapes for a posture’s sake. There are a million variations of any pose, and using a block, strap or bolster to keep your body in that just right “sthira sukham” zone is the real way to yoga for the vast majority of us who do not have gymnastic or dance backgrounds. Long term misalignment caused by lack of support leads to permanent injury and/or pain; so check your Yoga Journal cover shoot superstar ego at the door and be nice to yourself.
Explore your creative side
Those nights when I can’t be asked to stand on my feet any longer as I’ve had another full one of hide and seek and other shenanigans the little dragon has cooked up I look happily to my bolsters and ease my aching limbs over, around and on top. The extra support feels luscious and heavenly, acquainting me with some kinder, gentler me time. Though my passion for yoga was initially sparked with my love for vinyasa, I am a mamma who has had a change of heart with the bliss a restorative practice brings. Props are a necessity to let go and go deep; many of us would benefit from a slower, more supported practice once or twice a week.
Mix up your seating situation
I’ve been grooving on Katy Bowman for over a year now, enjoying her podcasts and adding her books to my long list of must-reads. Katy is a big proponent of getting more varied, or “nutritious movement” into our days. New flash: hanging out on the sofa all night isn’t really doing your body any favours. She recommends reducing your bum’s time on furniture, but if you want a bit of comfort while you experiment with new seating arrangements, bolsters and blocks can help with the transi
So what do you need?
At minimum every yogi should, in addition to a mat of course, own at least 2 bolsters of different shapes, a strap, two blocks, a firm thick-ish blanket, and a nicely weighted eye pillow.(those things are brilliant for insomniacs, trust) Check out the larger yoga studios in your area to get started with your purchases or ask your yoga teacher for a recommendation. Here in Oz I am a big fan of Stretch Now equipment, because it is durable and pretty so it can hang out in your lounge room un-offensively. Mandukha offerings always have me salivating – that would be my go-to if I were on the other side of the blue ball.
If you haven’t purchased your props yet, make the investment! You will open the door on so many lovely yoga adventures that I look forward to sharing with you in the weeks ahead.