I jokingly call myself the Prop Queen. Partly I started using these yoga tools because my teacher did. His teacher who used them is reputed to have invented them, and is sometimes called the Furniture Yogi.
At one time I felt I needed to justify using props because only Iyengar teachers used them and I didn’t want to marginalize myself as representing just one style of yoga.
By now, props have been popularized by Donna Farhi, by Judith Lasater in her restorative yoga trainings, by those who teach prenatal yoga, and many yoga therapy teachers.
The sequences we created for the YogaAnywhere Tool Kit packs are prop-heavy because we felt these tools were the most helpful aids for specific conditions, like insomnia or fatigue.
Oh, if you’re wondering what I mean by yoga props….
Props can be anything that will help you attain a pose, things like: rectangular blocks, straps, long, thick cushions called bolsters, and flat-seated chairs. Other props include foam wedges, meditation pillows, whale-shaped backbenders, and sandbags. A wall can be used as a prop, and, of course, yoga mats are indispensable props.
You can improvise with props found around your home – a dining chair for sitting and doing a twisting posture; the end of a bed or sofa over which you can stretch head, shoulders and upper back; a soft scarf to shield your eyes when you do a yoga relaxation. I’m sure the Inventor of Props improvised in the early days.
Here’s just a few advantages:
More flexibility and stamina for stiff or out of condition students
Help with breathing
Creation of a kind of body/mind connection
Reducing the tendency to push
Working within limits, and as a result…
Less ego-driven, more humility
The main thing that props do is create more ease and control in doing yoga postures which is the basis of Patanjali’s concept of balancing sthira and sukha.