This is the second of a two-part series on yoga props. The first blog reviewed the advantages of using props in your yoga practice and focused on the use of blocks, straps, and knee pads. Part 2 will review the benefits of using blankets, bolsters, and chairs.
A blanket is a very versatile prop. Many studios use Mexican blankets because they have a woven texture that provides cushion and traction, they can be folded or rolled into different shapes, and they are aesthetically pleasing.
Blankets are used to provide both cushion and warmth in various poses. Sitting on a folded blanket elevates the hips and makes sitting on the floor in a cross-legged position more comfortable. Covering yourself with a blanket in the final relaxation pose at the end of class helps you stay warm as your body cools down. Rolling a blanket creates a nice cylinder shape to use in for support in restorative poses. A blanket can also be used in place of a knee pad.
Mexican blankets can be purchased online and generally cost between $10.00 and $20.00 depending on the thickness; however, any blanket that is firm and warm will do!
A bolster is a long narrow pillow used for supporting the body in restorative poses. Bolsters come in several sizes, the most common being 8”x12”x24” for a large bolster and 5”x8”x22” for a small bolster. They are available in round, cylindrical, and rectangular shapes and are very firm.
Placing a bolster under your knees when you lie on your back will ease any discomfort you may feel in your back or hips. Supporting your body with a bolster in child pose will help you feel more comfortable and allow you to relax more deeply into the pose.
Bolsters can be purchased online. Prices vary according to size, shape, and brand. Ask your yoga teacher or fellow students what bolsters they recommend and if your studio has bolsters for you to use in class, use them!
Chair Yoga is a very popular form of yoga. It is a great alternative from traditional mat yoga for those who have difficulty getting up and down from the floor. Chair Yoga can be very gentle, and it can also be very challenging.
Sitting in a chair, you can do many poses that are like those done without a chair. The chair provides support and balance, allowing you to experience poses you may not otherwise be able to do. Chairs are very helpful in balancing poses because you can hold onto the chair with one hand as you practice balancing, lifting the hand up for just a few seconds now and then to challenge yourself safely.
I like to use chairs that don’t have arms so you have more freedom and flexibility in what you can do. A folding chair works great, as does and kitchen chair. I recommend avoiding very soft chairs because you want to feel a firm base beneath you.
Although none of the props I have reviewed are necessary to do yoga, investing in them may make a big difference in your practice. Research, read reviews, and ask your yoga teachers and fellow students for advice when deciding what to purchase. Ultimately, the decision to prop or not to prop is yours…listen to your body and it will tell you what it needs.
Author: Mrs Lori Redlinger, Yoga Provider