It’s not about being good at something, it’s about being good to yourself.
Props do not diminish your practice. Rather, they enhance your practice by allowing a deeper, fuller (and probably better aligned) expression and experience.
Using props sometimes makes people feel like they’re “not good at yoga” or “not flexible.” Listen: NO. That’s not a thing.
Flexibility is a spectrum, something to work and exercise, not a goal. And there is NO “being good at yoga.” I make that point here.
Props are our friends!
Props are amazing!
Here are some of my favorites (but there are, like, a million more):
Yoga Mat Friend
Yoga Mats are great. Having a sticky mat to grip your hands and feet (or maybe catch your face when you fall) is so nice. No matter where you go in yoga, your mat will always be there for you. Yoga mat is your ride-or-die, right-hand man for yoga practice.
Yoga Block Friend
Blocks are great. Blocks help with alignment and reach and comfort and stretching and building strength. They bring the floor to you when touching your toes is just a bit out of reach, and they give you a nice landing pad on which to rest your head in seated forward folds. Don’t be afraid to grab a block. Block is here to support you.
Yoga Bolster Friend
Yoga bolster, yoga bolster, wherefore art thou, yoga bolster? Probably in restorative yoga just waiting to help you soften your postures and gently open the body. They’re like body pillows, either rectangular or even circular, but firmer. And they only want to love you.
Yoga Strap Friend
Yoga strap, like our friend yoga block, is here to help keep you safe and in alignment, help you reach farther, and make more connections in the body (like arm binds and stuff). Yoga strap just wants to see you realize poses but not sacrifice your structural alignment and make problems for yourself.
Yoga Wheel Friend
This one’s a relatively new one, and you won’t find it in a ton of studios. But you can find them reasonably priced on Amazon. They come in so many different sizes, and help so much with some more advanced postures (like opening the entire front side of your body and protecting your neck in headstands and hollow backs). It loves you so much, that when you roll on it like this smart woman in the picture, not only does it open the chest, diaphragm, and abdominal muscles, but it also massages your spine.
Yoga Blanket Friend
Yoga blanket is here to make your yoga practice (and your life) more comfortable. Seated poses feeling hard on your butt and tailbone? Blanket. Knees aren’t happy about a hard, wood studio floor? Blanket. Tense muscles in the next and shoulders? Blanket. Hips not reaching your heels in child’s pose? Blanket. Cold in savasana? Blanket. Whether you pick a Mexican, wool, or cotton yoga blanket, you’re going to find softness and comfort in your yoga practice you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Yoga Sock Friends and Yoga Glove Friends
We usually see only barefoot and bare handed yogis. And for most people, a sticky mat friend is all the only friend they need to keep control and grip in their practice. But that’s not for everyone! If your hands and feet slip on your mat, maybe it’s time to open your heart and invite yoga sock friends and yoga glove friends into the fold. But even if you don’t slip and slide, socks and gloves are ready to be there for you when having a mat on hand isn’t so simple, like when you’re traveling or outside.
It’s probably too obvious to say that adding weights to your yoga practice is going to increase the strength building aspect of yoga. And that’s great. But don’t put baby weights in the corner! They can also help with stretch by increasing the affects of gravity, and they can relieve the pressure on the wrists but holding onto them in poses like plank pose instead of having the hands flat on the floor.
Yoga Headband Friends
You don’t have to be a long haired yogi to appreciate a headband, and value it as your friend in yoga. If you are a long haired yogi, you probably see this and say, “YASSS, GIRL.” But if you’re not, and you’re just a normal human being who sweats during physical exertion or you’re a glutton for punishment like me and you love hot yoga, this friend is here for you. Yoga headband friend is going to keep that sweat out of your eyes and keep your drishti free and clear of any salty, sweaty obstruction.
Like I said, these are just my favorites. There are all kinds of other things – balls, toe spreaders, acupressure mats, knee pads, Indo boards, the list goes ON AND ON.