Centuries ago, yogis didn't practice with foam blocks, straps, or sticky mats. As yoga evolved, many teachers and students discovered that props could help accommodate poses to their unique bodies and to deepen their explorations. Straps might be used to help to engage certain muscles that need to develop more flexibility for certain poses and, blocks are often necessary to help maintain integrity and alignment so as to accommodate for safe progress in learning a pose. Blankets can provide more propping to height/length/tightness discrepancies as well as to provide comfort. BKS Iyengar is hailed as the guru who introduced and fine-tuned the use of props for the present day world of yogis, keeping us all on the journey of self discovery through yoga asana in a safe and alignment based approach. "Iyengar-influenced" teachers have many handy and creative ways to use blocks with students, making some poses more accessible, some different and some more intense. Whatever prop you use: a partner, a wall, table, balls, books,....think of the "lesson of the prop" once you are ready to do without the prop. You will realize more of what muscles to engage, where to work from, how to be more careful, and your exploration for self growth in your practice will evolve well past the physical, into the emotional and spiritual part of the journey.
It is interesting to look out into a sea of yoga products these days that count as props: sticky mats that help with traction, socks with grips that can replace the sticky mat, textured balls and arcs, eye pillows, bolsters and sitting cushions. Enjoy trying all of these as your practice deepens and realize what you need and what helps you along the way, to learn more about YOU! The journey is the journey - Namaste. Poses to practice: Supported Setu Bandha - in this photo - blanket under the shoulders, neck neutral and block (low for beginners) under the pelvis. Feet are under the knees. This restorative pose will open the chest, shoulders and hips, and invite a quiet lengthening of the back of the neck. Stay 5 to 20 minutes and finish with Svanasana, corpse pose, followed by a light twist, rocking knees to each side.
Essential oils to use: Lavender, Chamomile, YlangYlang, and or Geranium