By Narendra Maheshri
What are the benefits of yoga props? There is an attitude that a few Yoga teachers have in regard to the use of props. This attitude is based on intolerance for new students and students with special needs. Maybe the Yoga teacher has not received in-depth training of anatomy, or a compassion chip, but arrogant yoga instructors should label their craft accordingly.
Some suggestions would be sauna stretch, extreme stretch and torture, hardcore boot camp stretching, or no pain no gain stretching. By discarding the word “yoga,” there is no deception. A new student would realize that there is as much risk of injury in a class with these yoga teachers as there is in a boxing ring.
Why Yoga Props Make Sense
Newcomers to yoga will find certain props invaluable, especially in the beginning when muscles are tight and rigid. At first, there may be a significance dependence on props that will decrease as flexibility increases. The greatest benefit to using yoga props, is they improve the quality of the pose which creates a better stretch.
A mat is probably the most useful of all yoga props. The purpose of a yoga mat is to provide a non-slip surface to stand on while performing yoga poses. A yoga mat protects feet from unwanted movement or slippage while holding a pose. This is instrumental in avoiding injury from slipping. A yoga mat may be used to cover another prop, like yoga block, to provide a non-slip surface. The importance of a yoga mat is creates a safe foundation when practicing yoga.
Yoga block are extremely useful props, especially for beginners who don’t have much stretch and extension at first. A well-placed yoga block can extend the reach of an arm reaching to touch the floor when performing a wide leg stretch with a forward bend like in a triangle pose. Using a yoga block can create a deeper stretch without fear of injury. A yoga block can help maintain balance while posing, give support in a seated twist, or help maintain balance during a pose.
Yoga straps are indispensable when performing a seated forward stretch to the toes. Tight hamstrings may make it too difficult to reach the toes. Feeding a yoga strap around the toes and holding the ends of the strap in each hand will aid and enhance the stretch gently until the hamstrings loosen. Placing the strap around the toes anchors the yoga strap so the ends can be pulled to increase the stretch from the hips bending forward. A yoga strap aids stretching and holding yoga poses without straining. This makes it easy to push limits and improve yoga poses resulting in greatly improved flexibility.
A yoga blanket may be used to comfort and support the body with a variety of yoga poses. The blanket can be folded and used to sit on to ease the strain of several seated poses, allowing the pose to be held longer with a deeper stretch. A yoga blanket can be folded or rolled to support the back or neck with poses that stress those areas. This is a versatile prop because it can be folded and shaped to suit almost any pose.
What are the Benefits?
Practicing asana, meditation, and pranayama without an injury is what we want for our students. Some people cannot sit with their legs crossed on the floor. In that case, we have to find a solution. As Paulji often stresses, “Hatha Yoga is adapted to the needs of the individual student.” Our students take yoga classes to have better health and props insure the experience is a good one. Our objective is no yoga injuries at all.
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