By Jenny Park
Depending on the exact style you studied in yoga teacher training program, you might know how to use props for therapeutic reasons. This is not the only reason for using props, but yoga therapy is becoming more popular among people who want pain relief. Some health conditions and injuries prevent people from attending a physically demanding class. Neurological disorders, cancer recovery and auto accidents are among the many reasons why a boot camp class isn’t for everybody.
Styles like restorative, therapeutic, and yoga therapy are by far the best practices for those who are seeking pain relief from injuries, or have physical limitations. There are many props that can be used to help ease into poses and perfect them at a pace that is suitable for the student’s ability. Common props that are used are bolsters, blocks, mats, straps, blankets and of course walls and chairs.
The bolster is a cylindrical or rectangular pillow that is often used to support the belly, back, chest, and hamstrings when attempting to execute difficult poses. They are made in different sizes and with different materials to suit everyone’s taste.
Blocks come in different sizes as well, and are typically made of foam. Blocks are better if they have a slight give so they are easier on the body. They help support you in poses like the triangle, and can also be used for stretching the back. You can also sit on a block to make seated poses more comfortable and effective. They also aid pregnant women by supporting the growing belly.
Mats come in all sizes and materials. They even come with a sticky bottom to avoid slipping and injury. The extra padding prevents sore knees and elbows and provides a comfortable surface to perform all poses on. There are also carrying bags made specifically to carry mats, which is convenient for those who like to practice on the go.
Yoga straps aid beginners and those who are physically limited in stretching arms and legs when they cannot quite reach. They give way to deeper poses and better alignment as well. Straps can usually be adjusted in length and some have a clasp to secure them. The clasp is also convenient if one needs to quickly release from a pose.
Blankets are used for padding, and can be stacked to provide support in certain poses. One example is to assist shoulders and prevent neck strain and injury. Yoga blankets should be folded in a neat manner, and are more versatile than a mat.
Tips for Teachers
It should be noted that some of us who decided to become a yoga instructor have no intention to ever use props in our classes. This is fine, but be honest with new students. Don’t promise to be therapeutic and ambush a new student in a yoga training session designed for athletes. The best thing you can do for your reputation is refer a student in need to the nearest therapeutic yoga class.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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