THE BENEFITS OF PROPS IN YOGA

Yoga Blocks

Yoga blocks are a favorite yoga prop for their unique combination of stability and weight and they won’t slide on the wood floors. They are mainly used to assist in stability in standing poses and flexibility within a floor series. They help you take away tension in places you wouldn’t be able to do on your own. A great example is supported by the fish pose. While lying the upper back on the block, you can melt away stress held in our shoulders and back. Refreshing an area of the body where the energy can feel stagnant and dull.

There are other types of blocks such as foam blocks, which are lightweight and have more cushioning. The drawback is that they are not stable, and are not the best choice to use in standing poses. You may enjoy the give they have when resting body weight on them if you find the cork blocks uncomfortable.

What for:

This is a backbend which supports the whole of the back so the spine can lift and open into the front body, the shoulders can relax back around the shape of the bolster, opening the front of the shoulders, collar bones to counteract slouching, opening the chest so breathing reaches the base of the lungs, the diaphragm is free to move massaging the internal organs. Stretches the lower abdomen and hips but should be supported so the muscles around the hips can let go of their grip

When:

Great way to start a yoga practice to allow the brain to get the message that you are now in a different head space. Preparing for active practice. Good for respiratory problems, tight hips, period pains or just after a long day at the computer.

Relaxation pose

(savasana)

Lie down on your back and place the bolster under your knees, possibly a blanket under your neck.  You could also use two mini bolsters to support your arms. An eye pillow over the eyes or resting on the throat or forehead can deepen the relaxation, especially if its filled with lavender.

What for:

Allows the lower back to soften, back to release into the ground. Easier to move into the 'relaxation response'.

When:

After an active practice to allow the after-effects to penetrate body and mind.

Restorative Yoga

Rather than using the bolster to prepare for an asana, use the bolster to support the body in the pose - the bolster does the work and all you need to do is drape yourself, soften the muscles, relax the mind and allow yourself to do 'nothing' - any of the above can be used for restorative work - just relax there for 5-10 minutes. Too many uses to name here...108 here we come! Look up Judith Lasater's book 'Relax & Restore'

Legs up the wall pose

(viparita karani)

Lie with your legs up the wall and a bolster under the pelvis so it is parallel with the ground.

What for:

Allow the lower back to soften into the bolster, legs to relax up the wall, breathe down in the belly.

When:

Jetlag and swollen ankles, translates as the great rejuvenator so speaks for itself, when you need rest, feel the flowing breath, brings energy to the pelvic organs.

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