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Props Yog

When someone comes to our yoga class with pain and stiffness in their body, one of the first things we generally teach them is how to practice yoga’s vital weight-bearing standing poses safely with the support of props such as a wall and chair. By providing support, props help them to extend beyond habitual limitations and teach them that their body is capable of doing much more than they think it can.

In the practice of  yoga, a prop is any object which helps you stretch, strengthen, balance, relax, or improve your body alignment. Props include yoga mats, which are sticky, non-skid mats essential for providing stability and preventing your hands and feet from slipping, blankets that provide padding and support, long yoga straps and belts that are used in dozens of innovative ways to help you stretch further and prevent muscle and joint strain. Bolsters, blocks, chairs and benches that support the body in various ways, wall ropes, sandbags, back benders, and many other objects designed to help students experience the various yoga poses more profoundly and safely. Yoga bolsters support and soothes the body during practice. Bolsters are cylindrical pillow-like props that make certain seated and reclined poses more comfortable for the neck, back, legs and abdomen. Yoga blankets may be rolled to serve the same purpose as a bolster, or folded to provide elevation and support in poses like pigeon and simple seated pose.

Props are used to teach specific actions such as lengthening the spine and opening the chest. They are also used to make postures more challenging; to safely stretch farther; to work in a deeper, stronger way; and to expand, open, and blossom in a pose. Many common features of our homes or work place can also serve as props: floors, walls, doors, doorways, stairs, ledges, tables, desks, chairs, windowsills and kitchen counters Lying on the backbender opens the chest and increases blood flow to the heart. Even a beginner in his mid-seventies can practice the Triangle Pose with the back of his body against a wall and his lower hand on a chair, rather than straining to reach the floor. This helps assure that his body is in good alignment which is especially important to prevent injury if there are joint problems (or hip or knee joint replacements) or weak bones that are susceptible to fractures.

Using yoga props makes postures safer and more accessible. Older students also frequently come to yoga with problems, ranging from back and neck pain to knee problems to old injuries. Props allow you to hold poses longer, so you can experience their healing effects. By opening the body, the use of props also helps to improve blood circulation and breathing capacity. By using props, students who need to conserve their energy can practice more strenuous poses without overexerting themselves. People with chronic illness can use props to practice without undue strain and fatigue. The more problems a student has, the more useful yoga props are. Practicising yoga with the use of props has been nothing less than a boon for many people who otherwise can’t endure the usual exertion of yoga postures.

 
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