To Use or Not to Use Yoga Props
Yoga Props: Why use them? Does it mean I am not a strong Yogi?
Do you use yoga props?
I used to hate using yoga props. In fact, I didn’t use them at all because I thought it showed signs of weakness. I did not want a crutch. I wanted my practice to be worthwhile. I wanted to be both strong and flexible.
Even if I was only practicing at home and no one could see that I was using them, I wouldn’t touch them. I refused to give into the yoga blocks calling from the corner of the room, “You need me.” I would ignore them and push through. Of course, I could get my palm flat down on the floor in triangle pose. It didn’t matter that I was out of breath and felt my shoulders tensing. I was doing yoga dammit. I should be getting a workout.
This came to a head at a studio class where a 70 year old woman was doing every bind and had a completely straight leg in Birds of Paradise while I strained to get my leg up. I pulled so many muscles in that class and I went home frustrated and hating yoga.
I had done classical ballet for years, why couldn’t I just flop into all of the poses and flow from one to another with grace and eloquence. It took me years to realize that my pride was keeping me from truly being present in the moment and becoming a more advanced yogini.
Yoga is about listening to your body. It is about being in the moment of now as Panjali tells us in the first Pada of the Yoga Sutras. When I was straining and pushing my way through my yoga practice I was ignoring my breath and ignoring how my body felt.
Yoga props and modifications help us to often get deeper into poses and help us to breathe better. When I use a block in Triangle pose, it allows me to push into my hand and find length in my spine.
Don’t be afraid to use props. Your ability to listen to your body will only help you to become a stronger yogi.