From Blankets to Bolsters: Your Guide to Yoga Props

Savasana blankets, tea tree oil, and yoga straps: now what? These days, there are so many new and exciting pieces marketed to help you up your yoga game that it can get pretty overwhelming, especially if you’re a yoga newbie. That said, they’re even more important for you if you’re just starting out, helping you improve your form and ease you into more difficult positions with confidence! If you’re confused about yoga props, here’s your guide to understanding and mastering their purposes.

The Strap

The strap can be a helpful piece of equipment for basic stretching techniques, however, there are many more ways to integrate it into your practice. Are you working toward crushing your first perfect dance pose? Getting better shoulder mobility? Improving your balance? You guessed it: the strap can really do it all. As a general rule of thumb, attach the looped end of the strap to the body part you’re working to reach, and use your other body part to ease the two now formed straps closer, breathing in to hold the stretch, and exhaling to deepen or release it. Final pro tip: one of my favorite ways to use the strap is for improving posture, which is a common weakness for many of us that sit at a desk during the day. Try it at home or in the office while you’re working for a serious healthy multitasking session! If you’re looking for more hands-on guidance first, try taking a TRX yoga class at a studio near you to master some of the foundations of similar stretches and positions that will help you improve your movements.

The Block

The most common prop for yoga, the block, is just as versatile as it is common! From helping you reach new flexibility heights to helping align posture, it can have major added benefits during class, and even beyond the studio doors. Use them to help you master the forward bend, sink deeper into pigeon pose, and much more. By giving you more comfortable support for your back, the block’s relative, the yoga wedge, is also a great piece of gear that can help you master positions like boat pose.

The Bolster

Ever feel frustrated during a guided meditation class, or feel like savasana is a waste of time since you’re usually uncomfortable lying on the ground? Me too. It wasn’t until I started incorporating yoga pillows and bolsters into my practice that I was able to get even more out of my meditation. Our bodies naturally tense up when we’re in unsupportive positions, so by alleviating many of the common pressure points, you’ll be able to focus on the important work at hand: meditation.

The Blanket

If your towel isn’t cutting it when it comes to keeping your body temperature moderate as you begin your cool down meditation, try a blanket. In restorative yoga classes, they keep your muscles warm as you work on your flexibility and mobility! They’re even versatile enough to use in place of a traditional yoga prop—try using it if you experience discomfort in kneeling positions or inversions.

The Essential Oils

Take your practice to the next level with the help of homeopathic remedies! Essential oils help our bodies relax during practice and recover like a champ. Try adding a few drops to pressure points, or even your bolsters to give yourself a comforting boost to new moves or your meditation post-practice!

The Wheel

This is one amazing piece of gear! Whether you’re looking to get better at your inversions, or improve your flexibility, the yoga wheel can help. This tool is the best way to warm yourself up for inversions and bridges, ensuring your body is properly supported as your muscles get ready to crush your practice! It can be a bit intimidating at first, but with the help of some solid resources, you’ll be ready to reach your personal best.

Mandy Gragg is a New York City-based certified personal trainer/group fitness instructor and an active fashion and beauty blogger.