As the world changes, it seems clear that no matter when things open back up online yoga is here to stay! As we start to settle into our home routines, let’s make sure we have all the tools we need to support our home practices. I have always been a fan of recycling/reducing/reusing so below you’ll find some ideas for DIY yoga props to make your home practice the best it can be. Additionally, I’ll be offering a workshop on 6/18 at 5:30pm on when to use props and how to use them.
If I had to pick one prop for every yogi to have this would be it! Generally rectangular, blocks are made from foam, cork, or wood. This prop will change your practice! Two blocks to bring the floor a little closer to your hands, to lift you up when you are sitting, to hold between the hands or the thighs to build strength…so versatile. Blocks are great for making your poses feel better by improving your alignment!
- 2 cans from the kitchen (still full) – not great for sitting on, but you can put your hands on them
- Old phone books – decent for sitting on, putting under your hips, resting your head on
- Tightly taped up cardboard – best option, but more work…use these just like regular yoga blocks
Traditional blocks are about 4″ x 6″ x 9″ so whatever get’s you close to that size. It’s nice to have two of the same size if you are going to go for it. And let’s be real… you have plenty of time to futz around with this goofy project, don’t you?
When you are too tight to reach your feet extend your reach with a strap. Want to work on arm strength without bearing weight on the hands? Grab a strap and pull the hands away from one another!
This is a really easy prop to recreate. Typically made of sturdy cotton straps with a buckle, you can make your own by using a scarf, necktie, belt, bathrobe sash, etc!
Most commonly used during savasana, i.e. the final resting pose. Eye masks block the light and provide a gentle, soothing pressure around your forehead and eyes. Here’s a quick way no-sew way to create your own eye pillow at home: Take a clean sock, fill it with dry beans or rice (and a few drops of essential oil or dried flowers if you’re feeling fancy) and then tie the end of the sock shut. Lay the “mask” over your eyes at the end of class.
Yoga mats are nice, but to be perfectly honest they really aren’t necessary. I think sometimes having a mat can limit the natural movement of the body by encouraging you to confine your movement to one little rectangle of space. That being said the two things that mats help most with are not slipping and padding the joints, so here is how you can deal with those issues without a mat.
- Don’t wear socks and make sure you don’t use hand/foot lotion right before class.
- If you feel like you are slipping in downward dog engage your abs more and pull your hands and you feet toward one another (this is a good habit anyway)
- Feel like you are sleeping when your feet are wide, pull your feet toward one another
- Have a few blankets/towels laid out on the ground so if you are going to lay on your belly or your back you can move over to a more cushioned surface if you want.
- Have extra folded up towel nearby if you need to cushion under your knees, elbows, or head.
Yoga bolsters are great in for restorative yoga poses. Having a bolster sitting in your yoga space might be just the nudge you need to spend 5 minutes stretching or relaxing after a long day at work or in the garden.
Use your bolster when laying on your back to:
- support under the back of the legs (helps relax the low back),
- support the length of the spine (helps open the chest)
- support under the shoulder blades with the bolster perpendicular to the spine (opens shoulders and chest)
- and the list goes on…
Bolsters come in a variety of shapes and sizes but are essentially really dense pillows. You can approximate a bolster very easily by rolling up a pillow/blanket/towels to get a long skinny tube and then holding it in place with rubber bands. Alternately, with just the smallest amount of sewing and some goodwill clothes follow these instructions by MashupMom for a pretty cool customized bolster.
I hope you enjoy practicing with some extra support. Look forward to seeing you in class!