While props aren’t absolutely necessary for practicing yoga, many of these home practices become more easily accessible and satisfying if you have the support of a good yoga mat, two yoga blocks, and a strap. You can easily find these props online at Amazon, or at stores like Target, Walmart, or your local pharmacy.
Until your new gear arrives, here are some suggestions for alternatives.
The purpose of the yoga mat is to provide a safe and non-slip surface and supportive cushioning. If you are only going to invest in one prop, this would definitely be the one we highly recommend investing in.
Generally, we do not recommend substituting the yoga mat with a squishy workout mat or camping pad unless they are simply providing support for your back against a hard floor. The squishy mats can make balancing tricky and can be tough on the wrists in postures where you are bearing weight in your hands.
If the block is providing support for the hand in a standing posture, a surface like a low table or chair may suffice. If the block is being used under your foot, sometimes a step in your home can work. If the block is instructed to be placed under you for support of hips or back, a large book may do the trick. If two blocks of even height are required in a sequence, you may have a harder time substituting them.
As long as fastening is not required, a yoga strap can definitely be replaced by a necktie, scarf, a robe tie, or a towel. Once buckling is required, only a cloth belt with a loop closure will suffice as a substitute.
In some of the more prop-heavy classes like the restorative sessions in Therapeutic Yoga or Relaxation Takes Practice the teachers suggest blankets, bolsters, and a chair to assist in relaxation. You will ultimately be more satisfied if you have props that match what the teacher is using. Meanwhile, here are some suggestions that may work for you.
The needed quality of your blanket depends on what it is being used for. If it’s simply used for warmth, weight, or as a cushion to your mat, then any blanket will likely work. If the blanket is to be used as a sitting prop for under your hips or to support a knee, a regular blanket or towel will usually also be fine.
Once a teacher is indicating specific folding techniques and the blanket is being used to support or create a specific desired effect, you may want to consider investing in a yoga blanket. At Yoga Anytime we like these because of the versatility.
This is one of the more expensive yoga props and the trickiest to replicate. A handful of proper similar yoga blankets can be folded up. Occasionally a couch cushion, or pillows bound together in a towel will work, but rarely is the support as effective as the real deal.
If the chair is simply used for sitting, as support, or to put your legs up on, most sturdy chairs will do the trick. If and when you are asked to put your legs through the back of the chair, the teacher will be specific about getting a yoga chair. While these can be made by removing the back of a regular folded chair, the work and effort of doing this is ridiculously immense and leaves a lot of sharp metal edges to be taken care of. If you are enjoying the restorative practices and getting up and down off the floor is not so easy for you, we suggest considering the purchase of a proper yoga chair.
The support of a wall is amazingly helpful, but not everyone has a clear wall space. We highly suggest creating one by moving furniture and removing art. If this is unrealistic, sometimes an open doorway can be substituted, and a closed locked door can also work.
About the Author
Kira is fascinated by the study of what Is and loves to examine the ordinary every day miracles. She serves as the President of Yoga Anytime.
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