Using props in yoga practice

Most weeks I teach yoga I have a theme. It could be feet, twists, low back, balancing poses, groins, etc.

Whatever sequence I teach my classes for the week I am also practicing at home.

Many of the places I teach currently don’t have props. Which has been a good challenge for me as a teacher.

Last week I taught what I called props vs. no props.

I travel with a few blocks and straps and remind my students that they are welcome to use the blocks or straps during class. A couple of students have said to me over time that they don’t know how to use the props.

Huh, OK, that hadn’t occurred to me. This prompted a sequence for me to show my students how props can be used in various poses.

I don’t have enough props for everyone nor can I travel with 30 blocks and straps to every class I teach (sometimes I have more than 30 students and I have 22 blocks and 23 straps). But for last week I made it a priority to carry around 22 blocks and 23 straps, which aren’t heavy, just bulky. (I asked my students to bring any blocks … Continue reading

Gym yoga teacher sub gig

Last night I taught my third yoga class, but my first gym yoga sub gig.

A friend of mine who I work with and lives in Alameda helped me get this sub gig. (She is also a yoga teacher.) She knew Alameda Athletic Club was going to need a yoga sub when the regular yoga teacher went on maternity leave.

A few weeks ago I attended the regular yoga teacher’s Thursday night class to get an idea of her style and meet her. After class she mentioned to me that she was going on vacation at the end of August and thought maybe I could sub those classes.

So she’s on vacation and I have three more classes of hers to teach.

In preparation for my four classes I have worked on four sequences to teach knowing that there are limited props at the gym.

Last night was a little chaotic as I had trouble finding someone who could tell me where the key was for the props locker and I started to feel unprepared for my class.

But I started the class in a seated meditation and I took the time to breathe and find my own calm … Continue reading

Using props in yoga

Years ago I was in a yoga class and at the beginning of class the teacher told us what props we needed for class that day.

Someone walked into class after the prop instructions were given. I overheard a fellow student tell the other what props the teacher had requested. She looked at the helpful student and said, I don’t use props.

I almost laughed out loud.

(I typically grab two blocks, a strap and a blanket or two.)

There has been some talk about the use of props as cheating, which I personally find ridiculous. Use of a prop is not cheating.

Last night we discussed props in teacher training.

The assignment for last night was to present a use for a particular prop.

People showed uses with straps, blocks, blankets, sand bags, chairs and a few other non-typcial props, which proved to be fun.

I learned a lot of new uses of various props. Some were eye openers. Others were cool. And some I was aware of but appreciated the reminder.

Props can help you get into a pose you wouldn’t normally be able to or give you a different experience in a pose. Props can help you get … Continue reading

Home Restorative practice

Last weekend I was visiting my family in Tucson, my beloved hometown.

While visiting, my mom and I were able to practice yoga together three mornings. (She was very excited to get three private sessions with me.)

I wrote a practice specific to her requests, a second one we did I had written about before and love and the third practice, my mom wanted to do some Restorative poses.

We were limited on time and props for our Restorative practice. So I made do with what we had and we did three relaxing poses.

(In most Restorative classes, which run for 90 minutes, you only do 4-5 poses.)

Here’s the practice we did, with props we could use that should be in most people’s homes.

You had me at bolster

My regular props for most of my yoga classes are a blanket, strap and block.

(Bolster photo provided by Yoga Bolsters.)

The blanket is great for sitting on to give yourself a little boost. It is also good to use under your knees when doing poses where your knees might be sensitive.

The strap is good for arm stretches where you need a little extra help or your arms don’t quite reach.

There is one arm stretch where one side my arms meet, the other side they don’t.

The block is great for one of my favorite poses, supported bridge. It’s also good for a lot of standing poses, such as triangle, half moon, side angle and so many more.

When I walked into Vinyasa class today, Ashley asked us to get a blanket, block and bolster. In her class we get moving, breathing hard and sweaty. Near the end of class we usually do a restorative pose.

Today we did a meditative practice at the end of class. It was a nice change. I sat up on my bolster, which I don’t usually do.

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