Prop me up…
Just a little over a year ago, I was team teaching a charity class at Beyond Yoga Studio & Wellness Centre. In typical baby girl fashion, I had asked to teach first so once my turn was done, I could soak up the vibes of Carole and Diane’s instruction. Our Beyond community is so generous that the class was very full and when I finished, I had to remain at the very front of the room. Near the end when we were holding bridge pose, Diane, in her sweet way without a break in her teaching, gave me a side-eye and slipped a block under my sacrum. She was right, I totally needed it, but as the “yoga teacher” at the front of the yoga class, my lovely ego had me ignore what my body required.
It’s an interesting phenomenon in yoga classes everywhere. We are a society that will use a dishwasher, a television remote and an electric toothbrush without a second thought, but we resist using a block for our front hand in Triangle Pose. Why do you think that is? Most of us have been driving for many years, and probably learned to use a map in grade school, we won’t hesitate to use a GPS, but gosh darn it we will not sit up on a blanket for Easy Pose.
Yoga props can seem intimidating. There are mats, blocks, straps, blankets, and bolsters just to name a few and each one has countless possibilities, and at first they can seem a bit strange. Every yoga teacher knows the look one receives when handing an individual new to yoga a strap.
However, if you allow yourself to try yoga props, which you totally should, they can completely change your practice for the better. Props encourage proper alignment, help you develop strength and give greater stability totally deepening your physical practice. Perhaps even cooler though, is the increased self awareness you develop when you open yourself up to using them. Once you open yourself up to the assistance, you learn to start asking yourself…What do I need in this pose? Would a folded blanket under my hips in a seated forward fold help with my tight hamstrings? Would a bolster under my forehead in child’s pose encourage my hips closer to my heels? Would a block under my sacrum in bridge give me the support I need?
As I learned in that charity class, and honestly have to remind myself with alarming frequency, being great at yoga isn’t avoiding props. Being great at yoga is asking yourself, in each yoga class, in each yoga pose, what do I need at this moment to feel good? The more we practice this on the mat, the more we practice it in life and how much better would that be.
P.S. I would love to hear what you think, what ignites your fire, or how you survive these winter months. Please “Leave a Reply” below, or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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