Home-grown props

Yogis use ‘props’ to support good alignment and to provide ease while exploring different versions of poses.  If you have any of these props already, great.  If not, there are LOTS of options for substitution.  I have done yoga with no ‘official’ props in many hotel rooms without any frustration just by using what is in the room (towels, ice buckets . . .). 

The traditional prop sizes are noted here just to give you an idea of good shapes and sizes for substitutes. Once you start playing with options, you will find things that work for you.

Props  What it is used for most oftenHome replacementYou may be less frustrated if . . .
Yoga matKeeps your the feet from slipping, pads the knees (a little bit)   Yoga mats are usually 72” by 24” (larger ones are available for taller people)  Surprisingly, hard wood floors are usually less slippery than a rug, but a rug or carpet is much more comfortable for kneeling and sittingThe rug does not slip around on the floor   Your body fits on the rug (lying down on your back, head to heel)
BolsterSupports you when you sit, supports your legs when lying down (relieves lower back tension), supports your head and torso in restorative poses   Bolsters come in lots of shapes and sizes, but the most common is a rectangle 24” long, 12” wide and 4-6” deep  Cotton, no-fluff blanket (like a Mexican blanket) or a thin quilt  

Couch or chair cushion
It is firm and does not have much give   It provides height while sitting (the goal is to have a stable pelvis and for your pelvis to be higher than your knees when sitting cross-legged)  
BlanketServes as a bolster substitute, covers you in rest poses, serves as a spine bolster   Most yoga studios provide Mexican blankets, which are cotton and about 48” by 60”Cotton, no-fluff blanket (like a Mexican blanket) or a thin quilt  

Beach or bath towel
The blanket folds flat and is relatively easy to move around   You have two blankets/beach/ bath towels at the ready
BlockSupports you in forward bends and other standing poses   Yoga blocks are usually 9” by 6” by 3” (or 4”) inches  Sturdy water bottle, upside down small trash can, upside down pot, step stoolYou can move it easily with one hand   You have two blocks so you have less fiddling to do
ChairSupports you in balance poses, supports legs in inversions   Yoga studios use folding chairs with the back panel removed  Any sturdy chair will do (without wheels)It is easy to move around
StrapExtends the length of your arms, helps with binds   Yoga straps are 1-1.5” wide and usually 6 feet long (sometimes 8 or 10 feet).  A cloth or leather belt, a dog leash, a scarfIt does not have much give, it is OK to wrinkle, and you can hold it tightly for a while

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