Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gearing Up for Iyengar Yoga: Props Make the Difference

Thinking about Iyengar yoga but not sure you’re ready for those more advanced poses yet? No need to fear. While it demands proper form and attention to detail, Iyengar also relies heavily on the use of yoga props to help even beginners find the right alignment and hold poses as long as necessary.

Your choice of props will depend on your specific needs, body type, and level of mobility. Yoga blocks, for example, can be placed in a variety of different positions and provide just enough extra height for the most challenging poses. Blocks can also be positioned behind your hands, heels, or hips to stay in proper form.

Are you a little less flexible? A yoga strap is an inexpensive and useful prop to extend your reach---and ensure the right alignment---in a variety of poses. Straps can be especially helpful in one-legged standing poses and seated stretches.

And if you’re new to Iyengar and need a little more support in certain postures, you may want to try a yoga bolster. Bolsters are available in a handful of shapes and sizes, any of which can make your poses easier and more comfortable.

If you ultimately want to increase your flexibility or ease that recurring back pain, Iyengar yoga may be an option. But don’t be intimidated by the focus on perfection and detail. With guidance from a certified Iyengar instructor, you’ll be able to find the right props to make your practice manageable and reap the benefits.