Sometimes I get strange looks when I hand students blocks at the beginning of class. Perhaps they haven’t used props before, or perhaps they were in a class where the attitude was, “If you can’t achieve the ‘perfect’ pose, here’s a block for those of you who can’t do it.”
I admit that for a long time I only used blocks when I couldn’t achieve “perfection.” If I couldn’t reach the floor with my hand during triangle pose and used a block, I felt that I had failed. This was a judgment entirely on my part; no one made me feel that way and no teacher had ever suggested that to me.
But this year, the more I learn about yoga in teacher training, the more I see the benefits of props. A few months ago we did a yin yoga session which is all about using props to support the body so you can achieve a more restful and comfortable pose.
Now, I like using props all the time. I CAN reach the floor in triangle or side angle, but I feel like I can get a deeper stretch and more benefits if I use the blocks.
And I’m a huge fan of the strap. I love the feel of that deep hamstring and hip stretch when the strap supports the leg.
How about you? Do you use props regularly in your practice? If you teach, do you guide students in using props?