We asked award winning personal trainer Kate Burrows, founder of KB Personal Training - Female Personal Trainers in London her thoughts on yoga props. Here is what she said:
What are the benefits of yoga props?
Yoga props like blocks, straps, bolsters, wheels etc are so beneficial to your yoga practice whether you are new to yoga or an experienced yogi. The main reasons why are:
- They help you keep your practice safe
- They enhance and advance your yoga practice
- Give you have the ability to experiment with new techniques
- Prevent injury - props stop you from forcing your body
- Help achieve better alignment
- Help you breath deeper and relax more
- Increase flexibility
- Build strength
Every Kin Yoga mat comes with a free carry strap that doubles up as a Yoga stretching strap.
How should you get started?
The most important thing when you are starting to use something new is to use it correctly. If you are going to a yoga class you could go in a few minutes early to set up. If you let your teacher know it is your first time using a certain prop they will be able to keep an extra eye on you to ensure you are using it properly. If you are attending an online class spend a few minutes before having a google of the prop you are about to use and watch some videos. If you are having difficulty you could always consider a few 1:1 sessions. My yoga practice was the best it's ever been when I was practising 1:1.
What is your favourite yoga prop?
It's a tough call between a strap and a block. I love using a strap to improve my flexibility, it helps me relax more, breath deeper and therefore increase my range of motion. Blocks I love for alignment, form is so important and blocks can really help get into trickier poses.
Cork blocks such as the Kin Magic block are firm and supportive, and completely environmentally friendly. The magic block is a little larger than your average block, and softer, to make it more versatile and comfortable.
How often should you use yoga props?
I would put the props your think you might need by your mat every time you practice - best to always have them there in case you need them. They're often used under your hands so it can be useful to keep them at the top of your mat.
Any more tips?
My last tip would be not to be embarrassed to use props. Sometimes people feel it makes them look like they are less advanced using a prop. Remember your yoga practice is your practice, and even advanced practitioners use props for a variety of reasons. Don't compare yourself to others.
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