Props for Restorative Yoga

There are several props that are essential for providing the comfort and support for restorative yoga. Each prop has a specific utility that allows the restorative yoga pose to go deeper and have even more of an impact. The 7 essential restorative yoga props listed below are excellent for use in a home practice and commonly found at a restorative yoga studio. #1. The Yoga Bolster: Place a yoga bolster under the back, shoulders, and head to encourage the spine to lengthen and the chest to open. Bolsters can help counteract poor posture, softly open up your rib cage and belly. The result is improved digestion, blood flow to your vital organs, deeper breathing, and helps reduction of fatigue and stress in the body. Try this yoga prop in Supported Forward Fold to experience this utter bliss and relaxation. #2. The Yoga Block: The yoga block is an essential yoga prop for modifying postures to achieve optimal alignment. Using a block can take the strain out of poses and relieve unnecessary muscle tension that hinders true restorative yoga. For example, a yoga block is helpful in Supported Bridge Pose. A block under the sacrum helps lift and support the low back while maintaining a healthy alignment. #3. Yoga Neck Pillow: In restorative yoga, neck pillows are helpful for supporting the neck while relieving existing neck pain and cushioning the cervical spine for deep relaxation. Choose soft neck pillows filled with aromatic herbs such as lavender, peppermint, cinnamon, buckwheat, or clove. The therapeutic scents help to refresh and renew the body, mind and spirit while easing away tension, pain and stiffness. Try this yoga prop in poses such as Sidelying Savasana with a Twist to experience neck relief. #4. Yoga Strap: A yoga strap is an extremely helpful tool for restorative yoga that provides both length and leverage as well as unexpected support. Acting as an extension of the arms, yoga straps allow seemingly challenging poses be achieved with ease. The beauty is that while maintaining safe alignment, the body can get to the true work: letting go and restoring. Head to Knee Supported Forward Fold is a great example of a way to support yourself using a yoga strap. #5. Yoga Eye Pillow: Using eye pillows in restorative yoga can make a dramatic difference in the quality of your relaxation. Not only does this yoga prop block light from the eyes but they also ease eye strain and relieve tired eyes thus deepening the relaxation to the facial muscles and skin. Try a yoga eye pillow in Supported Savasana and let the body unwind. #6. Yoga Blanket In restorative yoga, a yoga blanket serves 3 main purposes. The first is to provide support in postures such as in Simple Supported Back Bend. Also, blankets can be folded into thirds to create a firm, yet comfortable seat for yoga meditation at the start or end of a class. Typically, a comfortable position for the back is achieved when sitting on the front of the folded blanket and rolling the pelvis forward to prevent hunching forward. Yoga blankets also create extra cushioning for bony body parts in poses such as low lunge. Finally, a Yoga blanket is an ideal yoga prop to create a cozy warm environment at the end of a practice. A restorative yoga teacher will sometimes encourage students to wrap in a blanket at the end the restorative sequence to ensure a deep relaxation. Enjoy using a yoga blanket in Supported Corpse Pose. #7. Yoga Mat A yoga mat provides a clean space to practice. Mats are available in a variety of style including different sizes and thicknesses. If you want extra cushion, choose and thicker mat that will more forgiving on the hips, shoulders, ankles, and knees. Yoga mats also create an individualized sacred space for practice. As you practice on your mat, it becomes soaked in your yogic energy, your prana. The familiarity feels like coming home, a place to be held, a place for healing, and for letting go. If you are just getting started with restorative yoga, roll your yoga mat out and begin gently in Supported Child’s Pose