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Yoga is a practice of inner contemplation aimed at exploring and developing the possibilities of the mind and body. For such contemplation, by and large, nothing is needed, except for the appropriate mood.

However, not all yoga asanas can be performed the first time. And not all practitioners can be physically ready for one form or another. To facilitate the entry, exit and stay in the asana, you can use the so-called props.

Props (from the English prop “support”) are yoga accessories that make it easier to perform asanas, as well as help avoid injuries and perform correct adjustments. They can be used both for adaptation and simplification, and for deepening and “finishing” the situation.

Consider the basic equipment that is most often used to practice yoga asanas. And we will tell you how it can be replaced from household items.

Support blocks or bricks
Yoga blocks help create a foothold where there is not enough “length” and strength of the arms and legs (or rather, joint mobility and muscle tone) to create the necessary emphasis.

Blocks can be used both to eliminate excess tension (for example, placing a brick under the knee in sitting or lying postures with the hip abducted to the side), and in order to create adequate load (for example, holding a brick with your hands above your head in deep bends).

Support blocks can be made from light synthetic materials (e.g. EVA) or natural materials (cork and wood). Each material has its pros and cons.

EVA blocks are the softest and lightest. They are convenient to place as a support under the pelvis, sacrum or thoracic spine, or used in coordination exercises where the block must be placed on the head or on the foot. This prop is easy to take with you on a trip or to a yoga class.

Wooden blocks are the most rigid, heavy, and therefore the most reliable. It is convenient to get up and lean on them, because. they do not change their shape under pressure, do not wear out and do not crumble. Such blocks are often used in Iyengar yoga classes and are usually available in good yoga studios. Carrying such props with you is inconvenient and difficult.

Cork blocks are the golden mean. They are quite strong and durable. And at the same time quite light and soft. However, these bricks tend to be the most expensive. And they may not always serve as an adequate substitute where a softer support is required.

Cork yoga block
If you don’t have a yoga block, you can use heavy books, a heavy shoe box, or a stack of old magazines tied with string or tape. Just make sure the magazines are securely tied and the lid on the shoe box is secure.

Yoga strap
A strap can be useful in asanas where a grip is required (for example, with a hand on the leg or on the other hand). Using the belt, you can increase and decrease the load by creating and releasing tension in the tissues in the grip. In certain asanas (for example, in balances on the arms), the belt can be used to fix the position of the shoulders and hips relative to the body and to each other.

Yoga straps are usually sewn from cotton or nylon, and a metal or plastic buckle with an adjuster is fixed at the end. The belt can also be made in the form of two loops in the form of an infinity sign.

If you don’t have a dedicated yoga belt, use a tie, a bathrobe belt, a thick scarf, a fabric trouser belt, a dog leash, or a kitchen towel.

Myofascial Release Ball
The tight ball for myofascial release (MFR) can be used not only for self-massage and removal of muscle clamps, but also for performing specific exercises in order to work out the joints in isolation. For example, if you hold the ball between the thigh and abdomen, you can target the knee joint by performing flexion and extension.

MFR balls are usually small in diameter, hard, sometimes needle-shaped or embossed, made of PVC, silicone, rubber, and even stone.

You can replace the special MFR ball with a regular tennis ball or a game ball from a pet store.

yoga mat
If we talk about the direct purpose of a yoga mat – to create a comfortable grip on the floor and a personal space for practice, then it can hardly be attributed to auxiliary equipment. Rather, it is the main (and often the only) equipment for practice. However, experienced practitioners can do without it. For beginners, it’s better to immediately invest in a good mat so as not to move your feet and palms apart without the necessary muscle control, which does not come immediately, and not to be injured by slipping on the floor or carpet.