"Start with what you have," one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received. Shout to my Biz Coach!
Wether you wanna start your home yoga practice, or you really don't have a choice, this is the perfect place to start. Early on as a practicing yogi, I used to avoid props like the plague. I thought using props meant I sucked at yoga. Now, I know better. Props are amazing to help you move through poses with ease, comfort and really creating space to feel the pose, instead of being really uncomfortable. In fact, we use props in every single yoga class I teach.
Now, I've gotta tell you, when I start something new, I go all in and get ALL the things.
- I wanted to make bath bombs and natural soaps. I got all the stuff. I got bored. It went unused.
- I wanted to start making mala necklaces. I got all the beads and supplies. I got bored. It went unused.
I'm gonna share the actual prop, the substitution, a pose to show them both in action and let you know what they're typically used for, so you can decide if need them or not.
In the event that you're still not convinced, I've included some (affiliate) links to my favourite products.
Props & Substitutions & Poses - OH MY!
1. Yoga Mat (Downward Dog):
The first thing I wanna tell you is - you don't need one, it’s your floor! You're not in a public space, where who knows who or what ended up on that floor. But in the event that you don't wanna sweat all over your carpet a towel is a great substitute, A BEACH TOWEL is even better.
That said, it may not be a great choice if you have slippery floors, in that case you'll need to source out a yoga mat.
But before you drop $100 (or more) on a beautiful and sturdy yoga mat - start with a $20 mat from Marshall's. If it's a little slippery, spray it down with some Windex.
2. Yoga Blocks (Forward Fold):
Are you still hoarding some toilet paper? Rolls of TOILET PAPER or paper towels (if you need a little more height) are the way to go.
Just make sure you're working with FULL rolls, otherwise it's a recipe for disaster.
Another option if you're running a little low are BOOKS, though I can name a few people who would be appalled at the idea of using books for anything other than reading.
3. Yoga Straps (Seated Single Leg Fold):
Typically a yoga strap is used to close space between two body parts. Like in a fold where you can't touch your toes.
You could reuse a prop substitution like your beach towel, or your stretchy band (see #8).
But if you're looking for something a little more similar to a yoga strap try using a BELT.
4. Bolsters (Supported Cobbler Pose):
Every time I get to a new prop, I think THIS ONE'S MY FAVOURITE. Truth is, I can't choose one.
Bolsters are another amazing prop, though I would say it isn't the most versatile one. But if you have a couch, it's safe to say you have some COUCH CUSHIONS.
"Why not just use a pillow, Dom?" Because couch cushions are denser, and this makes them more similar to the feeling of the bolster, rather than your pillow.
And when you're all done, you can make a fort!
5. Yoga Blankets (Camel Pose):
Blankets are the most versatile prop by far, but you don't need a fancy blanket.
Pick a BLANKET YOU HAVE AT HOME, or if you prefer something less fluffy, this is where you can turn to a TOWEL again.
I really encourage you to cushion your knees in poses where you're kneeling. Often our knees can get very uncomfortable, and when they're uncomfortable they're all you can to think about, instead of what you're feeling in the actual pose. Like the backbend or the stretch across the chest in Camel pose.
6. Pilates Ball / Coregeous Ball / Squishy Ball / Lil Squish (Glute Bridge):
This ball is used for not only adding strength and/or challenge to certain movements (like getting the inner thighs going in glute bridge), it's also a great tool for Myofascial Release / Self Massage.
Typically I recommend a BLANKET YOU HAVE AROUND THE HOUSE rolled up, but recently I started using a TOWEL which creates deeper strength and release.
Just as a side note, Lil' Squish is like a mini exercise ball versus the "other" Pilates Ball, that's actually a weighted ball.
7. Weights (Bicep Curl - ignore my posed legs):
While most yoga classes don't use weights, I don't teach your average yoga class. I'm all about blending the yoga poses you love with the strength training you need.
So, yes having a substitute for weights is a must. I suggest a FULL WATER BOTTLE, or the heaviest thing you own that you can safely hold.
I've heard a lot of recommendations about soup cans, I've even made this recommendation. But one day I used actual soup cans... and they didn't do much for me. You're stronger than you think - don't be afraid to go a bit heavier than you think.
Need something heavier? Try filling a backpack with some random (unbreakable) objects from around your house!
8. Theraband / Exercise Band:
Truth be told... I don't have a good or even mediocre substitution for this one.
This one's definitely worth the investment and the best part? It's one of the least expensive props out there.
It's also a great prop to substitute for your yoga strap and when you need a light weight.
9. Massage Ball (forgot to take a picture, oops!):
You can use different types of balls depending on the intensity you're looking for like a TENNIS BALL (less dense),
LACROSSE BALL (more dense). You can even take two balls and tape them together with duct tape to
make a peanut which feels amazing along either side of the spine.
My Three Favourite Massage Balls - they're all here!
Now that you have your props, you need a class. Check out the latest personalized small group classes HERE, where the best bang for your buck is the full session, where classes are planned knowing you'll be there!