Yoga has a universal appeal, so having a day dedicated to it comes as no surprise. Every year, June 21 is observed as the International Day of Yoga. If you are not a yoga pro, don’t worry. There’s always a first time! And for yoga beginners, there are props to help you. Using props in yoga can help you with asanas that you think are too hard to do. An expert suggests how to use props while doing yoga.
Health Shots connected with Dr Mickey Mehta, a global leading holistic health guru and corporate life coach to explore the yoga world with props.
The market is full of yoga blocks and bricks! While yoga can be done hands-free conveniently, Dr Mehta says that sometimes, yoga asanas without a prop can get very difficult to achieve even if you are practising it every day. Props help us in getting into a posture and they also allow us to hold it for a while. Props make it convenient, they allow a range of motion and they bring in a lot of stability. Yoga props also allow us to try out different angles, the range of movement and mental security. Here are some of the options for you:
A yoga belt can be used for giving a deeper stretch while doing an asana. If you want to open up the shoulder and want deeper stretch at the upper arms, chest, hips, and thighs, you can try Gomukhasana with a yoga belt.
• Sit with your back straight while folding your right thigh on your left leg. • Lift your right hand and place it at the back then fold your right leg and try to interlock your fingers at the back. If you find it difficult to touch your hands, you can do it with the help of a belt.
They are mainly used for support purpose, so they can help those who want to do Ashwa Sanchalanasana, which helps to keep the abdominal area healthy.
• From the downward dog pose, bring one leg forward.
• Place the bricks on either side so that you can keep your hands for support.
• Gradually with the support of the bricks, you can take a leg forward progressing towards full split.
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A chair can be used to do Vakrasana. It helps the spine with a good stretch and makes it flexible and useful for reducing side flab.
• Sit straight on the chair and twist towards the right side while holding the back of the chair with both your hands.
• Repeat the simple step on the left side.
Using a Swiss ball for twisting, bending and forward bending helps in strength training as it creates resistance, says the expert. You can also do Shavasana on a Swiss ball for relaxation.
• Lie your back on the Swiss ball, with your arms and legs extended towards the floor. Your palms should be facing up and eyes closed. Then just relax.
Chakrasana or Wheel pose is a yoga asana that helps to open up your heart and chest, thereby helping you to breathe better. You can take the support of a yoga wheel, which gives a good support for stretching and backbend exercises. The yoga wheel is a famous prop amongst celebrities such as Alia Bhatt too!
It helps to strengthen the back, so you can get stability in your personality, confidence and self-esteem, thanks to Chakrasana, says Dr Mehta.
• Sit straight, with your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor, in front of the yoga wheel so that it’s parallel and aligned with your spine. Keep your hands on the inside of the wheel so that you can hold it in place.
• Lean backward against the wheel, and release your hands.
• As you press through your heels and lift your hips, reach your arms up and over your head. Your elbows should be bent.
• Extend your spine over the top of the wheel and roll it between your shoulder blades, and let your arms reach the ground. Relax your head and neck on the wheel, and engage your inner thighs to keep your knees aligned with your toes.
• Hold the position here, or if you are comfortable, extend one leg at a time for a deeper stretch at your quadriceps and hip joint. Make sure to keep your inner thighs and feet engaged to prevent your hips and knees from externally rotating.
• Hold it for 10 seconds, and then slowly reverse the movement to release the posture.
Dr Mehta says that props are a great way to start a workout. It improves the range, stability, and core strength for the workout. But eventually, a workout has to become independent of the props. That means, you can use the props for initial help, but eventually you should learn to let go of the props. Props are here to support and facilitate. If not done under supervision, you could end up with injuries.