yoga prop tutorial

Yoga Prop tutorial 101: The Blanket

Blankets are a staple yoga prop, and very useful for a restorative practice. While in many forms of yoga classes blankets are used during savasana, as a warm layer, there are other uses of them. 

how to use a blanket as a yoga prop

Foundation: The single fold

One of the things blankets do is soften the hardness of the floor, which allows the muscle fibers to relax. You can use a stack of blankets or just one. The height you choose will depend on the asana, the intention of use, and how much you want to bring the floor closer to you.

Finding The Right Height

I often see students using way too much height under the head, or not enough, and the result is not an improvement of the posture. You want to be able to release tension in a restorative practice, to support you body in any number of poses from backbends, chest openers, forward bends, twists, and simple seated poses.

Two simple uses of Blankets

How you fold blankets is an important factor in using them as effective yoga props. You can roll or fold them, stack them up, or use combinations. They can be substituted for bolsters. Folding them well means having clean edges so they retain their shape. Remember that a yoga prop is there to support you and provide feedback. If they are falling apart this cannot happen.

SINGLE FOLD: FOUNDATION: Starting with the short ends of the blanket, it gets folded in half, then folded again twice. Smooth all edges. As seen in above photo

how to use the blanket as a yoga prop

Yoga Blanket folding step 1

DOUBLE FOLDED: Starting with the foundation fold one side into the middle, follow by the other side. Smooth all edges. As seen in above photo

how can I create a home yoga practicee

yoga blanket as bolster

The finished product, seen above, smooth edges can be used with another one together to make a nice bolster. Enjoy different ways to use yoga props in class today 

Or book a private!

 

Revolved Head To Knee Pose – Yoga Therapy Version

Revolved Head To Knee Pose – Yoga Therapy Version was written on a day I felt like experimenting….sometimes I get into a playful mood about being so tight ~ sitting, driving, walking…feel a bit seized up here: Quadratus Lumborum  – the QL – the hip hikers that never quit….so I try to mix in some inspiration from my trusty yoga props and get going to explore the terrain of the side waist. Here is a fun pose to try. One of the articles that I incorporated was a study of how to use the feet in asana by one of my teachers – this is why I have used the block on my extended foot – to keep doing the work in the feet and explore how that translated to working the hips

Revolved Head To Knee Pose - Yoga Therapy Version

Revolved Head To Knee Pose Rana Waxman

Revolved Head To Knee Pose Rana Waxman A

 

 

 

 

 

Revolved Head To Knee Pose – Yoga Therapy Version –

parivrtta = revolved

janu = knee
sirsa = head

Revolved Head To Knee Pose Rana Waxman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found using a strap and block made me really have to do the work of grounding the femurs, engaging my glutes and lifting through the spine to get the side bend.

Revolved Head To Knee PoseSometimes less is more

Benefits

Stretches the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings
Stimulates abdominal organs such as the liver and kidneys
Improves digestion

Therapeutic Applications

Mild backache
Anxiety
Fatigue
Headache
Insomnia

Tip- Before you work at a long hold, experiment with getting just the right amount of real rotation in the mid back….When you release, loosen anything that is straight and neutralize (center) the torso before moving to next sidestretch QL

Why Using a Wall is a Useful Yoga Prop

Yoga Props To Increase The Benefits

Why Using a Wall is a  Useful Yoga Prop

As a yoga therapist, I  have never seen anyone not benefit from the use of a strategically placed yoga prop. Apart from a sticky and reliable yoga mat, the wall itself is a fantastic yoga prop and one of your best teachers for a few reasons:

-it does not lie; when you press into it you feel direct postural feedback of where you are in time and space

-it helps you maintain balance which can deliver you into more self-confidence, and strength

-it helps you maintain alignment and so conserve energy and keeps you safer (because there are healthy ways to stretch and ways that create injury)

-you can stack things against it like yoga blocks, bolsters, yoga chair

-it reminds us to ground, lengthen, align the spine and helps deepen awareness

Sounds pretty great right? right now, while I get to know the ropes here in Jersey City,  I am available for private yoga classes

The belief that using props is cheating or makes things ‘easy’ is ridiculous. Believe me.

Try this variation of a lunge: Come into downward facing dog with your heels up the baseboard of the wall. Step your right foot forward between your hands (you can use blocks). Keep pressing the back heel into the wall, draw your top thighs into the body so your hips are steady, as you lengthen through the spine. 60-90 seconds each side, steady breathing steady alignment

Join me for restorative yoga whether in private or in Jersey City to explore some calming options

wall as yoga prop

wall as yoga prop

 

Using Your Yoga Practice To Move From Spirit

ego-spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using Your Yoga Practice To Move From Spirit  is seeing practice as meditation in motion, mindful movement. Sometimes life is full of challenges, and we have to call upon some inner grace to get through it. Relaxation is the antidote to stress, it will help you find that grace..

The lotus flower grows from the bottom of streams and muddy ponds to rise above the water and bloom. At night, it closes and sinks below the water, just to resurface again, untouched the next day, Fully grounded in earth, yet aspiring towards the divine, the lotus flower lives in the muddy water, yet remains unsoiled.

spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time on the yoga mat is meditation in motion, mindful movement.

The “P” in practice can either be “push push push” or “patience patience patience”. Generally I like to tell students to go gradually and navigate a pose, considering where they are at in the present moment, what the cues from their breathing indicate, and what the general physical feedback is telling them. There is a skill to using yoga props that not only makes the asana approachable and possible but also, increases the benefits and your ability to learn how to be peaceful in a challenging situation because you aren’t fighting so hard to maintain alignment etc. If you have never tried Restorative Yoga therapy wow, here too is a most intelligent and awesome way to cultivate safe flexibility and the rest and digest attitude that the nervous system so needs

 

yoga and healing

This is a really cool quote about healing; I always equated Yoga with healing – that every posture and facet of the system is there as a tool for transformation. Very different approach from the fitness craze – doesn’t mean that yoga as therapy cannot be endurance and strength building. I challenge you if you think that way to book a private yoga class with me ! People think of yoga props as cheating whereas in fact, a well placed yoga prop can make it way more difficult for you NOT to rely on compensation patterns!

healing

Nourish Your Being With Yoga Therapy

Finding a quiet moment during a stressful time can be challenging. What I love about the practice of yoga is that it nourishes us and brings us back to a still point, free of resistance and search or struggle. In Yapana® yoga we use poses called “BEing” poses to restore and support the parasympathetic response – these involve strategic placement of  yoga props to meet your body’s needs (alignment, safety, flexibility) and we make sure to include a nice long relaxation so you can really let go of all the layers that cover up this happy to BE place.

being with

Fighting the Mind

Who do you identify with?

If you plan to sit with your breath, I give full details on how to set up on the Yoga Mind cd; there should be no anxiety or discomfort in your posture, so use a few yoga props to ensure the spine is straight. My curiosity goes to the man on the left – he needs to sit on at least one(or two!) folded blanket(s) so his knees are not higher than the hips and bolsters fit under the outer hips is always welcome relief. Sukhasana = happy seated pose…

Also just know that meditation is a process and involves practice, patience, and replacing old patterns of thinking with a relaxed focus. You are undoing tension to uncover the calm that predates the anxiety..but just coexisting rather than resisting – honouring and accepting and gaining some distance from the busyness of the mind.

Once you are comfortable in your posture, and you are ok with touching base with your witness self, there is no need to force anything. Just bring yourself to the feeling of the breath touching the inside of your nostrils and focus on this sensation.

We can replace panic with peace as a destination  :-) just stop fighting the mind long enough to practice taming it

thinking:notthinking

Yoga during the holidays

Do you have a yoga practice that you can adapt to travel? Do you travel with any props? I welcome you to contact me for private yoga classes. I am in Bergen County and can show you a few tips to take on the road with you – or stop by one of my public yoga classes in the new year. I also have a great YOGA MIND CD that you can practice with for portable peacefulness

christmas tree yoga

 

props to yoga

A key misconception is that props make a pose easier or gentler; support is feedback.

The popularity of pushing into a pose should be replaced by the honest efficiency of meeting yourself where your needs are.  Props give you access, and help you maintain a calm breath.  If you are overriding your breath in order to seek sensation, you risk overdoing, strain, injury.

For more reasons to use props, check out my post on MindBodyGreen

yogaproplove