Yoga Props: Bolsters and Blankets and Blocks, Oh My!

This entry was posted on Oct 8, 2014 by .

How to Use Your Yoga Props

Blankets and bolsters and blocks, oh my! Wedges and straps and mats, oh my! You’ve probably seen them all, in photos or in your local studio or gym. But what are you supposed to do with them?

If you attend an Iyengar, Kripalu, Anusara, Viniyoga or Restorative class, you probably have a good idea how to use at least some of them. Other classes, such as Power, Ashtanga, Jivamukti, Vinyasa and Hot Yoga might also employ yoga props here and there. But there are so many choices.

That’s why we’ve published our Yoga Prop Guide. You can see it above, or if you want to see a larger version, you can find it here.

Props Are for Everybody

Most of the yoga props we use today were devised by B.K.S. Iyengar. Iyengar began his Yoga practice with T. Krishnamacharya, who also taught K. Patabhi Jois, T.K.V. Desikachar and Indra Devi. According to the website of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York (IYAGNY), Iyengar developed yoga props to help practitioners of all ages, body types and experience levels to be able to maximize the benefits of their practice. Here’s how IYAGNY describes it:

“B.K.S. Iyengar introduced props into the modern practice of yoga to allow all practitioners access to the benefits of the postures regardless of physical condition, age, or length of study.  Props help all practitioners (including the most advanced) gain sensitivity to the use of effort and receive the deep benefits of postures held over significant time periods.  Props are introduced from the beginning for students with specific physical limitations and gradually in regular classes to enhance personal understanding of a posture and its effects and to develop skill and confidence.

“Props include sticky mats, blankets, belts, blocks, benches, wall ropes, sandbags, chairs, and other objects that help students experience the various yoga poses more profoundly. Props may be used in class to encourage students, bolster confidence, and create optimal body alignment.

“Allowing students to practice asanas (yoga postures) and pranayamas (breathing patterns) with greater effectiveness, ease, and stability, props provide support for the body and allow the mind to relax and more profoundly receive the benefits of the yoga.”

How We Got Started

Hugger Mugger’s founder, Sara Chambers, was a student of Iyengar Yoga in 1986 when she began making props for students and teachers in her local Salt Lake City classes. Her first creation was a strap—1-1/2 inches wide with a metal D-ring buckle—made to the late Mary Dunn’s specifications. A pair of made-for-Yoga shorts followed the next day. A custom furniture builder, Sara then branched off into making wooden blocks. Soon she was carrying nonskid mats and blankets, and making bolsters, sandbags and clothing. By the late 1980s, Sara’s little company was full-fledged, international yoga props supplier.

We hope our Prop Guide will be a helpful teaching tool for your practice and classes. The Prop Guide gives just a few examples of uses for each prop. Of course, we encourage you to come up with your own uses. We’d love to hear your ideas.

If you have questions about any of our props, please contact our knowledgeable staff of Yoga teachers (1-800-473-4888) for more information. You can also talk to our staff via the live chat feature on our website.


19 responses to “Yoga Props: Bolsters and Blankets and Blocks, Oh My!”

  1. Avatar Sue Brooks says:

    I would like to buy a poster of the prop guide. How, where, how much?

    • Avatar Charlotte Bell says:

      Hi Sue, We used to have a laminated version of the props guide for sale. The one we recently posted on the blog is a brand-new, updated version of it. I’ll suggest it.

  2. Avatar Marie-Josée says:

    Thank you for putting this together & sharing! Great idea!

  3. Avatar Sue Brooks says:

    Hi Charlotte. Please do! I would buy one in a heart beat for my studio!

    • Avatar Charlotte Bell says:

      Hey all ~ For those who would like a printed version of the props guide, we’re having one reconfigured for printing and it will probably be ready in about a month. Stay tuned. We’ll announce it on the blog and on Facebook and Twitter.

  4. Avatar Isaac Cruz says:

    I would like to buy a poster of the prop guide howw where how much

    im’no speak english good but i try Thanks

  5. Avatar Gail says:

    I too,would enjoy this poster; no studio yet, but for workshops? perhaps on a tri-pod?…or just to support my obsession, as a new teacher:) Thanks and Namaste’

  6. Avatar Edith Jason says:

    Please put me on your list. I am registered E-RYT 500. thank you.

  7. Avatar Yellow Sky Yoga says:

    Absolutely would buy the prop guide! Please let us know once you have a printed version. Thank you for such a valuable tool. 🙂

  8. Avatar Janet Marie Petty says:

    I like the visual aide of a chart but for those of us on the go and not owning a studio a smaller lamented version, like a 5 x 7 card would a wonderful reference for recalling the suggested prop uses. In the mean time a implement with what ever Ihave available where ever I am at, literally.

  9. Avatar josephine says:

    please notify me when the prop guide is available to purchase.

  10. Avatar Sue Brooks says:

    Any word of the availability of this poster? Would really like to buy one.

  11. Avatar Gail says:

    “Hey all ~ For those who would like a printed version of the props guide, we’re having one reconfigured for printing and it will probably be ready in about a month. Stay tuned. We’ll announce it on the blog and on Facebook and Twitter.” Written last Summer.
    Has it been posted on Facebook?

    • Avatar Charlotte Bell says:

      Hi, Sorry about this. When I wrote this message that was indeed the plan. It hasn’t happened. An associate in the marketing department suggests that you print the pdf on the Hugger Mugger website if you’d like to have a copy of it. She says the pdf is print quality. I hope this helps!

  12. Avatar Gail says:

    DONE! Fabulous, thank you so much!
    Will look to you for acquiring the props in the future. Your generosity is appreciated.

  13. Avatar Robert Greene says:

    Such a great information and i like to buy your poster.

    • Avatar Charlotte Bell says:

      At this point, we don’t have a printed copy of the prop guide, but you can certainly print the pdf on our website.

  14. Avatar Charlotte Bell says:

    Hi, I’ve sent your request to the appropriate decision makers. They will let you know what they think. thanks!

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