DIY Props, Chair Yoga Flow & Modifications for Tender Joints
Updated: Feb 10, 2022
DIY Yoga Props - It's that easy!Learn how to make DIY yoga props from commonly found household items.In restorative yoga and many other styles of yoga classes, simple props can help you to settle more comfortably into a physical shape and find more balance and benefit from the posture.
When I say “props” that doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of specialized merchandise to duplicate what they have in your local yoga studio. In fact, for almost every prop we use in our yoga poses, there is something in your house that you can use in its place.
Blocks. In most cases, you can use a book or a stack of books in place of a block. The only time you need to be careful about this is when you are placing both hands on a height (for example, in Downward-Facing Dog pose with hands on blocks). In this case, make sure the books are exactly the same height. And, of course, if you’re handy, there is no reason why you can’t make your own blocks out of pieces of wood you happen to have out in your garage. Just be sure to sand them well so you don’t get any splinters.
Straps. For a yoga strap substitute, look no further than your closet. Depending on which pose you’re doing, you can use an actual belt (leather or cloth). The sash from a bathrobe works quite well. You could even use an actual tie. Just make sure that the cloth isn’t stretchy, as it won’t provide the necessary support if there is a lot of give to it.
Bolsters. Start with one single blanket that is folded into quarters. Then, from the narrow side, roll the blanket into a tight, firm roll. Then fold your second blanket into quarters. Finally, place the rolled-up first blanket on top of the flat second blanket, lining up the edges of both at narrow end, and then roll the second blanket around the first. Another possibility is to use a sleeping bag that has been rolled up inside its bag for storage.
In many poses, the bolster doesn’t even need to be a round shape. In this case, you can fold some yoga blankets into long, thin rectangles and stack them on top of each other. This works well for reclined, supported poses, such as Reclined Cobbler’s pose, Reclined Hero pose, and Supported Savasana.
Blankets. The blankets used in yoga studios (and the photo above) are wool, single-bed blankets. These are best because comforters and duvets tend to be too fluffy to provide any real support. However, when push comes to shove, a stack of towels can do the trick. Because towels are thinner than wool blankets, you’ll have to use more to achieve the same height.
Eye Pillows. An eye pillow has two functions. The first is to block out the light. For this purpose, you can drape a silk scarf or any other soft fabric over your eyes. The second purpose is to add a little weight to your eyelids, which can enhance relaxation. To add a little weight, you could wrap the silk scarf around a folded washcloth or even a small baggie filled with rice.
Simple Chair Yoga Flow - Remember to take it slow and remain focused.
Chair yoga is easy to learn and convenient to do. We are all spending too much time sitting these days, so why not practice a little chair yoga once in a while. Below is a simple chair yoga sequence I created that adapts common yoga poses and movements. Next time you notice you have been sitting for a while, take a break, move your body and feel better! Click the link below to view the sequence or download the PDF provided.
Yoga and Arthritis: How to Reduce Pain & Stiffness
Like many people I suffer from osteoarthritis. This degenerative condition can cause pain and stiffness in joints. As we age many of us will develop this condition, it is very common. But there's good news. Clinical research has shown that yoga can be very beneficial in helping to manage and mitigate joint pain and stiffness, as well as support and improve functional movement.
Here is an excellent YouTube video out of Johns Hopkins Centre for Integrative Health that offers some wonderful suggestions on how to use props (including chairs) to modify many yoga poses and movements, making them much more accessible to more people. I invite you to view this video and incorporate any or all of the suggested modifications. Making your yoga practice work for your body is central to maximizing the benefits of the practice.