Are you using props?
Different yoga styles, different approaches. It’s nothing about right or wrong, each approach is right. Coming from an Ashtanga background, I’m not much into props, as we say, if you can’t reach a posture, you’re not ready yet. Simple like that and I fully agree. However, if being really picky, a mat could also be counted as a prop, but I think this is a bit of a stretch, isn’t it. I definitely need a proper mat to avoid slipping, which can really be an issue. However, I sometimes use a block for a supported bridge pose to carefully open my body before going into full posture, urdhva dhanurasana. I’m not a backbender, my body prefers to fold forward, so this is a soft opening as an entry point. Even if I’m an Ashtanga devotee, I also believe, that it’s not about blindly following the rules, but the most important thing is to listen to my body. Accepting where I am that day, open, flexible and strong or rather stiff and exhausted with complaining muscles and joints. That’s life and I learned to accept and work with it. Also if this means using props or skipping a vinyasa here and there…. Finally, it’s my practice and there’s nobody to judge me, apart from my ego 😉
The yoga wheel is also a nice tool to play with. Not part of my practice, but part of playing, same here for supporting my body going backwards.
When it’s about my students, I’m not that strict, I allow them to use blocks and even a strap if it comes to hasta padangusthasana or binding in supta kurmasana, as I believe it leverages the learning curve in some postures significantly. Blocks can be very useful particularly for beginners, when eventually even sitting in easy pose with a long and straight spine is already a huge challenge. Just sitting on a block can be a game changer.
When it comes to yin yoga, the world is a different one. While we can do this style without props, I really prefer using them and everything can be used as a prop. We stay for 3 to 10 minutes in a posture and should make it as comfortable as possible. In this case, comfort is queen! After some minutes, a posture usually starts to get challenging anyhow, and we should be able to fully focus on our breath, releasing and letting go.
How about you? Props yes or no?