Updated: Oct 31, 2020
Hey Readers! If you are new to my posts, welcome! If you are a returning lotus yogi reader, welcome back! I am so glad you are here! As my previous post discussed (click here to read), yoga props are excellent additions to your yoga practice. But, maybe you are in a situation where you do not have access to traditional yoga props. For example, maybe you do not have the financial ability to purchase traditional yoga props right now, or maybe you are traveling and cannot bring all of your yoga props. Or, maybe you are just starting in your yoga journey, and you are not ready to purchase a bunch of extra yoga items. So, what can you do if you do not have traditional yoga props? First, do not worry! There are plenty of totally legit prop substitutions that you can use. Second, get creative. I will offer some of my preferred prop hacks, but really, the sky is the limit with coming up with items that can be used as a yoga prop.
Instead of yoga blocks, you could use heavy, thick books (preferably something that will not slip and slide on your yoga mat or floor). You could also place several books, or other heavy items (e.g. canned foods), in a small cardboard box that is taped up to secure the items inside. You could also use sturdy tupperware that is in the general shape of a yoga block. In the picture above, I grabbed two books from my house that are thick and sturdy.
Instead of bolsters, you could use throw pillows or bed pillows. You could even try rolling up thick towels or blankets to act as a bolster. In the picture above, I grabbed a throw pillow off my bed. If you are traveling, hotels often have 1-2 extra throw pillows on the bed that might be a perfect substitute for a bolster.
Instead of strap, you could use belt, scarf, or long sock. You could also use an exercise or resistance band, or even a jump rope. In the picture above, I have an infinity scarf and an old belt that could easily act as a yoga strap.
Eye Pillow Substitutions
Instead of an eye pillow, you could use a washcloth folded longways over your eyes. You might even wet the washcloth with hot water before using it, which can feel really nice over your eyes (plus the water adds a little weight to the washcloth, providing a little extra pressure over the eyes). You could even make your own eye pillow by putting uncooked rice in a small ziplock baggie. If you use this option, I would recommend that you use the snack size baggies because they are smaller and won't let the rice move around as much. Use a tissue or washcloth to cover the baggie when you use it. You could even use a long, clean sock or a stretchy headband over your your eyes.
Yoga Blanket Substitutions
Instead of a yoga blanket, you could practically use any cloth that can be rolled or molded into different shapes. Towels are usually the easiest substitute for a yoga blanket, especially if you are traveling because your hotel should provide you with towels. You can also use a small, throw blanket you have in your house. If you are really hard pressed, you could fold up a t-shirt or sweater to use as a blanket. In the picture above, I have a towel that can act as my blanket.
Yoga props are fantastic additions to your yoga practice. Yoga props can be used in so many ways to support your personal practice. However, there might be certain occasions where you cannot use traditional yoga props. And that is okay! There are so many possible substitutions for common yoga props. You can try any of the substitutions offered in this blog post. If you need more ideas, you can do a simple internet search for "yoga prop substitutions" and see what you find. Remember to get creative with your prop hacks. If a particular prop hack does not work for you, try something different. The most important thing is that you show up for yourself on your yoga mat as often as you can.
As always, the information presented in this blog post is derived from my own study of neuroscience, human movement, anatomy, and yoga. If you have specific questions about the best ways to use yoga props for your body, please consult with your physician, personal trainer, physical therapist, or private yoga teacher. If you are interested in private yoga sessions with me, Jackie, you can book services on my website ("Book Online" from the menu at the top of the page), or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about my services. Also, please subscribe to my website so you can receive my weekly newsletters (scroll to the bottom of the page where you can submit your email address). This will help keep you "in-the-know" about my latest blog releases and other helpful yoga and wellness information. Thanks for reading!
~Namaste, Jackie Allen, M.S., M.Ed., CCC-SLP, RYT-200, RCYT