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Have you been practicing at home and found yourself in a pose where you needed the ground just a few inches higher? Or gone for a bind and your fingers were merely a few inches from connecting? Yup, we’ve been there. A home practice can be difficult when you don’t have your props. But fear not—we’ve got the remedy with some DIY yoga props.
Props can be anything, so long as they safely and comfortably assist your practice. Good props allow you to find more depth in your poses, increase flexibility, and garner more stability. But props can get pricey, and sometimes you need to improvise.
The next time you dive into a home practice, get crafty and try some of your own DIY yoga props. Here are our favorite tricks:
Yoga blocks are one of the most common yoga props, and for good reason. From seasoned veterans to yoga newbies, everyone can benefit from these fantastic tools. Whether your hamstrings are too tight to touch your toes or you’re hankering for a higher seat in Lotus, a block is the ultimate remedy.
If you don’t own yoga blocks, there are a few things around the house that serve as a suitable alternative. If you need a only slight lift off the ground for your seated poses, try a rolled-up towel or blanket. For standing poses, grab a dictionary or a create a small stack of hardcover books. When you make it to Half-Moon, Triangle, or a seated forward fold, have your “blocks” nearby to assist you.
Yoga straps are are practical tool when working to increase flexibility or opening up tighter muscles. For newer students (or on the days when you’re feeling tighter than normal), a strap can be used to to assist a forward fold. A strap also helps to support the arms when practicing forearm stand or dolphin pose. Finally, straps are insanely beneficial for simple side stretches—just hold the strap over your head and gently move left to right.
No yoga strap at home? This one’s easy. Head to your closet and grab a necktie, bathrobe tie, belt, or scarf. All of these will work like a strap to support a deep opening and release.
A bolster can be heaven-sent when needing a more restorative practice. Think of a bolster as an epic yoga pillow; it helps provide deep relaxation while allowing for longer, delicious holds.
Bolsters can cost a pretty penny, so in the meantime, try rolling two to three blankets in a tight and firm roll. This tool can support the low back, lay beneath your knees when resting in savasana, or sit under the upper back for gentle heart-opening. When the hips are tight, try the DIY bolster under your tailbone for extra support or when in a wide-seated forward fold. The possibilities with a homemade bolster are truly endless.
The yoga blankets that we see in our local studios are great—they’re made of wool, warm, and thick enough for support while still being nice and soft. You may have to experiment with a few different blankets before finding a solid substitution, but it’s oh so worth it.
Try using a thick and cozy throw, or use a few blankets stacked on top of one another. Your knees will appreciate the homemade blanket in poses like Low Crescent or Cat-Cow. It’s also nice to have a blanket close by when practice slows down and you need a bit of extra weight. Place your blanket over your pelvis during savasana for a deep, tranquil release.
Yoga is all about exploration and discovery, so why not extend that creativity into your props? Remember that each body and practice is special in it’s own way. Find props that work for you. Now how will you choose to use them?
Zuzu Perkal is an independent artist, photographer, yoga instructor, and adventure enthusiast in Austin, Texas. Her days are filled with coffee, paint, and daydreams. She believes mistakes are simply a beautiful opportunity for growth and that our own life experiences serves as our most valuable teachers. Zuzu graduated from Wanderlust’s first Teacher Training Program and is on a mission to continually expand her consciousness while following her journey down the yogic path. She is currently experimenting with the concept of a floating yoga studio and mixed medium practice.