Yoga Props: The 4 Most Common Yoga Props and Why We Use Them

You’re arriving at your first yoga class and you’re excited and maybe just a bit nervous. You’ve heard so much about how yoga has helped others in your life, and you’re looking forward to trying it for yourself. You opted not to buy a mat; you’re not sure you’ll stick with yoga, so it’s not worth the commitment yet. You called ahead and learned the yoga studio has mats available to use; they even told you where they could be found upon your arrival. You head over to grab a mat, and notice there is an array of other yoga props available for use; blocks, bolsters, straps, and even some weighted sandbags.

In many yoga classes, you may see more equipment than just a mat. The use of props such as blocks and bolsters is common in many styles of yoga, and they can be extremely helpful tools to help us reach and be comfortable in poses we might not otherwise be. But what are all those things for, and how can they help us in our yoga practice? Does using a prop mean we’re not good at yoga, or that we’re not flexible or strong? In this post, we’ll learn about some of the most commonly used yoga props; what they are, and how they help deepen our practice, and we’ll break the stigma that the use of props means our practice is somehow less than excellent.

What is The Point of Yoga Props?

BKS Iyengar, a renowned Indian yoga teacher, invented yoga props to help his students achieve optimal alignment and deepen their practice. He noticed that some students with physical limitations or injuries struggled to hold traditional yoga poses correctly, which affected their progress. To address this issue, he began experimenting with different yoga props, such as blocks, straps, and blankets, to provide additional support and enable his students to hold poses safely and comfortably. Over time, he refined his use of these props, creating specific techniques and sequences that became known as Iyengar yoga. Today, yoga props are widely used in many styles of yoga, and they continue to play an essential role in helping practitioners of all levels to achieve their goals.

There is a common misconception that using props in yoga indicates a lack of skill or ability, or that it is a sign that you need help. This couldn't be further from the truth. Props are actually an incredibly helpful tool for any yogi, regardless of their level of experience. They can help you achieve proper alignment, support your body in poses, and even deepen your practice.

Yoga props are used to “bring the floor to you,” meaning that they help practitioners achieve the benefits of a pose even if their body does not naturally or comfortably reach the floor. For example, if you’re trying to touch your toes in a forward fold, but can’t quite reach them, a block can be placed under your hands to bring the floor up towards you, making the pose more accessible. Similarly, if you’re working on a seated forward fold but are struggling to maintain a straight spine, a bolster or folded blanket can be placed under your hips to elevate your seat, allowing you to fold forward with a straight spine.

Props support us in our practice by helping us achieve correct alignment, deepen stretches and poses, and prevent injury. They also allow practitioners to stay in poses longer, which can help improve flexibility and build strength over time. Props are a great way to modify and adapt poses to meet your individual needs, making yoga accessible and beneficial for everyone, regardless of their level of flexibility or experience.

Mistaking the Use of Yoga Props for Weakness

There is a common misconception that using props in yoga indicates a lack of skill or ability, or that it is a sign that you need help. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Props are actually an incredibly helpful tool for any yogi, regardless of their level of experience. They can help you achieve proper alignment, support your body in poses, and even deepen your practice. In reality, using yoga props demonstrates a willingness to listen to your body and make modifications that suit your unique needs. It is a sign of intelligence and self-care, not weakness. So, don’t be afraid to incorporate props into your yoga practice – they may just help you take your practice to the next level.

4 Most Common Yoga Props


Blocks are one of the most commonly used props in yoga and they can be incredibly helpful in a variety of poses. They are often used to bring the ground closer to you, helping to make poses more accessible by providing support and stability. For example, in a standing forward fold, blocks can be placed on the ground in front of you to bring the floor closer to your hands, allowing you to maintain proper alignment and lengthen your spine. They can also be used to deepen a pose by providing additional height or support. In a supported bridge pose, for example, a block can be placed under the sacrum to lift the hips higher and increase the stretch in the chest and shoulders.


Bolsters are another popular prop used in yoga, particularly in restorative and yin styles of yoga. They are essentially large, firm pillows that can be used to support the body in various poses. Bolsters can be placed under the knees in savasana, or under the hips in seated forward folds, to help release tension and promote relaxation. They can also be helpful for yin poses, where you hold poses for an extended period of time, as they provide support and comfort, allowing you to stay in the pose for longer. Additionally, bolsters can be used for gentle backbends, providing a soft surface to rest your spine on and allowing you to open up your chest and shoulders.


Straps are a versatile and useful prop in yoga that can be helpful for both beginners and experienced yogis alike. They can be used to extend your reach and deepen your stretches, particularly in poses that require a lot of flexibility, such as seated forward folds or bound angle pose.

The strap can be used to hold your feet or legs, allowing you to focus on proper alignment and form, and gradually work towards a deeper stretch over time. Straps can be used to help support your body in challenging poses, such as handstands or shoulder stands, by providing a secure grip and allowing you to maintain control.

In restorative yoga, straps are often used to support gentle forward folds and seated poses, helping to release tension in the hips and lower back. They can also be used in restorative backbends to help open the chest and shoulders.


You might not think of a blanket as a prop, but they can be very useful in all types of yoga classes. It can sometimes get chilly in a longer savasana or during a Yin class, so it’s helpful to have a blanket or two nearby to make sure you can be as comfortable as possible. When you’re feeling cold, it can be difficult to relax and fully let go. Being comfortable and warm can enhance your ability to unwind. To support the natural curvature of your neck during a pose, you can opt to use a rolled-up blanket. In Restorative yoga, blankets are frequently employed to give support to your knees, neck, or arms, providing a gentle surface on which to rest for extended periods of time.

Amazing Things You Can Do with Yoga Props

Supported Bridge Pose

Bridge pose is a heart and chest opener that works on the Solar Plexus chakra in the middle abdomen. The traditional version of this pose involves lying on your back with feet planted on the mat, lifting the hips, and using the glute muscles to hold the hips in the air. BKS Iyengar recognized that it is not natural for all bodies to be able to do this, especially if they are just getting started with yoga. Inserting a block under the base of the spine on the medium or low setting allows the practitioner to rest against the block and use it for support. Even yogis who can hold a traditional bridge benefit from how the use of a block changes this pose and allows for a letting go in the hips and Root chakra area.

Restorative Heart Opener

This particular pose is commonly practiced in Restorative Yoga, and it uses various yoga props to help you release tension in areas of body where it’s often hard to let go. Two blocks at different settings make up the base for the bolster, which the practitioner rests their back against. You can also use blankets to support your neck and head, and to support your knees if you choose to cross your legs or keep them straight out in front. This pose is usually held for several minutes, allowing you to experience a calming and reflective state. If you’re interested in learning more about Restorative Yoga, you can read more about it in our post here!

At Inspiring Actions, we offer a range of classes that incorporate the use of props, including Iyengar-inspired classes that focus on alignment and precision. Check out our full schedule, as well as our upcoming events! Our experienced teachers are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals and find greater balance, strength, and flexibility on and off the mat. We welcome yogis of all experience levels at our studios in Hudson and River Falls, Wisconsin, and many of our classes are offered online! So why not join us for a class and experience the transformative power of yoga for yourself? We look forward to welcoming you to our community!


SIgn up for our Newsletter

Get inspiring content to keep you going. 

Sign Up for Our Email Newsletter

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Claim Your Get Started Now: 1 Month Unlimited Yoga for $59
Yoga management software