Beginning Yoga: Teachers and Props

There is no competition in yoga (although there are, believe it or not, yoga competitions). Even competing against yourself is discouraged — albeit very tempting at times. It’s not about doing more or doing it faster. That kind of thinking is so… twentieth century. Yoga is a voyage of discovery. It’s one way to find out just how much you’re capable of. Think of it as a course in yourself: You 101.

When you’re just beginning, the first step is choosing which style fits you. Think about your personal preference—do you need a fast-paced practice, a restorative practice, or something in-between? Trying various classes is the best way to find out. Also, ask teachers for advice and guidance.  Also, consider the possibility that what you are initially drawn to, may not be the practice you ultimately pursue.

It’s not only the type of yoga you’ll want to explore; also get to know the style of the teacher. Even within the same branch of yoga, you’ll find variations in technique or focus. Some teachers stress posture. Others stress your breath. Finding a teacher you resonate with will help you stick with your yoga practice.

Yoga grows with you. It doesn’t matter if you are a complete beginner or an experienced yogi—regardless of your level, you still practice the same fundamental postures. Over time, however, the poses become more familiar and less difficult. Your experience changes as you refine your posture, breathwork, and conscious attention.

Getting to that point can be a challenge, but don’t hesitate to seek out the help and support you need. Your teacher can guide you, but you can also get assistance from yoga props. Use them to help you learn the poses or stretch your experience. As you work through difficult poses, you might find that a simple prop can make all the difference.

The Three Minute Egg is a yoga prop designed for the human body. Instead of square sides, it has tapered ends and rounded edges. You can get regular Namast-Eggs (which are supportive, yet forgiving) or Hard-Boiled Eggs, which are denser, firmer, and slightly heavier, because sometimes you will need that extra support (in balancing and weight-bearing postures, for example).

Slip the Eggs in place to help you attain or maintain a pose. Use them to help you correct your alignment when you just can’t manage it on your own. It’s all right: the purpose of yoga isn’t to stress yourself into a pose; it’s to learn how to find comfort in a pose. Eggs can help.

Even experienced yogis can benefit from yoga props. They can help extend a pose or add pressure to the right places. The point is that it’s OK to use a yoga prop in your practice. You should get help when you need it. But don’t just take our word for it. There are many articles written about yoga props. You can find more specific information about the use of yoga props, and I’m sure we’ll write more about them in this blog. This post is merely an introduction to the benefits of using a prop in your yoga practice.

I’d like to thank Sonia Doubell, Yoga the secret blissUniversal Force Healing CenterTinnitus SA, and Truth Yoga World for some of this information.

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