My personal yoga practice has taken me on quite a journey. At first it was all about the flows and the sweat and the power, and slowly it has evolved to include a lot of yin and deepening work. In my opinion, neither one is "better" than the other, rather, they complement each other. The deep yin work really opens up the joints and promotes flexibility, which will come in handy when I'm going into scorpion pose or some other strength-based pose. It's all about balance for me.
With that in mind, I wanted to take a moment to shift the focus to props we can use. I've discussed how to use a yoga bolster, a yoga strap and yoga blocks, and today I want to share a few ways we can use a yoga blanket in the practice.
I use a Mexican blanket from Hugger Mugger and I love it. It's thick, and sort of stiff when folded or rolled up, which is really important so it can offer support. It's heavy, which makes it nice for savasana, and really durable.
Using a yoga blanket for child's pose
For child's pose, I like rolling the blanket up and putting it between the legs so the hips can rest on it. This is a great way for beginners to modify child's, and for people of all levels practicing yin yoga. The goal here is to soften, let the body be really heavy, and focus on the exhale as the body melts further into the mat. Breathe here between three and five minutes.
Using a yoga blanket for shoulder stand
While not a yin pose, this is still a pose I wanted to share because the blanket often allows people more comfort so they can stand in the pose longer and reap the benefits of inverting for a few minutes rather than a few breaths. The way our spines are created, there's a little bit of a curvature in the neck area, and sometimes it presses into the mat and can cause discomfort. Using the blanket underneath this area while in shoulder stand offers a little cushion so it doesn't hurt and the neck is protected. The trick is to fold the blanket and place it so the blanket starts directly underneath the shoulders and not underneath the neck. You want your neck and head to "hang off" the blanket, if that makes more sense. Breathe here anywhere from one to five minutes.
Using a yoga blanket for the chest
Bolsters can be pretty expensive, so using a firm yoga blanket in its place is a bit more budget friendly and still gets the job done safely. To open up the chest, roll the blanket tightly and place it under the back, halfway up the back. Bring it in line with the spine, and slowly lower down. Arms can be by the sides of the body, or out to the side with palms facing up for a deeper stretch in the chest. Breathe deeply here, focusing on the exhales for three to eight minutes.
Let's talk What props do you love to use in your practice? Any props you're confused on how to use?
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