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Giving "Props" To Yoga

Posted on May 26, 2016 at 7:20 AM

By Jessica Brown


One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that props are considered using a "crutch," and that crutches are a bad thing. No one knows better than children that this is further from the truth.


Let me take a few steps back. A year ago I broke my knee. Before I knew it, I was relying on crutches to get from point A to B. As a mom this was even more difficult because I had to #1 - accept my situation, #2 - accept help from others and #3 - make the best out of the next two months laid up on the couch.


Yoga played an instrumental part in getting through this time because while I knew how forgetful the body can be, I also knew that if I focused on "being in that moment" the rest would fall into place. As it did.


The hardest thing to adapt to was being on crutches. Which makes sense because the name alone already sets off a negative energy. Which is why my AMAZING caregiver re named them my "walking sticks" because in reality that's all they really were.


My children learned very quickly that taking them away from me was the easiest way to get candy because without them I could not go very far. That's not exactly how props work for children in their yoga journey, but I give them "props" for figuring that out.


In yoga, props are essentially the "walking sticks" that get us from point A to B as we develop our practice. They help us visualize what our body is doing and what needs to be done to get the final result. Children especially are visual learners since they communicate with the world through their play and imagination.


To encourage proper breathing exercises, I often use props so the children can "see" their breath and where it is coming from.

One of my favorite props is the Hoberman Sphere


Not only is it fun to play with, but also it can easily simulate their little bellies expanding and contracting. Often I hold it up to my belly to demonstrate and they think its SO FUNNY that I have a belly outside my belly!


For children who are a bit older, I like to use bubbles to teach them how to control their breath. Making bubbles smaller and bigger is a developmental milestone for them. To make it more challenging, we add in a balancing pose like tree pose or airplane pose. They get very wobbly so we always make sure a grown up is around to assist. This allows them to visualize what it means to control a breath and use that to work on a challenge whether that be in a yoga pose or simply calming themselves down after a tantrum.


Literally anything in your home can be used as a prop. In the picture below my daughter used a Wisconsin cheese hat in "mouse pose" to support her head. She was able to stay in the pose much longer and of course had fun doing it.


So today I am giving props to using props, as well as never to see asking for help as a "crutch". Asking for help allowed me to heal and ultimately how Topsy Turvy Yogi was born (another blog for another day!)


At Topsy Turvy yogi we see props as walking sticks towards positive development!

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