Props are such a wonderful way to mix up your yoga practice. If you are feeling stale in your practice, adding a set of blocks to your sequence is a great way to get out of your comfort zone.
These variations are a great way to get curious about the poses and your practice.
1. Table Top – Set up as you normally would on hands (under shoulders) and knees (under hips) but place a set of blocks under the hands. Move through cat cow – inhaling to drop the belly, lift the gaze and curl the tailbone up. Exhale to round and contract the spine. Push into the fingers to take the weight out of the wrists. Wrap the fingers around the block in the right hand and lift it up so the bicep is along the right ear. Pushing into the left hand. Strengthening the right obliques. Set the hand down and then repeat on the other side.
2. Downward Dog – Slide the blocks ahead a bit, then tuck the toes and lift the hips into downward dog. You may notice that the extra lift in the hands helps the heels press down. Extend the right leg up to the sky, bend the knee and open up the hip.
3. Tree Plank – From where you were, straighten the leg and then bring the right foot to rest on the left thigh. Like you would in a tree pose. Shift forward to plank. Then roll to the outside of the left foot. Push into the left hand and reach the right hand up.
4. Pyramid Variation – After a few breaths, bring the right hand down again. Step the right foot to the top of the mat. Spin onto the ball of the left foot, with left knee off the mat. Push into the right foot to straight the leg any amount. Coming to a wide variation of the pose. Adjust the block height under the hands as needed.
Repeat 2-4 on the other side.
5. Standing – Come to stand at the top of your mat in mountain pose with the blocks in the hands. Place one block between the upper inner thighs in the thinnest way. Place the other block between the palms in the widest form. Extend the arms up overhead. Squeeze the blocks as you lean into side bend, pressing hips to right and hands to left. And vice versa. Return to center. Bend into the knee and sink the hips into chair pose. Lower hands as you read them over to the left in a twist, letting the gaze follow. Back through center and then to the other side. Finally, bring the hands to the heart.
6. Boat Sequence – Lower from here all the way down to a seat. Lifting the feet up. Place the block that is in the hands in between the feet. Leaving the other between the thighs. Reach the hands up as you press the legs together to hold the blocks. After a couple breaths, extend out as you lower down to a low boat. Hovering just off the mat for a couple breaths. Then lift back up if you can and remove the blocks.
7.Supported Fish – Set the blocks up behind you. One will be lengthwise on the middle height between the shoulder blades. The other horizontal to support the back of the head, also on the middle height. Lower down onto the blocks. Extend the legs out, or take a butterfly shape with soles together and knees out. Maybe reaching the arms overhead or opening them out to the sides. While holding here for a moment, scan the body and take the time to notice the effects of the practice.
These 7 poses come from a 30 minute practice I shared on YouTube and the Yoga with Kassandra app.