The props used in Yoga include a whole range of objects, such as pillows, blankets, towels, ropes, blocks, belts, shawls, straps, bands, crutches, bolsters, knee pads, wheels, balls, and mats, to name some of the most popular appliances.
In Yoga, the use of props is rather common, but each type of prop can serve different purposes. For instance, props can assist in performing a Yoga pose (Asana) correctly, they may be used for ease and comfort, as a help to relax or — by contrast — strengthen muscles, to avoid injuries, to avoid slipping, to go deeper or stay longer into certain poses or stretches, or support people who suffer from movement restrictions.
Although props in Yoga were already used in ancient times, it’s notably B. K. S. Iyengar (1918 – 2014) who, in recent times, introduced the use of a wide variety of props in the Yoga practice. Apart from the already mentioned supports, Iyengar also used chairs, bricks, and sand bags to perform poses correctly.
Today, a broad range of Yoga props are used in almost all types of Yoga, for various purposes, but quite specifically within meditation, stretching, therapeutic Yoga, Yin Yoga, and Restorative Yoga practices.