To prop or not to prop? Is not the question.

by Samantha Lloyd

  • The questions are:Do you know why you’re using them?
  • How to use them?
  • Are they helping you to find correct action in the pose?
  • Are they enhancing your experience or presenting a different perspective so that you can recreate the action when the prop isn’t there? (If you break your leg, you throw the crutches away when you don’t need them anymore, right?)
  • Do they help to deepen your experience of the pose by allowing you to stay longer?

Why you’re doing the pose determines whether or not you use props, and then how you use them. In general we use props in a vigorous practice to help explore the action of the pose, and in a quieter practice to support the release into relaxation.

The props also offer us the opportunity to explore our mental biases and habits. Beyond consciously-correct use of props, attachments to the right-ness or wrong-ness of them can become a trap. If we’re not careful we can let ourselves be distracted by the size or composition of the brick, whether the blanket is Indian or Mexican – a synthetic strap!?!?, we can get into the habit of using a height of brick that no longer serves us, or think that if we’re not using props in our practice it’s somehow lacking. I’ve encountered many judgements about props that take away from the practice itself which leads me back to the original question…

To practice or not to practice?

That’s the question we all know the answer to – with or without the props.

Samantha Lloyd in parivrtta trikonasana using a chair for support.



About the Author

Samantha (or Sam) Lloyd is an Iyengar Yoga teacher with almost 20 years of experience. She embraces the practicality of the Iyengar system, holds dear the ethical codes of the Yamasa & Niyamas and loves to play in the mountains as much as she does on her mat. You can follow her on Instagram or Facebook.