The strictest yogis are staunchly anti-prop — that’s how it would have been done in ancient India, they say. I, on the other hand, am firmly pro-prop even for a general yoga class. And in my opinion, props are absolutely vital for prenatal yoga. I’m assuming you already have a yoga mat, but here’s what else you might need.
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Blocks for Prenatal Yoga
Primarily in prenatal yoga, blocks perform the magical task on making your arms longer. This is great when you’re performing, for example, a low lunge and you need to reach the ground past your growing bump. This is their most common use, and they’re amazing for that.
However, they also serve several other functions:
- By bracing a block between the legs, you can help create stability in poses like chair pose and plank
- Provide support in restorative poses like restorative bridge pose, svasana, or restorative fish
- Act as furniture for extended sitting in a squat or kneeling
- Generally act as a prop: Something you can hold, move, push into, or stand on in any number of other poses or movements.
I prefer blocks that are relatively firm, but not hard. I find cork blocks too heavy and hard to use comfortably, whereas some blocks feel too soft or flimsy to provide stability. These Gaiam blocks are my favorite (you need two).
Yoga Blanket for Prenatal Yoga
A yoga blanket is another absolute must-have for prenatal yoga. A yoga blanket is firmer and heavier than a regular blanket, and it also “holds a fold” well (meaning that when you sit on it or move it around, it doesn’t slide unfolded). If you don’t have a yoga blanket, a beach towel is the best alternative.
In prenatal yoga we use yoga blankets to sit on, to support the legs and hips in stretches, and to soften, cushion, or thicken other props in a slew of other poses. This is a decent and well-priced option that I use here in the studio. (Wash before using or you’ll be covered in lint!)
Yoga Strap for Prenatal Yoga
A strap is really nice to have but not totally required. In prenatal yoga we use it to make it easier to reach, say, the feet (which are suddenly so much further away when pregnant).
While you can use a belt or scarf as a strap, sometimes we rely on the D-ring buckles to create a loop and hold the body in poses like supta baddha konasana. This is the strap I like (8 feet is a good length).
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Bolster or Pillow for Prenatal Yoga
An extra pillow or yoga bolster is almost imperative for prenatal yoga, but if you have a few extra blankets, you may be able to do without. A bolster is a larger investment, so if you don’t wish to purchase one, you can also use a pillow (or maybe a few pillows or a couch cushion) instead. The thicker and firmer, the better, if you’re substituting a pillow.
Optional Prenatal Yoga Props
There are a few other tools I use here in the studio or when training one-on-one with prenatal clients.
- Tennis balls or massage balls
- Loop or long, flat resistance band (a set is nice to have but not necessary if you already own one).
- Light weights: A set of 3 lbs and 5lbs is great
With just those props, you can do all of the workouts in my online studio and anything else I might want to teach you!