Blocks. Straps. Blankets. Bolsters. Wedges. Sandbags. Eye pillows.

There are a ton of options for yoga props out there, but do you actually need them? What do they even do? Well, kind of a lot. Yoga props can help you feel more stable in poses you’re working up to, give you more flexibility in your practice, and help you get deeper into stretches.

If you’ve been doing yoga for a while, or ever been to a restorative class, you probably already know what the props are usually used for, so now it’s time to take a closer look at some less common ways to use your yoga props for a better practice and more fun.

Yoga Strap

Traditionally used for deeper stretches and elongating your reach, you can also use your yoga strap to get a better stretch by holding out out above your head, wider than shoulder width, and bringing it back behind your head, keeping the strap nice and straight. Or hook it under the sole of your foot and hold it on either side of your leg as you stretch out in Warrior III to get a more stable approach.

Bonus points for using it as a makeshift dog leash.

Yoga Blocks

Use your yoga block to get a leg up on your Crow, but it also works as a great place to prop up your cell phone for those yoga pose selfies. Or set them up on their long sides, kneel in front of them, put an elbow on each block, and lean forward to get a nice deep shoulder stretch.

Bonus points for using them to add layers to your Funko Pop! display shelf.

Bolsters

Great for extending your stretches, stabilizing your long restorative holds, and making child’s pose easier on your knees. Sure. But also great for nap time, kid cuddles, and dog beds.

Bonus points for using your bolster to decorate your guest room bed when it’s not in use.

There’s also another great use for yoga props that is overlooked by too many yoga teachers and practitioners. Props can be the perfect way to help beginning students and plus-sized students find their own path into yoga and can be helpful for students no matter how long they’ve been on the mat. Props are useful, fun, and absolutely do NOT represent a weakness. By knowing how to use them, and getting creative in new ways to use them, you create a more welcoming practice for yourself and, if you’re a teacher, for all of your students.

Don’t have your own props and don’t want to spend your precious cash on them?

Make your own! Use food cans or large books to replace yoga blocks. Belts, scarves, or ties can be awesome straps. Replace blankets and bolsters will pillows, rolled towels, or your kid’s favorite giant stuffed animal.

So show those yoga props some love, and get creative in how you’re using them.

Got another creative way you use your props? Tell us all about it!

Feature Image via Bad Yogi community member Emily Vardy