Yoga props... yes or no? The thing about props is they're often seen as being for beginners. Perhaps for less flexible people, perhaps for people with injuries. But what if we look closer and see how they can be used in many practices and for the most experienced of yogis.
Sitting up on a block is, I feel, seen to suggest your hips are closed, legs are tight, knees sit high away from the floor if you sit cross-legged. And I notice when I'm teaching if I suggest to a student they use a block, there's a reluctance, perhaps they don't want to be 'seen' to be a beginner, be different from everyone else in the class. However, when I take a block and suggest everyone does, so that the knees can be lower than the hips, everyone does it willingly. And I see immediately, everyone can sit taller, the spine longer, more space..... Perception is such a huge part of our experience of props.
Using a belt in our seated forward bends can fundamentally change our experience of the pose. There are so many options of forward bends, coming down with a straight or rounded back not least. And to place a belt around the middle of the soles of the feet and really hinge from the hips and fold with a straight back is a very different movement in the body to rounding the back down toward the legs... And even for experienced yogis, what we are doing is working different muscles, opening in different places, exploring other possibilities in our bodies, shaking up our practice and moving different energies.. Using a belt in Dhanurasana helps me to keep the pressure out of my knees and allows me to open my shoulders and armpits...
And then there's the wonder of blankets and bolsters. Lower back pain? Use a bolster under the knees in Savasana. Hip pain? Fold a blanket while in poses lying on your back, and prop the hip/thigh/relevant part of the body. But how about when it can help us open? A bolster to open the back? A folded blanket to support one side while the other opens?
It's worth looking at isn't it, worth not being proud or judgemental about props. Ahimsa. Yoga. No harm. No judgement. Just experience.