Yoga props have become increasingly popular both in group classes as well as in home studios due to their ability to not only make basic yoga asana more accessible, but also increase and support advanced postures.
A yoga blanket is one of the most accessible and versatile yoga props out there, making perfect for any yoga practitioner.
In this article we will share with you:
- What is a Yoga Blanket
- Benefits of Using a Yoga Blanket
- Ways to Use a Yoga Blanket
- Poses to try with a Yoga Blanket
Let’s dive right in!
What is a Yoga Blanket
One of the best things about a yoga blanket is that it does not need to be any blanket in particular.
You may have observed that at many yoga studios they have these Mexican blankets in their prop shelf.
Perhaps there is a particular blanket that is considered the best yoga blanket, but people choose them mostly due to their large size, inviting texture, thickness, and why not mention it, beautiful colors, designs, and patterns.
Keep in mind however, that you can use any blanket that you already have, even a towel if that’s what you have handy.
What matters about whatever blanket you choose, is like many things in yoga, personal, but here are a few things to consider before making your purchase:
- Make sure it’s big enough so you can fold it in a variety of ways.
- Pay attention to the materials, there are synthetic, blend, natural, as well as eco friendly brands.
4 Benefits of Using a Yoga Blanket
Using yoga prop can greatly improve and support your yoga practice, and there are many to choose from; yoga blocks, straps, bolsters, mats, wheels, etc.
One of the greatest advantages of yoga blankets over some of the other props is that they are very affordable – if you even choose to purchase one – they are easy to store and carry, and they can be used in many ways.Here are some of the main benefits of using a blanket in your practice:
1. Cushions and supports you in certain poses.
2. Provides warmth and coziness.
3. Bridges the gap when your flexibility is limited, putting your joints at ease.
4. Can be used to replace other bulkier props like bolsters and blocks.
12 Poses to try with a Yoga Blanket
If you’ve never used a yoga blanket before, keep in mind that you can get as creative with it as you would like, there are no limits on how to use it, notice where you need support, and explore.
The intention is to find ways to make the yoga practice more accessible to your specific anatomy and needs, and using this prop is a way to do just that.
Check out a few of our favorite yoga poses to explore with your yoga blanket:
1# Balasana (child’s pose)
If you’re in need of a bit of relaxation and grounding, child’s pose is a great shape to try.
Placing the blanket either rolled up or folded between the heels and the glutes to ease the sensation in your knees and quadriceps when practicing Balasana.
2# Bharmasana (Table Top)
In this posture where the body is in an all-fours position, we often start moving between cat and cow pose, or move the spine in barrel rolls, shifting the body weight around.
For those with protruding or sensitive knees, that may feel very uncomfortable or even painful.
Try folding your blanket underneath your knees, and see if it makes the shape more comfortable.
3# Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Let’s first note that your heels don’t need to reach the floor for downward dog, and they do not for many practitioners.
However, if your hamstrings or lower back feel a little tight, hence your heels lift off the floor in downward facing dog, try placing your folded blanket underneath the heels so you can ground them down and extend your spine a bit more in the shape.
4# Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
Just like in tabletop position, the back knee in low lunge posture can take on a lot of pressure and become uncomfortable, even painful.
Fold your blanket as thinly as you’d like and place your knee on top of the soft surface instead of letting it hit the hard floor or your yoga mat.
5# Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)
Hanumanasana requires a great deal of flexibility, strength, and also patience.
For some, the use of a bolster or block is best since the hip may be further from the ground, but a blanket can be of benefit as well.
For those who are close to the ground but there is still a little gap under the front glute when practicing this asana, try placing your yoga blanket there, as folded as you need or perhaps rolled up, so you can find more comfort and release tension from the hamstring.
6# Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose)
When practicing pigeon pose, same as in Hanumanasana, you may find that your front sit bone is floating a few centimeters off the floor, which often creates muscle tension and tightness.
Depending on the space available in your lower back, groins and hips, you may find that you’re almost falling to one side.
Slide your blanket underneath your front glute or roll it up, inviting your hips to square to the front and observe the difference.
7# Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
If you’d like a bit of support when lifting into this back bend or want a gentle massage for your abdominal organs while you take cobra in a more restorative way, roll up your yoga blanket and slide it right above your hips as you lift into the posture, and then let yourself relax.
8# Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold)
When it comes to seated postures, for many of us, the lower back has a tendency to round, as if we were falling back, mostly due to tightness.
To avoid this, before coming into your seated forward fold, consider folding your blanket a few times and sitting on the front edge as you extend your legs forward, keeping your knees soft.
If you have more blankets, you can pile them up on top of your legs until they are high enough that you can drape your torso and your arms over it.
9# Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
For a creative way to use your yoga blanket in this asana, fold it so it becomes as long as you can, like a scarf.
Sit down and bring the soles of your feet together as your knees widen to the sides.
Fold your blanket in a U-shape (in half) and bring it around your ankles as you lay down.
Bring the remainder of the fabric behind each hip, or under your glutes, creating a bit of tension so it supports your outer thighs.
Let your arms rest by your sides or place your hands on your abdomen.
Breathe and relax.
10# Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
To bring more support to your neck and shoulders in inversions like shoulder stand as well as plow pose try folding the blanket thinly under your shoulders before entering the posture so that the pressure on the neck is reduced.
11# Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Twist)
In supine spinal twists, there is often the misunderstanding that the knees should be perfectly stacked and reach all the way across the body, to the ground.
The reality is however, that not everyone will want to bring their knees all the way to the ground, or have access to such range of motion, since that may be too intense of a spinal twist or feel excessive for someone’s hips.
For a more mellow spinal twist, you can use blankets here in the same way blocks are commonly used.
Before you enter the supine twist try bringing your blanket either between your knees, or fold up two or three blankets next to you on the ground as you allow your knees to rest there.
12# Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Savasana is a pose designed to help us integrate the physical practice of yoga.
Being comfortable and supported here is paramount if we want to truly let the body relax, so get creative on how to use your blanket for ultimate relaxation.
There are a few ways in which you can use your blanket for Savasana:
- To cover yourself up, making you warm and cozy.
- To roll up under your neck and release tension.
- To roll up underneath your softly-bent knees, alleviating any extra sensation you might feel in your lower back.
A yoga blanket is an accessible, affordable, and functional yoga prop that can be easily substituted with a towel, and can be a great support for your practice.
You can use a yoga blanket to both support and enhance the asana, and we encourage you to get as creative with it as you want, whether you’re a yoga student or a teacher.
If you’d like to check out other props to incorporate in your practice, click here.