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By: V Capaldi I am someone who for most of her adult life has probably averaged more than 3 days a week working out. My mental and physical body require it and I would say I am addicted. These workouts have evolved, but one thing has always remained: my love of props. Using props during a workout & life offers a richer, deeper experience in many ways.

For some reason the mental conversation most of have regarding props are centered around defeat or lack of ability. I find the opposite to be true and believe my growing ability to thrive in the face of MS due to my willingness to use props in my life both physically & mentally.

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A great example of the joy of using a prop during my workout is triangle pose in yoga. This pose is a huge necessary in my "Bag of Tricks" due to gait issues resulting from MS. However 9 out of 10 times the best outcome my body receives from triangle pose happens when assisted into the pose with a block. This pose incorporates so many different yet important variables that using a block is the best way to gain the maximum benefit of the pose. The experience of this pose is night and day without a block for my body.

Sure I can touch the ground and offer a beautiful triangle pose on command with no block needed.  This however is not the goal just getting into the pose. The goal is to be one with the pose.

Allowing for the complete experience often will land most of us in my favorite place: "Propville"

I literally have a box full of fun props for movement & life.  Each day before my morning workout I lay the choices of the day on the floor next to my yoga mat. This way once I am on the mat whatever I need is accessible.

TOP 7 PICKS:

  • I am Wonderfully Made:  My yoga mat is a prop in itself. I do all workouts starting and ending on my mat. This is a prop that reminds me why I am doing this and to take time to allow the workout to be felt and appreciated.  A huge step #1 on "Propville"
  • Necks are Nice:  Another great tool is something under my neck for whenever I lay down. Many times I am in yoga watching row after row of folks hyper-extending their neck when laying down. I have a few options  beyond rolling my towel.  Almost every class someone asks me about my props which leads me to believe there is a need. Neck rolls are nice.
  • Save the Knees:  Hello folks stop acting like kneeling is not a challenge.  If you have knee pain please put something under them.  Save the knees & the bees (I digress). I have a few tricks to share if you do not want to buy a support like I use.  I sometimes fold my yoga mat double or my towel to support my sore knees.  Both are accessible & super easy to incorporate offering maximum benefits.
  • Cork Block:  This thing is hard as hell and I am in love, love, love. OMG!  That is why I love it because there is no doubt when using it that I feel sturdy. Having MS many times balance is an issue. Using a block that feels like a dead weight I love. Plus it most often is made of sustainable and recyclable material which is an added BAM.
  • Wonder Wall:  Imagine that! Using a wall for help during a work out. I actually have a workout wall in every room of my house. I know you are jealous. So often people come over and ask why certain walls have nothing on them (but marks from me being a badass) & when I tell them because they are my work out walls it definitely brings a pause.  Workout walls rule and are FREE.
  • Chairs Care:  The greatest invention behind the wheel maybe? Okay another blog post and I digress. Damn it.  Use the damn chair when you need it. I use it to put my feet up in meditation, balance when getting into certain yoga poses & to keep me stable when stretching. I need to be very careful due to a torn meniscus and support is my friend. Without the support of a chair my home care would be lacking effectiveness big time.
  • Band Babe:  I freaking love my bands. I use them all the time to assist in stretching, assist with clam pose and so much more. For a few dollars you can really do amazing strengthen training, stretching and so much more.

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The moral of the story is to engage in your own narrative regarding props in your workout & life.  Make sure your reasons are not based on cultural norms & societal pressures which I believe for most of us to be the case.

Look at a packed yoga class and when the instructor asks if you need props no one moves. Yet when class ends half the room now has props the teacher handed them because their experience would be better with them. Nothing else folks.

Don't be a workout douche and give your body what it needs.  Some loving support every once in a while to show it how much you care.

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We talk about consciousness across all things in an effort to up the volume of life and raise the roof on living. BAM!

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