Try to remember back to the day when you first attempted Urdhva Dhanurasana or Wheel Pose. I remember that my shoulders would barely lift off the ground and my elbows were just not willing to straighten. When I finally broke through to my first wheel that actually felt good. I wanted to squeal with excitement! In hindsight, I wish I had applied yoga props to my practice when I was learning to open up the back and heart in backbends. A full wheel requires open shoulders, armpits, heart and spine. Laying on a block and allowing the heart to open slowly, even just for a few minutes a day, will make your transition into a backbend 100 times better and safer!

Below are some props that we’ve curated to assist with opening up the back for a healthy and regular backbend practice. Backbends, we’re coming for you!

Infinity Yoga Strap

WHY CHOOSE THIS PRODUCT?

The Infinity Strap comes in Original (cotton) and Stretch (elastic). The infinity shaped strap shows you all the infinite ways you can approach asanas using the strap to deepen and access postures that may have seemed impossible. I usually use this strap in my dancer’s pose or Natarajasana to connect the hands to the feet. The Infinity Strap is also great for stabilizing the arms in inversions such as Pinchamayurasana/Forearm Balance and Bakasana/Crow Pose.

Great quality

Great for opening the chest and hip flexors

Comes in many beautiful colors

Doesn’t lose its original shape

Very easy to use

Comes in three sizes

Sturdy

Yoga Design Lab Yoga Wheel

WHY CHOOSE THIS PRODUCT?

You can use the yoga wheel to stretch out the ribcage and make poses more accessible OR challenging! I love lining my spine on the surface of my wheel and staying there for 20 breaths. I do it every day between work breaks. Opening your heart releases more than just the body, it reenergizes me so that you can continue on with your day. Most yoga wheels cost around $65. Our wheel of choice is the Yoga Design Lab Yoga Wheel.

Beautiful

Great quality

Heavy enough to be stable but not difficult to maneuver

Nicely padded

Durable

OPTP Yoga Stretch Strap

WHY CHOOSE THIS PRODUCT?

Stop fiddling around with ordinary yoga straps and start using a yoga stretch strap. Yoga stretch straps have loops that you can use to adjust how deep you want your backbend or stretch to feel. No need to fumble with the metal fasteners and trying to find the perfect length of strap. These stretch straps allow you to simply move your hand down towards the next loop to deepen the stretch or bend. Our favorites yoga stretch straps are the OPTP Yoga Stretch Strap ($15.95) (comes with a booklet) and the Therapist’s Choice® Stretch Strap ($6.99).

Great quality

Good price

Durable

Lightweight

Great customer service

Perfect for yoga, stretching, and physical therapy

Several loops are conveniently spaced along the strap that can be used as hand or footholds

Some people find this strap good for light stretching and not standing stretching

URBNFit Exercise Ball

WHY CHOOSE THIS PRODUCT?

Stability balls double as a chair and are also great for people who have very tight backs. The stability ball is more forgiving than a yoga wheel and is a great place to start if the yoga wheel creates too deep of a backbend for you. Keep the ball inflated to use around the home or deflate it for travel or packing away. The stability balls range from $14.99-34.97. Our stability ball of choice is the URBNFit Exercise Ball.

Made of great materials

Great price

Comes in many beautiful colors

Air stays in longer compaired to other Stability balls even after heavy workouts

This ball doesn’t fully inflate on the first pumping-up. You have to let it rest for a day and then top it off

Hugger Mugger Standard Yoga Bolster

WHY CHOOSE THIS PRODUCT?

Bolsters are excellent for various types of yoga practices, especially yin and restorative. Use bolsters to gently approach a backbend. I love using a bolster under my sacrum with Viparita Kirani/Legs up the Wall Pose and Maysyasana/Fish Pose. To enhance your floor bow, place a bolster at the base of your belly for an added lift. Bolsters range from $45-100, so they are a more substantial investment, but definitely worth it if you’re a regular practitioner. Our bolster of choice is the Hugger Mugger bolster and it’s only $82.95!

comfortable

Good firmness and size

Durable

Comes in many beautiful colors

Has a carrying handle

Might be too thick for some people’s liking

YOGABODY Yoga Trapeze Pro

WHY CHOOSE THIS PRODUCT?

The first time I ever tried a suspension yoga class, I felt silly and awkward going into the practice. It required me to become aware of my body’s prior perception while suspended in air and the under-development in my upper body strength. By the end of the session, I felt open and free. Hanging in a backbend without any pressure on my feet and hands felt exhilarating. Contorting and transitioning between asanas in air was an experience that I look forward to revisiting. If you have space and room in your abode, definitely invest in one of these to enhance your practice. It also doubles as a hammock for when you want to lay back and get lost in a novel. Our yoga Trapeze of choice: YOGABODY Yoga Trapeze Pro ($119).

Helps with back pain

Sturdy

Machine washable

Easy to put away, travel with, and put up again

Comes only in purple