If you’re curious about using props in your yoga practice, pregnancy is the perfect time to add them. Whether you’re trying to bring the ground closer to you or making savasana comfier, props can do so much for your prenatal yoga practice. Knowing the best prenatal yoga props can help you make the most out of your practice and prepare your body for labor and childbirth.
Keep reading to learn about the 7 best prenatal yoga props and how you can use them in your pregnancy yoga practice!
(The contents of this post do not constitute medical advice. This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read our disclaimer.)
Why Should I Use Props in Prenatal Yoga?
Prenatal yoga is a great way to stay active and healthy during pregnancy. It can help you maintain your flexibility, strength, and balance, as well as manage stress and anxiety. Prenatal yoga is considered one of the best ways to prepare your mind and body for labor and childbirth.
See also: 10 Powerful Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
One of the biggest mistakes that new yogis (and even experienced ones!) make is to think that using props makes them less physically capable.
This is a misunderstanding for a few reasons. First, it puts too much focus on the physical practice of yoga. I won’t go too far into this today, but yoga is about so much more than poses and physical ability. Yoga is a discipline that unites your mind, body, and spirit, and to focus only on the physical part limits the profound impact it could have on your life.
Second, there’s no “perfect” way to perform a yoga pose, so using props doesn’t reveal any shortcomings on the part of the yogi. Yoga props are tools you can use to find more ease in a pose – whether that’s through additional support, improved balance, a deeper stretch, or increased comfort.
I’m a yoga teacher, and I was so excited to explore new facets of the practice when I got pregnant. One of the things I love most about prenatal yoga is that the focus is on what your pregnant body can do. I don’t know about you, but much of the focus from other people during my pregnancy has been on what I can’t or shouldn’t do. Prenatal yoga classes have been refreshing because of the messages of strength and ability I have received during them.
Props help keep the focus on what your pregnant body is capable of by providing extra support and also keeping you safe!
7 Best Prenatal Yoga Props
These yoga props will serve you well and enhance your practice during pregnancy. As you read through the best prenatal yoga props, take note of the poses you can use them for!
Make sure to check in with your healthcare provider before starting a new physical activity to ensure that it is a safe choice for you.
A bolster is a long, cylindrical pillow. You can use it for support during seated and reclined poses.
This bolster is my favorite because it’s not too bulky, and the fabric is super soft. I find myself using it most often in child’s pose to bring the ground closer to my torso.
How to use a bolster in prenatal yoga:
- Deep breathing: Sit with your sitz bones on the bolster and your legs crossed in front of you when you practice deep breathing at the beginning or end of your yoga practice. This will allow you to sit tall and will create more space for your lungs to expand for deeper breathing, which is important as your baby takes up more space!
- Child’s pose: As your belly grows, it might become more difficult for your chest to reach the floor during child’s pose. I have liked placing my bolster under my chest and resting my forehead on it, which keeps my belly from feeling squished in this pose.
See also: 5 Best Prenatal Yoga Mats
Yoga blocks provide extra stability and support and can bring the ground closer to you in poses where you’re reaching toward the floor. You can also use blocks to build supports for savasana and restorative yoga poses, like the Queen’s Seat (see a description of how to build it below under “Reclined child’s pose”), which is constructed from two blocks and a bolster.
I really love these cork yoga blocks because they’re heavy-duty and provide lots of stability when I’m relying on them for support. If you’d like a little more cushion, these foam yoga blocks are a great option!
How to use blocks in prenatal yoga:
- Forward fold: Place your blocks on their highest setting about 6 inches in front of your feet. During forward fold, place your hands on top of the blocks rather than reaching for the floor, creating more space for your belly.
- Reclined child’s pose: Build the Queen’s Seat by placing a block on its highest setting in the middle of the back of your mat and another block on its medium setting about 6 inches in front of the other block. Rest your bolster on the blocks so it sits at an angle. Before laying down on your Queen’s Seat, test it for stability. For reclined child’s pose, place your back on the Queen’s Seat and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you. Let your knees fall out to the side. This supported reclined child’s pose is a great alternative to savasana on your back during the later months of pregnancy.
3. Peanut Ball
The peanut ball is made of the same material as an exercise ball but is shaped like a peanut – larger at each end with a dip in the middle – instead! Many people use the peanut ball during labor to assist in opening the pelvis. But you can start using it even earlier during your prenatal yoga practice to prepare for childbirth.
The size of peanut ball you need depends on your height. Follow these sizing guidelines to choose the right peanut ball for you:
- If you are under 5’3”, use a 40 cm peanut ball, like this one.
- If you are between 5’3” and 5’6”, choose a 50 cm peanut ball, like this one.
- If you are taller than 5’6”, you may want to try a 60 cm peanut ball, like this one.
How to use a peanut ball in prenatal yoga:
- Savasana: In the final resting pose, instead of lying on your back, lay on your side. Place the peanut ball between your thighs, bending your top knee. This allows your pelvis to open and gives your baby the opportunity to move into the optimal position for birth.
- Semi-reclining position: Either leaning on the wall or on Queen’s Seat (see “Reclined child’s pose” under the Blocks section above), place one of your legs over the peanut ball and the other leg next to it. Once you’re comfortable, another person can help you move the peanut ball further toward your hips. This position allows for dilation and lets your baby drop lower into your pelvis! Make sure to repeat it on both sides.
4. Eye Pillow
I’ve always been a fan of restorative yoga, but my appreciation has grown even greater during pregnancy. Using an eye pillow for restorative poses or savasana can help you relax and de-stress during your yoga practice. It can also help you block out light if you’re practicing in a bright room.
I offer this lavender-scented eye pillow to my students during savasana, and they are a crowd favorite!
5. Birth Ball
Birth balls are similar to exercise balls but have a few extra features for safety and comfort during pregnancy. They are a little bit larger than exercise balls and also have a non-slip surface to keep you safe when you’re expecting!
Birth balls are an amazing prop for prenatal yoga and can be used in both active and restorative poses.
How to use a birth ball in prenatal yoga:
- Seated cow/cat: Practicing seated cow/cat on a birth ball helps to relieve tension in your back and keeps you off of your knees and wrists in late pregnancy. Sitting tall on your birth ball with your feet wide, place your hands on top of your thighs. Breathe in, pressing your chest forward, arching your spine, and looking toward the ceiling for seated cow pose. Breathe out rounding your shoulders, dropping your head, and looking down toward your belly button for seated cat pose. Repeat this sequence as many times as feels good.
- Warrior II: This pose will open your hips and strengthen your lower body. Using a birth ball for Warrior II adds extra support so you can feel strong and safe performing it! Sit on the birth ball, taking your feet very wide. Turn your right foot toward the front of your mat, bending into your right knee. Turn your left foot parallel with the back of your mat, extending your left leg straight without locking your knee. Take your arms out to the sides at shoulder height with your palms facing down. Look out over your right hand, rising tall through your spine. Hold for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side.
6. Yoga Blanket
Yoga blankets tend to be heavier and firmer than other blankets. This allows them to be supportive and hold their shape so they don’t come unfolded while you’re using them!
People often use yoga blankets to add extra cushion to the ground or other props in certain poses. You can also fold a blanket and place it under your hips or legs during stretches.
Before pregnancy, I found placing a blanket under my knees during cow/cat cumbersome and unnecessary. But during my prenatal yoga practice, I’ve really appreciated the extra cushion a yoga blanket can provide for my more sensitive joints.
How to use a yoga blanket in prenatal yoga:
- Child’s pose and cow/cat: Place a folded yoga blanket across your mat where you’ll place your knees in tabletop pose. Enjoy the extra cushion beneath your knees in cow/cat, as well as when you sink into child’s pose. You may want to add a bolster to make child’s pose even comfier!
- One-legged forward bend: Sitting on the floor, extend your right leg out in front of you and bring your left foot to your right inner thigh, bending your knee. Place a folded blanket under your right hip or knee for added support before reaching toward your right foot and leaning into forward bend. You may want to loop a strap around your right foot to enhance this pose.
A yoga strap is a heavy-duty (often canvas) length of fabric with a D-ring attached. You can use a strap for stretching, especially when certain parts of your body get harder to reach (like, say, your feet). You can also make a loop with your strap by pulling the end through the D-ring and use it to hold your body in a pose.
How to use a strap in prenatal yoga:
- Seated forward bend: Sitting on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you, hold one end of your strap in each hand. Bring the middle of the strap over the arches of your feet. Gently pull the strap toward you while leaning forward, going only as far as feels comfortable for you.
Tips for Using Prenatal Yoga Props
Here are some additional tips for using props in prenatal yoga:
- Start with a few props and add more as needed.
- Use props to modify poses so that they are comfortable for you.
- Listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain.
- Have fun and enjoy your practice!
If you have any questions about using props in prenatal yoga, be sure to ask your instructor (if you’re taking in-person classes). They can help you choose the right props for your needs and show you how to use them safely and effectively.
I hope you feel inspired to add props to your prenatal yoga practice – and beyond! In the comments, tell me your favorite yoga prop to use during pregnancy!