Besides the obvious use of keeping you warm during relaxation, blankets can prop your hips in sitting postures, your head and neck in lying postures, and your waist in prone back bends like the locust posture. You also can use blankets as protective padding under your knees when kneeling. The firmness of the blanket is important. You want something under your knees or neck that doesn't sink or collapse, as does a padded blanket or comforter. Always use a firm, flat blanket and be sure to fold it thickly (or use more than one) when you need to raise your hips (or head or shoulders).
Yoga props and accessories from around the world are now big business in the United States. Yoga Master BKS Iyengar of Pune (pronounced poon-ah) more than any other teacher has influenced the development of props for Hatha Yoga in modern times. Americans, however, have made some of their own breakthroughs in the area of Yoga-inspired props.
Yoga teacher Larry Jacobs of Newport Beach, California, invented the Body Slant (which we describe later in "Turning to inversion props") and offers an entire line of safe and practical inversion furniture through mainstream mailorder catalogs nationally. Renowned sports medicine physician Leroy R. Perry, Jr., DC, in Los Angeles, California, has developed specialized inversion products, known as Dr. Perry's spinal decompressor devices, used by Yoga teachers and Yoga enthusiasts internationally.
Most blankets nowadays are made out of synthetic materials (or a synthetic/ wool blend) — a relief for people with wool allergies.
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