Yoga props can be a valuable addition to a yoga practice. BKS Iyengar, the founder of Iyengar yoga and one of the foremost yoga experts in the world, was a large proponent of using props throughout one’s yoga practice, especially beginners.
Yoga props can provide extra support and comfort when needed. They had also allow for deeper reaches in certain postures.
Props are usually straps (towels can be used in lieu of formal straps), blocks, and bolsters. Straps and bolsters are used to create extension and comfort, respectively. Straps and bolsters can also be used to allow for better alignment in specific poses. Blocks are used to support specific poses as well as to create more depth in them, especially in poses with twists.
I’ve tried three types of blocks each made from different materials, wood, cork and foam. The two best types were the cork and foam blocks. The wood type was best for supportive poses but not as great for creating depth. The foam block (purple pictured below) was great to use in poses which need more support, like seated poses, or poses which may require more depth, like half-pigeon pose. The foam material really allowed for both support and some give, so sitting on the block felt comfortable. The cork block (pictured left below) was best for support in standing, twisting poses as well as for creating depth in the twists.
Overall, either block you chose will be helpful. All props are helpful in their own way and can really improve a yoga practice. Props will only help the yogi get the best out of his or her own practice. Props should not be seem as a crutch, but as a support method to help your body reach new poses and new depth.