Using props and modifications, or shape adaptations, is a great way to support your body into safer alignment or deepen the benefits of any shape.
Here are a few ways you can switch things up in your practice using props, specific alignment cues and modifications.
In a triangle Pose place a block under your lower hand to push into, and your upper hand on your hip for guidance. Then a wrap a long strap around your front leg in a loop leaving the excess ends behind you. Come into the shape with a little bend in your front knee and pull the excess pieces of strap up and back behind you to feel your front thigh roll back and open.
Stable Warrior One
Step to the hand that is the same side as your foot and square your hips with the front of your mat before you rise up. This will remove the twist from your hips and low back, keeping it in the leg muscles only, and allow more strength in the entire shape.
Strong Reverse Warrior
Put a block, on the longest setting, between your front shin and a wall in Reverse Warrior Two. As you lean back actively keep that block from falling down to the ground by pressing right into it.
Wear your strap like a back pack and pull on the loose strap ends behind you to lift your torso up into a steep cobra or half locust pose shape. The strap will help you open your chest and stretch the frontal plane more than usual by pulling the balls of the shoulder joints back for you.
Put two blocks against the wall, if there is a strong base board then you can slant them at an angle. Position yourself for Wheel Pose, but place your hands on the blocks and push into the wall. This adaptation removes some of the intensity of the wrist stretch and allows for more hip and shoulder opening to occur.
Come into the shape squeezing one block between your thighs, another between your feet and press your thighs up against a wall. As you push your hips forward with your hands, squeeze the thigh block more and press your elbows back behind you. See how it feels to keep your hips over your knees by not letting your thighs leave the wall. Now reach back for your ankles, heels or that second block. The thighs stay on the wall the whole time! You may not go as deep as you might otherwise but you will be stronger and safer.
Lift your toes up so you can see them in front of your knees at all times, and instead of focusing on how low you can go, work on how deep you can pull your belly in. As if Chair Pose could possibly get any harder folks!
There are so many ways to adapt the shapes in our yoga dictionary, some will feel great to you and others will feel great to others, but try them all so you can expand not just your practice, but the knowledge of what your body likes and dislikes and how it is changing as you progress through life!