Most studios make available the use of straps and blocks for people who come to practice (as an instructor that teaches private sessions I also do too). Yet, it is my impression that either:
2. “I don’t need to use those, I’m too advanced in my practice for that.”
Why you would use blocks: You would use blocks, like the ones pictured, for a few reasons. You might need them to place on either side of your foot in a lunge, in order to “bring the ground to you”–as one of my teachers would say. Or for support during a balancing pose like Ardha Chandrasana or “Half Moon Pose,” where the tips of your fingers might not make it all the way to the ground yet. You might also want to use a block under your tailbone during bridge pose, instead of of lifting from your hips, the support of the block might be nice slight modification. There are many reasons to use blocks. The biggest misconception is that you are “cheating yourself” if you use them. This is not true, actually, quite the opposite is true. As someone who teaches alignment based yoga, you will have better alignment with the use of props because you are not forcing the pose by sacrificing the alignment (and therefore, even, the potential to improve) that way.
Why you would use a strap: Straps are another great way to get further into the poses, then you normally might be able to without. King Pigeon or King Dancer are two examples of poses you might like to use a strap for. The use of a strap enabled me to move into Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (pictured below):
I am on a mat everyday and have learned to really love using blocks and especially straps. That doesn’t mean I can’t live without them, but as an option, I know they help improve my practice (both in strength and flexibility). Next time you walk into a studio or take a private session with me, don’t be afraid try it or dismiss the use of either blocks or straps because it might help you more than you think.