Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Yoga is an activity that is unique to each individual. Therefore, the ability to do certain poses can be easier for some people. Yoga equipment is something that everyone can use to provide modifications that make some poses more comfortable. Yoga props should be used by everyone, beginners and long-time practitioners. There is a misconception that if you use props then you are not as good as everyone else. Being a yoga teacher for 15 years, I know that this is entirely untrue. I use props in my own practice and classes. Yoga equipment can help provide steadiness and balance. It is helpful in positioning yourself into proper alignment and even adjusting yourself deeper into the pose. If you are interested in doing restorative yoga then you will need most of these props.
Here is some yoga equipment that is a good idea to have and to use.
The most important thing you need is a yoga mat. Yoga mats are made from special materials that keep you from sliding when you are in a pose. There is a large range of mat types, prices, and designs. The typical yoga mat for $19.99 is a good start. Some mats are overpriced because of brand name and claims about why they are better or special designs that catch the eye.
There are different size mates. Some mats are longer than the average mat for those who are taller or just want a little more room. There are also mats that are thicker and provide a little cushioning. Sometimes these mats are called Pilates mats but there is no difference, only the name.
Blocks can be made of wood, durable rubber foam, and cork. They come in different sizes but I would stick to the typical size. They are usually inexpensive if you stick with an average type block. Blocks are really useful for bringing you closer to the floor. Using a block can keep you from overstretching and injury.
Straps come in a wide variety of styles and pricing. They come in several different lengths, D ring buckles, and Cinch buckles, most are made of cotton webbing or some similar fabric. In my opinion the strap is the best prop to have. You can get into stretches much deeper with the added length of the strap. It can be used in seated, supine, standing, and prone positions. The straps are sometimes used in physical therapy very effectively.
A yoga blanket provides cushioning for the knees in prone poses such as Table Pose. It can be used in many different variations, such as: rolled tightly, loosely rolled, or folded into a rectangle. They are used in Restorative yoga and some people like to cover up with them for a cozy Relaxation. There is a huge assortment of blankets and you may want to actually feel the fabric before you buy.
Yoga bolsters are nice to have but are not used as often as the other props. Their main use is in restorative yoga; however they can also be useful for making adjustments in poses. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, different material and stuffing. When you are shopping for a bolster it is good to have a general idea of how you want to use it. This will help you narrow down the large selection.
None of this yoga equipment is absolutely needed. I’ve done yoga on a bath towel on a hotel room’s floor, grass and sand when camping and on my home carpet. Having a mat however, provides you not only safety and comfort, but it makes you feel like you are a real yogini.
Practice yoga, live well.
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