Yoga Props For All Practitioners:
Yoga can be a beautiful and effective practice in many different ways. From Vinyasa flow styles that can really get your heart pumping, to slower styles which may help to focus on deeper stretch and flexibility, like restorative yoga. Surely there is a style for anyone, of all fitness levels. Having said that, you should have the right tools and knowledge to achieve maximum benefits. You’ve probably heard of a yoga mat, right? However, did you know there are a slew of other yoga props that can help better your practice.
As yoga becomes increasingly popular in all age groups (specifically in the adult population), equipment and tools, have also evolved. Oftentimes, these tools are referred to as yoga props. These props can assist you in a verity of ways. For example, props can be geared toward the beginner who needs assistance balancing, during a specific pose. Yoga props can be added to advanced routines for an additional challenge.
There’re many innovated and creative ways props can be infused into the yoga practice. However, in this post, we want to bring you up to speed of the most popular types of props. Then, we’ll expand upon the usage of these props within given routines.
Popular Yoga Props:
I. The Yoga Mat:
The most well known, but sometimes, the easiest to overlook is the yoga mat. This is not a one size fits all. Yoga is a technique for which you can spend quite a bit of time on the floor, so making sure you have a yoga mat that fits your body composition, and is comfortable, is pretty important.
Having said that, not one mat is superior over all the others. Why? Choosing a mat can depend on many different variables. “Back in the day”, these props were much more limited. A yoga mat made of PVC (or vinyl) was pretty much what you had to choose from. Now the options are seemingly, endless.
Firstly, we talk about the feel. What’s comfortable to one, may not be as comfortable to another. Some prefer a textured mat, while others prefer a mat that’s smoother with extra grip. There is also the aspect of thickness. If your practice takes place on hardwood floor, a thicker mat may be the way to go. However, a thicker mat may make certain “balance-type” poses more difficult to do. These types of problems, is what makes choosing a mat very important.
Related Article: Proper Care Of Your Yoga Mat
Secondly, we discuss the actual material. The material can dictate stickiness, eco-friendliness, and how long a mat lasts (durability). Oftentimes, you can find mats today made from recycled materials, like rubber. Just remember the material often changes things such as how “sticky” a mat is, price-tag, and maintenance.
For these reasons, a yoga mat is one of those yoga props that you need to research and buy responsibly.
II. Yoga Blocks:
Yoga blocks bring a different dimension to your routine, they can add some excitement or really challenge you with some new stretching movements and routines. Yoga blocks can be used in a wide array of poses and positions, both standing, and on the ground.
We show the video above because it really gives a nice introduction to how these yoga blocks can be utilized.
Like yoga mats, yoga blocks come in wide variety of materials, like wood, bamboo, cork and even foam, making them versatile and comfortable to fit your needs. For example, making poses more accessible. Furthermore, they allow practitioners to complete a pose that maybe was not fully attainable without.
Secondly, they act as support. Thirdly, they can help the practitioner to increase strength and flexibility by challenging their bodies.
Beginners to yoga can certainly benefit from utilizing these yoga props for added support, as they can even add a therapeutic dimension for certain asanas.
III. The Yoga Wheel:
We’ve talked extensively about the yoga wheel in the past. These are a really fun and unique addition to the family of yoga props. They may not seem like much, but the sky is the limit in what they can be used for. Large wheels tend to help support the body more as you stretch, but also can be challenging at the same time. Smaller wheels can be utilized for targeting smaller muscle groups.
Yoga wheels can help to release tension in specific muscle groups that you are attempting to emphasize. For example, lying on your back and arching it over the wheel, helps release tension from specific muscles in the back.
Also, they can help to simply stretch muscle tissue, like in the same pose previously mentioned. Not only are your back muscles being worked, but your abdominal muscles are getting quite the stretch, simultaneously.
On top of these benefits, they too, can be used for strength building. Take for instance the plank position. Using a larger yoga wheel, one can place their feet on the top, making the pose more difficult to balance. Hence, helping to build smaller, stabilizer muscles.
IV. Yoga Bolster:
Another popular prop that many yoga enthusiast use, are called bolsters. They are seen often in restorative types of yoga approaches. Furthermore, we believe bolsters are the true essence of yoga, in general. Truly, when used correctly, bolsters can help to stretch, strengthen and help align the body.
Firmer then just your average pillow, (which they somewhat resemble), yoga bolsters provide excess support. Specifically, they help hard to work areas of the body, to open up, softening pressure on specific muscles and joints.
Different companies offer many different selections of bolsters. Like with any purchase, carefully choose a bolster of proper size and comfort. Like mats, bolsters will differ in material (oftentimes reflecting durability), shapes, thicknesses, and design. Some even offer the ability to be machine washed.
V. Yoga Straps:
In an effort to get more out of your asanas, and prevent any injury, we introduce yoga straps. Yoga straps are a simple tool, but with limitless possibilities. Most notably, they can allow the yogi to perform more difficult poses, with potentially, less chance of injury.
We personally find them great for beginners, because they can make challenging asanas, somewhat easier, due to a lack in range of motion (ROM) for many novice yogi’s.
Yoga straps can help with support, flexibility, but also with body alignment. Below is an awesome video explaining yoga straps and usage.
We hope some of the information, and videos provided, give you a better understanding of more popular yoga props. Depending on your “stage” of yoga (or style), some props may be better then other. Regardless, you can use props in almost every routine, if you so choose. Be creative, and be smart about your limitations, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to push yourself.
We hope you take the time to research, making sure to pick props that best suit your individual needs and goals.
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