Finally, you’ve found it! Here’s a beginner-friendly guide to understanding what all those yoga props are and how to use them so that you’ll know what to expect at your next yoga class. Each one has something special about it that you’ll love.
Because nobody expects you to strike every pose like your body is a rubber band, the yoga block is there to help you get at least halfway into that difficult pose without falling over. Traditionally, the first yoga blocks were wooden, designed by Indian yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar to provide the most stability due to their weight. Today, you’ll find yoga blocks in more lightweight materials like cork and synthetic foam that feel more comfortable in reclining postures. Yoga blocks are the most useful prop since they can assist you in nearly every pose imaginable.
For those times when you wish your arms were longer to get into those forward bends and leg lifts, reach for a yoga belt. You can adjust the length by sliding the belt buckle on it, and you’ll be amazed at how strong they are. In restorative yoga postures, especially private yoga sessions for those with injuries, they can also help stabilize you or help support your weight in balancing poses.
A must-have prop to use when you feel worn out, the bolster is like a firm but soft body pillow. It’s often used as a support that you lay on to help you open up your chest and breathe more deeply into your stomach as a preparation for “pranayama,” or yogic breathing practices. Bolsters are even more useful in pre-natal yoga by giving the right kind of extra support for reclining postures.
A highly versatile support, yoga blankets are essential for better shoulder stands, supported head stands and any other scenario in which you need to adapt the size of your yoga prop on the spot. Because you can fold yoga blankets in so many different ways and they’re heavier and more stable than regular blankets, they make excellent head rests in forward bends, seats when you need more height in seated twists, eye pillows while resting at the end and much more!
Yoga Mat Types
Depending on the yoga style your prefer, different mats work better for different people. You wouldn’t want a classic, extra-smooth mat when going to a Bikram yoga session since you’re going to sweat so much that you’ll be sliding all over that mat before the end of class. In that case, spend a little extra to get a mat with a non-slip texture on top.
If you plan on doing lots of yoga, especially flow-style that incorporates a lot of movement and sun-salutation variations, then you’ll need a thicker mat made of PVC, which is available in eco-certified versions. According to top brands like Manduka, it’s generally best to go with latex-free mats since they won’t irritate your skin either.
For the most environmentally friendly mats that are the most lightweight so that you can carry them anywhere while traveling, consider yoga mats made with eco-friendly, biodegradable tree rubber.
Try out any of these props at Evolation Yoga Atlanta to see their potentials. Then you’ll know what you like best so that you can pick out your favorite ones to buy to transform your personal yoga practice!