Yoga is everywhere these days. Not only do studios abound in most cities, but asana classes can also be found in health clubs, schools and even some medical facilities. It’s safe to say yoga practice has “arrived” in Western culture.
If you haven’t yet partaken of a class, it’s hard to know where and how to start. A few months ago, I wrote a post giving suggestions as to how to find a class that’s right for you. Once you’ve found a class you enjoy, and spent some time learning finer points of various asanas, it’s important to take your practice home.
Why Develop a Home Yoga Practice?
Home yoga practice is essential to developing a deep and enduring relationship with yoga. It’s your time to explore practice on your own terms and to discover what works best for your body/mind at a given time. Classes can inspire and give you new ideas, but it’s common to go along with whatever’s being offered, whether or not it actually fits with your current needs. Home practice allows you to explore your own physical/mental/emotional landscape without feeling pressed to conform to what others are doing.
Read this post that shares some tips for developing your own home practice.
What Will I Need?
Most studios have at least a minimum amount of props you can use when you practice on site. If you plan to develop a home yoga practice, you will probably want to collect your own set of props. Of course, what you need will depend on the type of yoga you practice. Here are some general tips for choosing home practice essentials:
- Yoga Mats: Nonskid yoga mats were developed by Hugger Mugger Yoga Products back in the early 1990s. Since those first Tapas® Mats, many more types of mats have appeared on the scene. For a home practice, I’d suggest buying a mat you can use for years. For home practice, I like a heavier, more stable mat. My personal favorite is the Para Rubber Mat. Because it’s pretty hefty, I take a lighter-weight mat with me when I travel to teach a class. Here are some more resources for choosing the right mat: Mat Guide and a post: How to Choose a Yoga Mat.
- Blocks: Blocks are versatile props for all types of yoga. While much of the time, we think of them as tools for people who are less flexible, they actually have lots of other uses as well. They provide essential support in a variety of restorative poses and can help with therapeutic applications of asanas as well. I suggest buying two blocks instead of one. Here are two resources for choosing the right blocks: Yoga Props Guide (which will give you some ideas for using one or two blocks) and a blog post: How to Choose a Yoga Block.
- Blankets: Firm yoga blankets are great for a lot of applications. You don’t really need a nonskid surface when you’re practicing seated poses. Placing a blanket over your mat when you’re sitting and lying down provides extra cushioning, a soft surface, and extra insulation from a cold floor. Also, it’s always nice to have a blanket to put over you in Savasana (Relaxation Pose). The Yoga Props Guide has more ideas for using yoga blankets.
- Eyebags: Savasana is most effective when we can relax deeply. This requires that we spend some time in the pose, and that we set ourselves up so that we’re as comfortable as possible. Eyebags not only block out light that might keep us stimulated, but the gentle pressure they place on your eye sockets facilitates relaxation. Read more here.
- Bolsters: If you plan to practice restorative yoga—and we all need to restore our energies sometimes—a yoga bolster essential. Sometimes stacked blankets can stand in for a bolster, but there is nothing that replaces the firmness of a bolster for many of the most essential poses. Take a look at the mat guide for some ideas on how to use a bolster. Hugger Mugger’s bolsters are handmade in our factory and are designed to last decades. They are a wonderful investment in your health and well-being. The prop guide can give you some ideas for using a bolster. Also, read this blog about how to choose a bolster.
These essential yoga tools can help you fashion a home yoga practice that evolves with you. Yoga’s power is most obvious in how we meet the challenges of daily life. Your home yoga practice can be a trusted companion on your journey.