Are you thinking about trying a yoga class? Or have you just started a class? In either case, the tools you use to assist your practice can make or break it for you.
It’s true that many studios and health clubs provide props. But sometimes they don’t, or the community props may not be in fantastic shape. In this case, bringing your own can really make or break your practice. In addition, having your own props can inspire you to practice at home—the heart of asana practice.
If you’re new to yoga practice, choosing a class that fits you can be overwhelming. If you’re feeling confused about how to start, read this post that shares tips about how to choose a yoga class.
The Right Stuff
Choosing the right tools for practice can also be overwhelming. There are so many choices. Here are a few suggestions I find essential to bring to a class. While there are other props such as yoga blocks, straps and bolsters, that are important for practice, many studios provide these. The props I list here are those that you have closest physical contact with. Having your own clean, comfy essentials makes practice more enjoyable.
Here’s a list:
- Yoga Mat: Studio floors are composed of lots of different materials—hardwood, concrete, carpet and bamboo, to name a few. These floors vary in hardness, temperature and slickness. A yoga mat gives you a predictable, nonskid surface, no matter where you practice. Even if a studio provides mats, it’s really nice to have your own, as sometimes studio mats are worn or not so clean. Since the plethora of mat choices can be confusing, read this post about how to choose a yoga mat that fits your practice.
- Yoga Mat Carrier: If you plan to carry your own mat to and from the studio, a mat carrier is essential. Depending on what you choose and how many props you plan to bring, a carrier helps keep all your stuff together and provides a convenient way to transport it. Carriers vary from simple harnesses to duffels that will hold all your props. There are also medium-sized carriers that allow you to bring just your essentials (you can wrap a blanket around a rolled mat and fit it inside the larger carriers).
- Eyebag: Savasana (Relaxation Pose) is arguably the most essential pose in asana practice. It’s really important to be comfortable when you lie down for your final relaxation. Depending on where you practice, the lighting may or may not be conducive to relaxation. The gentle pressure of an eyebag will block out light and help your eyes—and therefore the rest of you—relax more deeply. As with everything else, there are choices for which eyebag will best suit you. This post shares tips for choosing an eyebag.
- Yoga Blanket: When you practice Vinyasa (poses linked together in a “flow”), the surface of your yoga mat provides everything you need. But when you practice seated and lying-down poses, or if you practice more meditative form of Hatha Yoga, placing a blanket over your mat provides a soft, comfortable surface. Yoga blankets are also really useful in Savasana. For example, some people aren’t comfortable lying flat. A rolled-up blanket under your knees can make a big difference. Also, a folded blanket under your head and neck feels nice. And of course, you can always place a blanket over your body as you lie in Savasana.
Beyond the Studio
Once you feel confident to start a home yoga practice, you may want to augment your yoga props with blocks, straps and bolsters, but that’s for a future post. Stay tuned!