Last time, we talked about the practice of good yoga posture and different poses along with their benefits. Today, we are going to cover some of the different types of yoga equipment and what it can do for you. One good thing about yoga is that it can be practiced almost anywhere, without bulky equipment, and by all people of all ages.
It is best to wear loose, comfortable clothing when practicing yoga. This allows your body to move freely without restrictions. Yoga is traditionally practiced barefoot, but if this does not suit you, you can just wear grip socks or soft-shoes. It is also best to practice yoga on an empty stomach so you do not have a lot of food moving around in there.
If you have to eat something, then it is a good idea to consume a light snack such as an energy bar, a piece of fruit along with a glass of water an hour before class. This will help to avoid you getting hungry or dehydrated during your practice.
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need anything hi-tech or fancy in order to start practicing yoga. All you really need is the desire and a good attitude to get started. But this doesn’t completely eliminate the need for some yoga equipment, especially if it helps you perform each pose correctly.
Most yoga equipment is used to help you achieve proper alignment and balance as well as make each pose that you perform a little bit easier to do, especially for beginners. It decreases the stress and strain on your body from certain yoga positions as well as supports your muscles and protects them from injury.
Let’s go over some of the more basic types of yoga equipment:
While opinions vary when it comes to the proper yoga attire, ultimately the choice is up to you. However, it’s a good idea not to wear tight-fitting clothes. You want to be able to move freely so loose-fitting clothes are the way to go.
A good yoga mat provides cushioning on a hard floor. This especially needed if your yoga studio floor is made of cement or hardwood floor. It can also provide traction for your hands and feet, Thus preventing you from slipping or sliding while performing different poses.
There are special towels that are made for yoga especially Bikram yoga! Having a super- absorbent towel will be quite helpful especially if you sweat. You definitely will if you do hot yoga. You may also want to look into a skid-less towel that you can use on your mat to help absorb sweat quickly.
If you buy a lot of yoga accessories you may want to buy a special yoga bag to carry them in. They look like duffel bags and are often made of nylon, but they all come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. You can easily find one that suits your style!
Yoga bolsters provide great support for your spine, abdomen, hips, and legs in a number of different poses. These comfy, supportive, long ‘body’ pillows, can help you achieve better results overall and get into poses easier.
Yoga blocks are props that help make yourself more comfortable and improve your alignment. These handy pieces of foam (or other materials) are great for standing poses in which your hands don’t reach the floor. I use blocks especially if my hamstrings are really tight (which is like all the time…smh).
These handy pieces of wood or foam can be used in many different ways to add support and length for many different poses like downward dog. Wedges are great to use under your heels, tailbone, or knees when practicing forward-bending poses. It makes it a lot easier to place your hands flat on the floor without compromising correct form and posture.
Stability balls help you learn balance, build your strength, tone your muscles, and make it more comfortable for people with injuries to exercise. These balls provide extra support as you stretch and are good for working out the back and hips. They can also be used during pregnancy. Please consult a physician before getting one. You’ll need an air pump if you get one of these too, but they usually come with the ball.
Blankets are a great way to feel more relaxed and comfortable during your yoga practice. Folded blankets can be used as props or to sit and lie on during class too.
Straps are most commonly made out of cotton or nylon. They allow you to grasp certain body parts that you cannot reach effectively. They also give you added flexibility and help you hold your poses a little bit longer. These pieces of nylon are particularly useful for bound poses if your hands do not reach each other and for poses where you need to hold onto your feet, but cannot reach them.
Have you ever heard of a yoga wheel? It is used for stretching and releasing the muscles in your back, neck, shoulders, as well as those deep hip flexors. It is a great tool so definitely check it out later on in your practice 🙂 You do not need this right away.
Now we all know that we need to stay hydrated throughout the day. If you are into hot yoga like me then you are DEFINITELY going to need to have a water bottle on hand. So, whatever you do, try to take water with you.
For beginning yoga enthusiasts, a yoga kit may be the solution to all of their problems. A basic yoga kit contains everything you need to get started practicing the art of yoga right away. A good kit shows you the necessary items you need as a beginner in yoga. I didn’t buy a kit when I first started my yoga practice. I wish I did though. What I did buy was a yoga mat, bag, grip socks, blocks, a strap and a towel for hot yoga. I have not gotten a blanket, wheel, wedge, or bolster yet.
For the most part, yoga equipment is made to provide support for you to feel more relaxed and move deeper into the poses.
Next time, we will be talking about how yoga can be used to help control your blood pressure and relieve stress.
To another issue of Why Yoga Matters,
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