Being such a delightful balance of meditation and fitness, besides stretching, strengthening and relaxing your body, yoga has all these beautiful effects on your mind as well. All you need to start practising it is a teacher and some comfy clothes. However, there will always be those who want to jump in with both feet flexed, which is why we put together a comprehensive list of the most popular yoga essentials to help you get started on this beautiful journey.
These yoga accessories are widely used in restorative yoga classes and are usually placed under various parts of the body for a comfortable but firm support, with the purpose of encouraging complete release and relaxation. For instance, bolster cushions are commonly used instead of a stack of blankets in order to make forward bending and seated poses more comfortable. When passive stretching or reclining for support, it’s best to place them under your knees or back. They are especially handy in prenatal yoga classes and come in two shapes – flat and round. The flat ones are more ergonomic, while the round bolster cushions are the better choice when you need a deeper stretch or more support.
The yoga mat is an extremely helpful accessory as it helps define your personal space and helps create traction for your feet and hands so you don’t slip, especially when you get a bit sweaty. Plus, it gives you a bit of cushioning when practising on a hard floor. Most gyms will provide you with mats, and yoga studios have them for rent for usually a dollar per class. However, chances are that a lot of people have used these mats and you can never be really sure how often they have been cleaned, so your best bet is to buy your own. To choose the right one for your specific needs, consider features such as length, thickness, durability, material, comfort, ease of maintenance and traction.
Designed to improve your alignment and make you more comfortable, yoga blocks are especially useful in standing poses where your hands are supposed to be on the ground. The simple act of placing a block under your hand helps achieve the effect of raising the floor to meet your hand, rather than forcing your hand to reach the floor, which consequently will compromise some other part of the pose you are trying to make. Not all people have enough core strength and flexibility in their hamstrings to maintain proper form while performing the position. Therefore, by placing a block under the hand that you are trying to reach the floor with, it is much easier to keep your torso strong and your chest open.