The Yoga Gear Guide: Must-Have Accessories, Props and Tools
Adding the use of yoga gear and props can make a huge difference when it comes to elevating your yoga practice. When I began my yoga practice, yoga gear like blocks and straps were a bit intimidating; I never really knew how and where to use them. As my practice has grown, I’ve found that using props can create a world of difference in how poses feel to my body, while creating more space, length and freedom in yoga poses. Aside from making the practice more accessible for all levels and bodies, the addition of props and tools used in yoga can provide stability and give you more space to explore asanas (also known as poses) in your practice.
Yoga gear can give you additional support that allows you to discover how your body really feels in a pose and ways in which you can facilitate more movement leading to fine-tuned alignments or adjustments for your body. Likewise, adding the use of props, such as a block in between your thighs while in chair pose or working on core movements, can definitely increase your focus and make movements much more challenging.
Using yoga props is a great way to explore movements, different asanas and to find ways to challenge yourself in your personal yoga practice. They can be a game-changer when it comes to alignment, deepening a pose or for giving you that little bit extra space to find more space for flexibility and lengthening of muscles. Props (such as bolsters) are especially essential in restorative yoga practices to allow you to relax, release tension and fully explore and settle into poses while offering the important support that you need to stay safe and injury-free. Let’s take a look at the range of accessories.
Yoga Equipment and Gear Guide
Below are some of my favorite yoga accessories to improve your practice. The list includes a few bonus yoga props and tools that aren’t a must, but that can still be incredibly useful to add to your yoga prop collection.
A good yoga mat can make a world of difference in your practice. While you can just use the floor or a towel, a yoga mat elevates your practice in several ways. A mat gives you a strong, grippy surface to practice on which will lead to a smoother flow and less frustration (nothing is worse than a mat or towel bunching under you as your flow). Also, a yoga mat offers support and cushioning, which can make your practice more comfortable, especially for those with sensitive knees. A yoga mat can be folded or rolled up to offer more cushioning or support as needed.
Aside from a yoga mat, yoga blocks are a must for any practice. Yoga blocks bring the ground closer to you to give you extra length in your arms or legs. This is good for improving alignment in poses, and can be wonderful for building strength by squeezing in poses (such as between hands or legs) while also offering support in inversions and arm balances. Yoga blocks can vary when it comes to the material that they are made out of, height/size and weight. For most, the traditional yoga block size is perfect for all of your yoga needs.
Bolsters and Cushions
Bolsters and cushions are an amazing addition to your practice, especially for restorative poses and prenatal yoga. They offer soft support in poses to allow you to settle into a pose comfortably while still offering important support. It can transcend a simple stretch into something much more soothing and lead to tension reduction. When practicing meditation for a longer period of time, a cushion under your bottom can add comfortable support to allow you to focus more on your meditation and less on discomfort in your body.
A blanket can be super useful to add your yoga practice. They can be folded and placed under the knees to add comfort and support for sensitive joints. In restorative and yoga nidra practices, a blanket draped over the body can help lure you into a deeper and more sensual practice as well. Blankets can be used for sliding movements which can be a wonderful way to really activate and engage muscles in different ways.
Yoga straps are a wonderful addition to your home or studio practice. They can be used to create more space and flexibility in poses (for example, if you can’t touch your toes then a strap is a great way to add more space). Straps give you added length needed to work on bound poses safely that may not have been accessible to you.
When practicing yoga, comfortable clothes that move with you is a must. Feeling the need to constantly adjust your clothing takes away from your practice so finding supportive and well-fitting activewear can really allow you to focus on your yoga practice. There are so many options for every type of yoga practice and body type. For super sweaty practices, I love sweat-wicking materials. You know your body and what you feel comfortable in so find some pieces that make you feel supported and can easily move in. Plus, having a super cute outfit to wear can be a confidence booster and motivation in itself!
If you can find a space to practice with an accessible wall, use it! I love utilizing the wall in my practice. The wall is great for support in meditative poses, for inversion practices and one of my favorites: legs up the wall in savasana.
Yoga wheels are fun tools to challenge your balance and use for added flexibility and stretching (great for stretching out your back). There are lots of different sizes and styles to choose from. I recommend finding one that is incredibly stable and offers a wider base for additional support.
There are specific yoga chairs that are backless, but a regular chair works too. Chairs can be used in a yoga practice for inversions and to offer support, especially for inversions to allow you to get into a deeper pose and offer support.
A yoga trapeze is totally a bonus yoga prop, but so fun for practicing with! Yoga trapezes are great for offering support and space for assisting deeper backbends. They also can be used for many different types of movements that focus on the upper body and the core as well and allow you to safely and easily get upside which is great for a quick boost of energy.
Books about Yoga
There are so many wonderful yoga books available to help inspire and grow your yoga practice. I love keeping them around to thumb through, find inspiration for new asanas and poses, as well as diving deeper into the philosophical and historical tenets of yoga.