Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned practitioner in the world of yoga, you know it takes hard work and dedication to arrive at your mat each day.
Yoga is more than just stretching and breathing. It encompasses the fundamentals of the human body, mind, and spirit. As you begin to gain more physical knowledge and self-awareness in your practice, you’re going to want to go deeper. That’s where yoga tools and yoga accessories come in.
Yoga equipment can help open up your body and improve your strength and flexibility. That way you can get deeper into your more difficult poses and meditative states. Keep reading to learn more about the yoga tools that are out there and how they can help you in your yoga practice.
The Yoga Tools to Improve Your Practice
Thousands of years ago, all you needed was your body and mind to enter the practice. Today there are a number of classes to help you on your journey. However, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced practitioner, you’re going to look for more ways to improve your poses, gain that desired core strength, and maintain perfect balance.
That’s why we’ve come up with a list of 15 essential yoga tools that can help you get there:
1. A Mat
You can’t do yoga without a yoga mat. Actually you can, but a yoga mat will keep a nice barrier between you and the floor or whichever surface you’re practicing on. It will also prevent your hands and feet from slipping during your asana practice.
Did you know that there are at least 22 different types of yoga mats on the market today? All you really need is a basic one, but options truly are the spice of life. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up an extra yoga towel to wipe down your yoga mat to keep it clean and dry.
2. Yoga Block
Yoga blocks serve several purposes in the practice. They are used to deepen your stretches and poses, ensure proper alignment, and support your body. They’re also great for beginners who have limited flexibility.
Foam blocks are probably the most popular. However, you can also find a yoga block made out of wood or cork. It’s common to have at least two blocks on hand for your yoga practice.
Yoga straps are similar to blocks in that they help you to properly align your posture and deepen stretches. Yoga props such as straps are typically used as an extension for poses like the reclined hand-to-big-toe pose, but they also come in handy if you have tense muscles or are nursing an injury.
Ultimately they bridge the gap between where you are in your practice and where you want to be while reducing the risk of an injury caused by overstretching. The types of yoga straps vary, but they all serve the same purpose.
4. A Blanket
A yoga blanket isn’t like a regular blanket, although it can provide you with comfort and warmth. In particular, a yoga blanket acts as an addition to your mat as you can lay it down flat or roll it up to use as a strap or mini bolster. It can be placed underneath your back, buttocks, and head for extra support and height. A yoga blanket can also be used to help tilt your pelvis forward to prevent bad posture during your practice.
Yoga blankets come in several sizes, colors, and types, including a Mexican style blanket.
5. A Bolster
A yoga bolster is like a body pillow, but much firmer. You can find them in cylindrical or rectangular shapes, and they help with opening up the body, softening your posture, and relaxation. Bolsters are mainly used in prenatal, restorative, and Iyengar yoga practices.
The rectangular bolster offers more stability while the cylindrical allows for a deeper forward bend. The yoga bolster you choose will depend on the needs and goals of your practice.
6. A Meditation Cushion
A meditation cushion, or pillow, is exactly what it sounds like — a cushion for meditation! But it’s not just a comfy seat. It’s meant to lift your hips so they can roll slightly forward to support the natural curve of your spine while you sit in meditation.
Meditations are also used to alleviate the discomfort that often comes with learning new poses as well. The concept is very similar to the bolsters, but the focus is to relieve pressure on your lower joints.
7. A Wedge
A wedge is one of the best yoga tools to help you transition on your journey from beginning to expert. As you begin to practice more weight-bearing poses, the intensity of each pose will increase, especially when your body comes to rest at your hands or toes.
The wedge is designed to offer support during these types of poses so that you can maintain the proper alignment and also manage pain if you have, for example, weak wrists.
8. A Wheel
The wheel is a fairly new yoga tool, and it’s designed for the more advanced poses. In particular, the yoga wheel helps to open the front side body. When we say front side body we’re talking about the hip flexors, abdomen, chest, and shoulders. while doing this, it also helps to massage and roll out your spine.
The yoga wheel will become your new obsession if you’re trying to go deeper into your backbend poses and forearm balances.
9. Knee Pads
Yoga knee pads are one of those yoga accessories that you didn’t know you needed but can’t live without. Their function is similar to that of the wedge in that they’re designed to alleviate pain and offer support. You can use them to rest your elbows and knees on, and they’ll still minimize any discomfort in your wrists, ankles, and hips.
10. Yoga Socks
Yoga socks aren’t just any old pair of socks. They have holes for each toe and grips on the bottom to prevent you from slipping. Their overall design is meant to assist with gaining control with your feet, supporting the balance you need to get into those deeper asanas.
They’ll also absorb sweat and provide a little bit of warmth. We wouldn’t be surprised if you started wearing them around the house!
11. Yoga Gloves
Yoga gloves are much like yoga socks but obviously meant for the hands. They have holes for the fingers as well as grips on the palms and underside of the joints. Their main purpose to prevent you from slipping on your mat once you begin to sweat.
They’re also great for the times you want to take your practice elsewhere, without a mat.
12. An Eye Pillow
Yoga eye pillows are mainly used in restorative yoga. They’re placed over your eyes (hence the name) and they are designed to mute sensory distractions, which helps you melt into your poses and meditation deeper.
They’re often scented with essential oils, like lavender, which promotes deeper relaxation. Even if you don’t do yoga, they’re wonderful for meditation alone.
13. Yoga Sandbags
Yoga sandbags are used to add weight to your practice, but not in the way you may think. The sandbags add pressure to your body, which can help to calm and diffuse any feelings of anxiety. They’re meant to help those that practice restorative yoga to get a better sense of grounding.
They also help to deepen passive stretches and improve your muscular strength. So if you’re looking to improve your strength, you might want to add weights to your practice.
14. A Yoga Indo Board
The yoga Indo Board is among the more advanced yoga tools. The design is meant to mimic that of a stand-up paddleboard (SUP), with three rockers on the bottom to create a sense of instability. Of course, you don’t have to be a stand-up paddleboard yogi to benefit from a yoga Indo Board. These yoga tools promote balance and core stability.
15. A Yoga Ball
The yoga ball is nothing more than a medicine ball, which is generally used to strengthen your core and improve your balance. Lucky for you, yoga is all about balance and core strength, which means that this ball is now an important yoga tool. By using one of these yoga balls outside of your practice, or incorporating it into your practice, it will take your body and asanas to the next level.
Practice Makes Perfect
Having the proper equipment for yoga isn’t the only thing that will improve your practice — you must also be vigilant in coming to the mat every day with a set intention. Remember, you don’t have to be good at yoga to start out. You don’t even have to be that flexible. You’ll get there over time, especially with the help of these yoga accessories.
Have any questions about your practice or looking to take your first step towards your yoga journey? We can help.