Yoga is more than the pants that women seem to find so comfortable, even when not practicing yoga. Surprisingly, yoga has been around for over 5,000 years! Being a complete workout of both the mind and body, yoga combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation.
There are 28 main forms of yoga ranging from gentle to intense and everything in between. No matter your age, yoga is for everyone and doesn’t require much, just a mat and space. What if you’re ready to take it to the next level or just get started? Here is a list of some of the types of Yoga Props that are available.
The mat is number one because it is literally all you need to get started. No need for anything special or high priced. Just a regular mat that will keep you from burying your face and body in your carpet, backyard, park or wherever you decide to start practicing yoga. Learn about the 22 different types of yoga mats here.
2. Yoga Block
Yoga blocks are used to deepen your stretches and poses, as well as ensuring proper alignment during poses. Translation: If you’re just starting out, chances are you’re not going to be stretching all the way in any direction. The block allows you to stretch to your limit.
3. Yoga Bolster
A yoga bolster is a style of body pillow, but firmer. They are normally rectangular or circular in shape. Bolsters help with relaxation, softening posture and opening up the body. Bolsters are mainly used in restorative yoga that helps to remove stress from the body. The main classes that utilize bolsters are prenatal, restorative, and Iyengar based classes.
4. Yoga Strap
Yoga straps are used much similar to yoga blocks in that they help with aligning your posture and easing into poses. This holds especially true for tense muscles and people recovering from injury. As your journey into yoga continues you’ll begin to see that maintaining the structure of your poses is just as important as reaching the correct form of your pose. The strap helps in maintaining structural alignment of your spine for the most part so you are able to fully realize your poses.
5. Meditation Pillow
As stated earlier, part of yoga deals with meditation. More specifically, meditating while holding your poses. These poses at times can be have you flex your body in unnatural positions. The meditation pillow helps to alleviate some of the discomfort that comes with getting accustomed to new poses. As your repertoire of poses begins to increase, you can start to find new ways the meditation pillow can assist you.
6. Yoga Wedge
As you transition from beginner to expert. The intensity of poses will increase as you begin to perform weight-bearing exercises where all of a person’s body-weight comes to rest on the hands or toes. The wedge was designed to help beginners transition to more difficult poses. The wedge also promotes support, so you’re able to maintain proper poses. The last thing the wedge helps with is managing pain. If you’re someone with carpal tunnel or tight inflexible wrists you might shy away from the plank. The wedge helps to alleviate that pain by supporting the bodies weight without putting that stress on your wrists, hands or toes.
7. Yoga Neck Pillow
This is another pillow used more for neck support more than anything else. This pillow can be used in any level of yoga session. You can even get them filled with soothing herbs like, organic flax seed, buckwheat hulls and herbs which in turn facilitate relaxation. Certain brands of these pillows can also be heated or chilled.
8. Foam Arch
Like the wedge, the foam arch is a type of yoga block, with an emphasis on tight upper or lower backs. Use this product to end your yoga session or to target your upper or lower back.
9. Yoga Wheel
A relatively new yoga prop on the market is the yoga wheel. Mainly used for more advanced poses, the wheel helps to open the front side body and roll out the spine. To expand on that, the wheel will stretch your front side body in it’s entirety. This means the hip flexors, abdomen, chest, and shoulders. While it’s stretching out your front side, it massages your entire spine in a safe, but deep way. For those looking to go deeper into their backbends and forearm balances, the wheel can be your new best friend.
10. Yoga Ball
To start off, this is just an exercise ball. Second, the exercise ball is used to strengthen and stretch your body, improving core stability and balance. As you’ve probably come to learn, yoga is partly about balance, which the ball helps with. Simply using one as a chair forces you to balance yourself, essentially helping with posture and strengthening your core. In fact, take any of your workouts and see if there is a way to incorporate a ball. It will take your exercise to the next level.
11. Yoga Blanket
At first glance you might ask yourself, “What’s the difference between the mat and blanket?” A big difference. While the mat is just that…a mat. The blanket can actually assist in a lot of your sitting poses providing additional height. The blanket helps the legs to relax and give support to the lower back. To release tight muscles in the back, neck, and shoulders you can place the blanket under your back. Yoga blankets can also provide comfort, warmth and sweat absorption. There are also different types of yoga blankets. They are:
- Mexican Yoga Blanket – hand woven and crafted from absorbent cloth; machine washable; variety of colors and designs
- Wool Yoga Blanket – woven with a nicely finished side; machine washable
- Cotton Yoga Blanket – made from 100% cotton; tighter weave; ideal for adding support and stability to asanas
12. Yoga Socks
Yes you read that correctly, yoga socks. Keeping with the yoga theme of balance, control and meditation, yoga socks help with your control. With yoga, overtime you will gain a level of control over your entire body that regular non yogis could never understand. Yoga socks help with assisting in gaining control of your feet. Yoga socks are typically stretchy with individual holes for each toe. They are also sweat absorbent and have grip bottoms to help with poses.
13. Yoga Gloves
Even though yoga is considered an easy, low-level workout, those that give it a try quickly learn just how much of a sweat you work up by just breathing, stretching and holding poses. This can make your mat slippery for both your feet and hands. That’s where the gloves come in. The grip on the gloves help to prevent you from slipping and sliding on your mat. For those that travel, the gloves can serve as a replacement for possibly not having your mat.
14. Indo Yoga Board
Here’s another prop more suited for advanced yogis. The yoga board was designed similar to stand up paddle boards that yoga practitioners used while on the water. The board has three rockers on the underside to create a subtle amount of instability. Obviously this board is not meant for the water, but more for those times when weather or location prevent you from practicing yoga that way.
15. Yoga Knee pads
Earlier we touched on how wedges help with alleviating pain. The knee pads do the same thing just on a smaller scale. You may not have room for the mat, wedge, bolster, blanket etc. etc…To use planking again, the knee pads can be used to rest your elbows on them. Boom! Perfect form can still be achieved regardless of any pain you may be having in your wrists, elbows, hands, hips and knees.
16. Toe Spreaders
If you can’t seem to bring yourself to purchasing the socks, here is another prop that provides the same outcome…more control. No need to fear, your toes are “gently” separated gradually easing your foot pain and improving your range of motion. Next time you’re just maxing and relaxing in the house, throw these on and make a habit out of it. Over time, you’ll begin to notice that your toes AND your control over them has increased.
17. Headband (normal to extra wide)
If you have a full head of hair, the headband will keep said hair out of your face. This allows you to focus back on the task at hand, getting your poses correct, breathing properly and meditation. Last thing you want is hair constantly in your face being a distraction. The headband will also assist in keeping sweat off your mat, thus preventing a lot of slipping and sliding while trying to workout. Yoga headbands also come in reversible styles to match yours and those yoga pants your still rocking.
18. Handheld Weights
While not typical, you can increase the intensity of your yoga routine with handheld weights. I’ve done this quite a bit, especially for standing poses. Obviously you’ll want lighter weights such as 2 lb. to 15 lb. dumbells. Few studios offer this as yoga isn’t about weight training, but you might find some classes in fitness centers that merge yoga routines with light weights.