When it comes down to it, all you really need to perform yoga is yourself. Nonetheless, many tools come in handy to enhance your practice. You might find some of these tools essential or you might decide some of them are not for you. Either way, here is a list of tools to try if you haven’t already:
1. Yoga mat
I’d say a yoga mat is essential when you’re performing yoga at a gym, studio or other public place. After all, you don’t know what’s on those floors. Also, the padding of the mat can ease pressure on your body, especially in poses where you’re sitting or lying down. Plus, it can help you stick so your hands don’t fly out from under you during Downward Facing Dog! If you only have one yoga tool, this would probably be it.
Some types of yoga (Iyengar) are heavy on the use of blocks while some others (gym yoga) don’t use them at all. Blocks can give you better alignment in a pose and can give you a modification to a pose you have difficulty with.
Straps are great for stretching your body farther. They are particularly beneficial for stretching tight hamstrings (like in Reclining Big Toe Pose) and to help your hands reach each other in poses like Cow Face Pose.
4. Blankets and pillows
These tools can help you get more comfortable, and they can ease tension in certain parts of your body, so you can relax more in meditative poses. They can also help with alignment and give support in poses like Supported Shoulderstand. Plus, blankets can keep you warm and completely comfortable in relaxation poses like Corpse.
5. Water Bottle
It’s important to stay hydrated during and after a yoga class, so bring a water bottle (preferably a stainless steel reusable one to prevent leaching chemicals and to reduce your impact on the environment). This can also prevent you from leaving the class and interrupting your flow to find a water fountain.
Unless you’re taking a nude yoga class, you need to wear the right clothing. Fitted clothing is better because large clothes can get in the way and fall to reveal your belly during poses like Downward Facing Dog. Wear clothes that are comfortable and allow you to move freely without constraint. Also, breathable clothing is important.
Bolsters are like specially designed pillows that are beneficial for restorative poses and meditation. They can also help you stretch your spine, specifically while forward bending.
8. Yoga bag
It might not be essential, but a yoga bag to hold your mat, water bottle and other tools can come in handy. Yoga is all about reducing stress and a yoga bag can prevent stress that might occur from trying to carry everything in your hands. Also, you can have all your props ready for when you need them when you bring your bag to class.
An essential tool for hot yoga classes where you’ll be sweating up a storm, towels can be useful to wipe sweat off yourself ..and your mat.
Music really sets the mood of a yoga class. Music without words is best for a yoga class, so you can lose yourself in the melody and bring your focus inward. Try meditative music that will help you relax and meditate. You can also check out the new series here all about yoga music playlists!