Yoga is all about being present in your body, listening to it and breathing. Let’s be honest though, sometimes we get those thoughts telling us we should be better at it. Thoughts like, “How does that girl move so smoothly into inversions?” and “Why can’t I get my foot to my thigh in tree pose?”
There’s a bit of ego involved sometimes, even if we don’t want there to be. I know that personally, especially toward the start of my practice, it was hard to let go of ego and to be willing to use props. The thing is, they can help strengthen the practice so much. Instead of shying away from using them, take full advantage of all of the available tools to help make your practice the most effective.
There are tons of great products that you can throw into your yoga mat to bring with you to practice (or to use at home). Here, we’ve narrowed down some of our favourites:
1. The Mat
The Mat isn’t just a yoga mat, it’s one of our favourites. It’s available in a variety of thicknesses and is available in a revsersible format as well. This mat is our favourite because it’s got the perfect amount of grip. It’s great for use in both heated and non-heated yoga. We’ve even found that often in hot yoga, the mat is sticky enough to not necessarily need a towel. A yoga mat is going to be your most-used tool, so we strongly suggest that even if you don’t invest in The Mat, you choose your mat wisely and invest in good quality.
2. The Towel
Towels can also be essential to the practice and so helpful. Sweat dripping into your eyes while holding downward dog in hot yoga? Towel. Hands sliding on the mat while trying to hit an inversion? Towel. Having a towel, particularly in hot yoga or with a mat that doesn’t have much grip, can be vital for so many reasons. We suggest investing in one that has grip underneath so that it doesn’t slide around on your mat.
Mala beads are traditionally used for prayer and meditation. Comprised of 108 beads and a larger gemstone, called a guru bead, using a mala is a great aid for meditation. Not only that, but the guru beads can have different properties and can help with setting and following an intention, or manifesting certain emotions.
4. Blocks and Straps
Blocks and straps are essential for getting deeper into poses. We can’t all lift our legs very high in dancer’s pose, but a strap can help deepen our stretch. Similarly, blocks can assist when we can’t quite fold to reach the ground, when we want to do passive heart openers, and much more. These two props are available at relatively low costs but the value they’ll bring to your practice is incredible.
Books are a great source of not only guidance, but inspiration. We’ll be talking some of our favourite books over the coming months, but just know that they often tend to offer advice, flows, tips, and tricks and can help to bring you deeper into your own practice by exploring what others before you have done.
Do you have some favourites tucked into your yoga bag? We’d love to hear about them!
Photo by Emma Foster.