Yoga Equipment: Buying Guide

How to choose the right yoga equipment for you

Yoga as exercise incorporates gymnastics postures with the traditional asanas. The only necessary yoga equipment is a flat, sturdy, non-slip surface on which to practice. This is usually achieved with a yoga mat.

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Today, many people worldwide enjoy practising yoga as it exercises and energises the body, promotes a calm and relaxed mind, and can be done in almost any setting. While it is not a high-powered workout, yoga can stretch, tone and strengthen muscles and ligaments. Research has linked yoga practice to good physical and mental health, and yoga is often used as a method of easing stress and joint pain.

What to take to a yoga class

When you’re going to a yoga class for the first time, you might feel worried about what to expect. Lots of social media influencers use a whole range of trendy yoga equipment, such as yoga wheels, to reach visually impressive postures. These can be useful in your practice, but they are not necessary if you are just starting out.

The only equipment you should take to a yoga class is a yoga mat and your water bottle. Any type of yoga mat will do, but it’s important to get your own yoga mat as you will be placing your hands, bare feet, and sometimes your face on the mat. Breathing in someone else’s sweat from the last session isn’t what you want when you’re trying to relax and focus on your posture.

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The instructor may provide other equipment, such as yoga bricks and straps, if they think it’s appropriate. These are used to help beginners or those recovering from injuries ease into postures without overstretching. If you know that you will need to use a yoga brick, you could bring your own to make sure you’re prepared.

Yoga equipment for practice at home

When it comes to practising yoga at home, the most important thing is to get into a good routine. Traditional yogic gurus teach that yoga should be practised daily, with a focus on building awareness of your body, rather than achieving the most complex poses. You can learn more about yoga here.

Yoga Mat: Invest in a quality yoga mat for classes and at home. Exercise mats are important to provide a solid base for postures so that you don’t slide or strain.

Yoga Straps: Straps are useful for deepening stretches that you can’t quite reach yet. For example, many seated asanas (postures) invite you to hold your feet and bend forwards. If you can’t reach your toes, you could hold both ends of a strap and use this to pull against your feet, stretching your back and shoulders this way. The intention is to work up to doing the stretch without the help of a strap.

Yoga Blocks: Sometimes called yoga bricks, these are firm supports to reduce pressure on muscles and joints. Similar to Yoga straps, blocks help you avoid forcing your body into stretches it’s not ready for, by supporting the arms, back, head or hips.

Choosing the Best Yoga Mat

Choosing the right yoga mat for you will depend on the kind of yoga you plan to do, the types of floor you’ll spread it on, and your own body.

Non-Slip Material: Most mats are non-slip to some extent, but certain materials can reduce slipping. A mat with a textured underside will stay in place on a wood or laminate floor better than others. Some mats are made with PVC, cork or natural rubber, helping your feet and hands avoid sliding on the surface.

Thickness: a thick exercise mat (6-15mm) can provide extra cushioning on hard floors, which is important if your knee joints are weakened. However, a thick mat can be bulky to carry to and from classes when rolled, whereas a thinner mat (<6mm) will be lightweight. Some people prefer a thin exercise mat as they feel more sturdy and able to connect to the floor.

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Choosing Yoga Straps

Using yoga straps can help deepen your stretches gently. You should never overstretch during yoga, as this can result in long-term injury. If it hurts, gently release the posture and try a less strenuous version. A strap can help bridge the gap in asanas that advise you to reach for your toes behind your back, for example.

Yoga straps are designed to support you while you work towards deeper flexibility. You will find you can move your hands along the strap as you develop your regular practice, bringing them closer to the desired position each time.

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What is a Yoga Block

Yoga blocks are used to raise the level of the ‘floor’ during yoga, enabling you to reach where you may not otherwise be able to. You can use blocks or bricks in your yoga practice to sit on, support back bends, or rest your hands or feet while balancing. Learning how to use yoga blocks can help you engage certain muscle groups, stretching safely and reducing the risk of injury.

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When you’re shopping for yoga blocks, your main consideration is their size. Smaller blocks are suited for people who are smaller and more flexible, while if you have larger hands or need more support, choose a larger block.

As with Yoga straps, yoga bricks are designed to support you while you work towards deeper flexibility and body control. You should aim to use smaller blocks over time.

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H2: Yoga Equipment and Accessories
While a yoga mat is a good investment, it is important to remember that yoga is not about having all the gear, challenging yourself for a tougher workout, or getting asanas perfect each time. Yoga is a practice of awareness first, bringing your mind and body into alignment.

If a yoga ball or a yoga wheel will help you to stretch your body with awareness and control, then they are useful tools for your practice.

Choosing Yoga Ball

Many people choose to use yoga or exercise balls during pregnancy as a way to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles, and for comfortable support when other chairs become too confining.

Ensure you choose one that is an appropriate size for your body. An exercise ball that is too small will not support you sturdily, while one that is too big for you to sit on easily will roll away, risking injury. Consider how long it will take to inflate your yoga ball, especially if you are short of space at home.

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Stretching-before-yoga

Spreading a yoga mat in your home can help you commit to your practice, creating a dedicated space and a visual reminder to support regular, habitual yoga. As you continue your regular practice, finding you would benefit from tools such as straps and blocks is learning how to support yourself. You can find a range of straps, blocks and other yoga equipment at our online store.

 

 

 

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Digital Marketing Manager for JLL Fitness. Interests: Marketing, Digital Marketing, Advertising, Promotions, Sports and Fitness.

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