8 Yoga Aids That Could Help Improve Your Practice
From crow pose to morning sun salutations, there are plenty of yoga poses that can be done with props. Accessories such as blocks, straps, and bolsters can make it easier – and safer – to achieve certain yoga poses.
While they’re always optional, any yogi can benefit from having a few key props to bring along to the studio or for practicing at home. We love that there are so many amazing props out there, but which ones are the best?
Here are our favorite yoga aids that could help improve your practice – we bet you’ll love them too!
Are yoga props necessary?
You might be asking yourself if yoga props are worth the bother. Here’s the thing: yes, of course you can do yoga anywhere, with only your body and mind. However, for many people, the right aids and accessories can make a huge difference.
So why do people use props in yoga? The awesome thing about props is that they assist with balance, stability, support, and flexibility. Some poses, for example, require you to reach the ground, which isn’t always possible for those with mobility limitations or reduced flexibility.
Never feel like you’re “cheating” by using yoga props – there’s no such thing! Props simply give you the extra support and help you need to reach certain poses. Everyone can use a helping hand sometimes, right?
What yoga props do I need?
We’re all about these eight awesome yoga aids…
1. Yoga mat
The first yoga aid every dedicated yogi needs is their own yoga mat. Even if you’re mainly doing yoga in a studio, it’s nicer and more hygienic to use your own mat. And for at-home yoga, a mat is a must!
Look for a durable, well-constructed mat – it will last longer than a cheaper option. A mat towel is also a good idea, since it’ll stop sweat or dirt from getting onto your mat. Mats and mat towels often come in beautiful colors and patterns too, which can be inspiring, especially if you’re into color therapy.
2. Bolster and blocks
How can I improve my yoga practice at home? One great way is to give yourself more options to try new poses with the help of a bolster and a few blocks.
Blocks are ideal for any pose where your hands or feet might struggle to reach the ground. The blocks extend your reach, acting as an extension of your legs or arms. They’re often made of foam, cork, or wood.
A bolster is similar but tends to be softer. It’s usually a firm round or rectangular pillow that you can put under your back, neck, or legs when you need extra support.
3. Resistance bands and straps
Yoga resistance bands and straps are awesome when you want to work on your strength training. Using flexible elastic yoga bands, you can create tension using your own body weight, helping you tone your arms, legs, and core.
Similarly, a yoga strap is perfect when you want to feel a deep stretch, which can help improve your flexibility over time.
If you’re feeling muscle soreness after an invigorating yoga session, how can you bounce back faster? Stretching and hydration always helps, but so can a yoga foam roller.
You can roll these under your back, legs, or any sore muscle – they’ll help remove muscle knots and massage aches and pains. An alternative to this is a yoga wheel, which will give you a deep stretch in your back.
5. Knee pad
Many poses we love, like cat/cow, require us to place our knees on the ground. As anyone who’s ever tried to practice on hardwood or even carpet knows, this can be crazy painful on the knees, even if you have a good mat! Often, yoga mats alone aren’t thick enough to support your knees, so it never hurts to invest in a knee pad.
A knee pad is a thicker foam or rubber pad that you can use when kneeling, relieving discomfort. As an alternative, you could also use a rolled-up blanket, but a proper knee pad will offer more grip and support.
6. Inversion bench
Inversions aren’t for everyone, but if you’re wanting to master a headstand, you’ll absolutely want to invest in an inversion bench.
They’re a much safer way to practice inversion poses and they’re designed to relieve pressure on your neck and shoulders. As amazing as inversions are, they place a lot of pressure on your spine, so let the bench take the weight instead of your body, especially when you’re still mastering the skill.
7. Meditation cushion
Yoga isn’t just about working up a sweat – it can also be serene, relaxing, and meditative, especially on days when you’re feeling super stressed and need to reduce your anxiety.
When you’re in need of some serenity, it’s nice to have a dedicated meditation cushion. Often filled with buckwheat, these sturdy cushions are designed for meditation and are better for your back and joints than sitting on a normal bedroom pillow.
8. Essential oils
Scent is the most powerful of all our senses – we all know how an aroma can instantly transport us to another time and place. This is why many yogis use essential oils to create a deeper connection with their practice.
Many oils are thought to have health benefits as well, including relaxation – so a calming lavender or sage might be just what you need to set the mood for your evening yin yoga.
With so many useful aids and props to add to your home yoga studio, we hope these accessories give you the support and encouragement to take your practice to the next level!