What Equipment Do You Need to Practice Yoga?

Yoga Equipment pic Yoga is among the simplest fitness disciplines around, in that it requires little or no investment in costly props, accessories, and equipment. Your own body and its capacity to stretch and relax, and your own mind’s ability to achieve a state of focus and calm, are at the center of any yoga practice. Yet that doesn’t mean you can’t use a few helpful items that can enable you to achieve your exercise goals.

Most yoga practitioners make use of some sort of mat. If you frequent a yoga studio with hard floors, this may be your most essential fitness prop. Avoid slips by getting one with a sticky rubber base that allows you to affix it securely to the floor’s surface. For around $20, you can get a good, all-purpose mat suitable for most situations. Or you could pay more and buy increased adhesiveness, resistance to sweat damage, or deeper cushioning. Eco-friendly models, made from biodegradable or sustainable materials, start at around $40.

You will also likely want a towel to absorb perspiration as you work out, or to serve as a rest for your head.

Foam wedges or blocks can assist you in aligning your body in better form. Some studios provide them, although you can purchase your own for about $10 each. Different sizes of blocks will assist you as you develop your flexibility; for example, if you can’t reach all the way to the floor at first, use a block as a handrest. And cotton straps can additionally be very helpful to secure your legs as you hold stretches. Expect to pay another $10 apiece, and if you are very tall, look for straps at least 8 feet in length.

Some yoga practitioners will want extra equipment for comfort or style, including sandbags for increasing stretches, or folding chairs that facilitate sitting meditation.

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Adding Pyramid Pose to Your Practice

Pyramind Pose pic If pyramid pose is not a part of your normal yoga practice, it can be a potent addition if you are seeking a pose that simultaneously opens the backs of the legs, the side body, and the hips, all while improving balance. In Sanskrit, pyramid pose is called “parsvottanasana,” which translates literally as “intense side stretch pose.” This asana is relatively simple to get into: begin by placing the feet three to four feet apart with the front toes facing forward and the back left toes pointing at a 45-degree angle. Next, place the hands on the hips, pulling the front hip back and squaring the hips toward the front of your mat. Keeping the hips square, release the hands and begin to melt forward, leading with the heart, toward the front foot.

Remember to breathe in this pose, as the gentle pulse of the breath can help guide you deeper into the forward bend. In addition to a stretch along the side body and the backs of the legs, some practitioners may feel release in the muscles along the outside of the shin. Runners often experience tightness in these muscles, and few asanas stretch them as effectively as pyramid pose. If you don’t feel the stretch along the shin, try pulling the front hip back an extra inch, or consider backtracking and spending some more time opening the backs of the legs before returning to pyramid pose.