How to find the perfect yoga prop
As you become more confident with yoga, you may wonder whether there are any extras you can buy to help improve your practice. Though yoga only uses the body and mind, there are some great tools and props you can get that will help you master those more advanced poses. Props can also be great if there's a specific pose you are struggling to master, if there's a particular area you want to work on or just to add more comfort to your practice. They can also be essential for specific forms of yoga - hot yoga needs a towel!
There's nothing wrong with using equipment to help you master the art of yoga, props often provide more support and stability allowing you to master your breathing and really calm the mind. At Yoga Direct we have a large range of props that you can use to help improve your yoga. We've put together this yoga props buying guide so that you know what to look for in your yoga props, and which ones might be right for you.
You can find yogis of all levels using props to help them in their practice. If you're taking a class, your instructor may have encouraged you to think about getting some props to help with alignment and technique, and we have something for everyone.
The main categories of yoga props are - belts, bolsters, towels, bricks and blankets and we will look at each individually to find out what they are, what options you have and which might be best for you and your yoga.
Yoga belts, also called straps or bands, are lengths of fabric with buckles that can help increase flexibility, providing your body with extra support, extending your reach and helping with warm up stretches. They can also be useful in mastering certain poses such as Dancer's Pose, Cow Face Pose and Extended Hand to Big Toe. They are a versatile training prop for deepening your stretches and providing you with support, allowing you to extend a little further and build up your strength and flexibility.
Yoga belts come in different lengths, for different purposes. A long strap, like the 3m D-Ring Buckle Yoga Belt has the most options for you to use, and can be helpful for supporting you when performing difficult stretches, like the reclining leg stretch. A shorter yoga belt, like the 1.8m Cinch Buckle Yoga Belt is great for deepening your stretches and also for keeping arms together in a handstand.
Yoga belts can be adjusted using a metal D-Ring, like the 2.4m D Ring Buckle Yoga Belt, a cinch buckle, like the Dragonfly Cinch Buckle Yoga belt. It's up to you which you find easiest to adjust, just make sure your belt is secure so you're safe during your workout. Our yoga belts are made of strong cotton for great grip and they're strong, durable and washable too!
Yoga bolsters are soft, supportive cushioning props that are used to make yoga as comfortable as possible. They are great for providing extra comfort during meditative and restorative yoga and also for providing the body support during tricky postures or during long poses. If you're taking part in prenatal yoga then a bolster is a must to provide you with the support you need, also if you have an injury your bolster can cushion the part of your body you need it to, rather than the floor or your mat.
The right bolster for you depends on what you're looking for it to do for you. A standard rectangular bolster, like the supportive rectangular yoga bolster is really versatile and great for poses like supported forward fold, supported backbend and more advanced poses like supported king pigeon. You can also get crescent yoga bolsters, or zafus, which are perfect for extra comfort during meditative yoga practice, like the crescent meditation zafu, which can be wonderful during long, tranquil sessions.
A smaller yoga bolster like the small rectangular yoga bolster is great for supporting a particular part of the body, resting your head on or if you're a petite yogi! Long, round yoga bolsters are another popular choice of yoga bolster. They're really versatile and can be used to support any part of the body. Recommended for extra comfort, especially if pregnant, or taking part in restorative yoga practice, they're a great yoga prop. Round yoga bolsters are pretty large, like thehot yoga mat towel> which is worth bearing in mind if you're going to be traveling a long way to class.
All of our bolsters come in a great range of colours, whether you're looking for bright purple or a tranquil green. You'll love your yoga bolster for adding extra comfort during calming, meditative practice, allowing you to really focus on stilling the mind and focusing on your breathing.
Yoga can be hard work, it's a great form of exercise, and certain forms of yoga such as power yoga, Yogalates and Ashtanga yoga can get the sweat pouring off you! Not to mention hot yoga, or Bikram yoga where a towel is a necessity, not an option! A towel can be a great prop to have on hand no matter what type of yoga you are taking part in. A soft, fluffy towel like the studio yoga towel is perfect for keeping you dry, and you can throw it straight in the wash after class. Many yoga towels are designed specifically for absorbing sweat, which means you don't have to worry about slipping.
If you're a fan of hot yoga, a mat towel can be the perfect prop for your practice. Not only will it absorb all that sweat, it's designed to stop you from slipping and fits perfectly over your yoga mat. The hot yoga mat towel also has a textured bottom surface that ensures it won't slip off your mat during particularly active sequences.
Yoga bricks, or blocks, are a great way to add extra support and comfort while you get comfortable with a new yoga pose. Yoga blocks are most commonly placed under your bum, your hands or your feet to allow you to stretch a little further and strengthen your body. A must for improving your alignment, you'll be surprised what poses you can master with the help of a yoga brick for extra support.
They are a versatile prop and can be used flat, on the side or stood up so you've got different heights to work with, dependent on where you need that extra support. Blocks can allow you to deepen stretches, like underneath your bottom during a lotus pose, bringing the floor closer to you during a warrior III pose or under the hip for helping with alignment during mermaid pose.
Yoga bricks come in a variety of materials, from cork to foam to wood - it's up to you which you find most comfortable and most supportive. Foam blocks like the 10cm foam yoga brick are lightweight, versatile and are a little softer than the other choices, providing better cushioning. Cork bricks, such as the 10cm cork yoga brick are eco-friendly and more stable and strong, though firmer than foam. Finally, wooden blocks are really hard-wearing, natural and a great stable block for supporting your weight, like the 7cm wood yoga brick which is made of New Zealand pine wood.
Yoga blocks come in a variety of sizes, and most studios should have a range, as different sizes have different benefits. The standard 10cm yoga brick is the most versatile and a great starter brick, but smaller bricks like the 5cm yoga brick can be great for smaller yoga fans, or for supporting the hands.
Yoga blankets are great props for a number of different purposes. Laid on the floor they can provide an extra layer of cushioning on hard floors, and can help with traction. They can be folded to act almost like a bolster, providing support for a certain part of the body. They're also great for adding that little bit of comfort to your yoga practice, particularly if you're taking part in restorative yoga sessions and holding poses like final resting posture for a longer amount of time to really relax and unwind.
A great yoga blanket should be soft, washable and can add a lovely bit of colour and your own style to your sessions. Mexican yoga blankets, often handwoven in traditional materials with tassels, like the traditional Mexican yoga blanket are one of the most popular choices. They're also lovely to lie under during a restful savasana. Yoga blankets can also be really bright and colourful, like the colourful cotton yoga blanket which is a great value alternative.
Yoga props can be a great way to expand the range of poses you're confident with and for providing support and stability as well as necessity. Different yogis enjoy different props, so try out as many as you can and enjoy a more varied yoga practice.