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All about Yoga Props
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Forum Posts: 28
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September 27, 2010 - 2:06 pm
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Yoga Equipment - What Do You Need To Get Started?

By Clare Swindlehurst

Yoga isn't an expensive exercise to take up but you will need some basic equipment to get you started. The five main items are clothing, a yoga mat, a blanket, a block and a yoga strap. In this article we'll cover each of the items, what they are and whether you should buy them before you get started.

1. Start with comfortable clothing

To get the most out of your yoga practice you will need to wear light, comfortable clothing. Shorts or lose fitting bottoms work well, but avoid lycra as this could cause you to slip. Choose a top that is loose but form fitting as some of the poses are inverted, which means that your head will come down below your hips and could cause your top to ride up.You don't need to worry about expensive footwear as yoga is practiced barefoot, in fact many studios ask that you leave your shoes at the door to protect the floor area and keep it clean.

2. Add a yoga mat

Yoga mats, or sticky mats as they are often called define your personal space in the studio. They also provide traction for your hands and feet so that you don't slip during the poses.You can usually rent a mat from your studio, but they will be used by lots of other students and you don't know how often they are washed; it's surprising how sweaty hands and feet become during yoga practice. You can buy a yoga mat for as little as $20 from a sports store or an online yoga specialist. Beware of cheap yoga mats as often they can be slippy which can lead to injuries. Most studios will happily store your mat for you if you become a regular which saves you carrying it to class each time.

3. Blankets

When you start out you will probably not be too flexible so a folded blanket is useful as a prop for seated postures. They also come in handy in the relaxation time at the end of class if it is chilly in the studio. You don't need to buy your own mat unless you wish to practice at home as most studios will have a supply for you to borrow during class.

4. Blocks

Blocks are also useful for beginners, especially for the bending poses where you have trouble touching the floor with your hands. Again these should be available for you to borrow during class, but if you want to practice at home can be purchased from the yoga specialist store.

5. Straps

A yoga strap will help you to reach your feet in seated postures. Like blocks they are inexpensive and can be purchased for practice at home or borrowed during class if required.You don't need to buy expensive equipment to start practicing yoga, just some comfortable clothes and a sticky mat will set you on your way. Items like blankets, blocks and straps are useful for beginners and can be either purchased or borrowed from the yoga studio.

For restorative and pre-natal poses you should also invest in a yoga bolster.

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December 15, 2010 - 7:14 pm
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Yoga props - Hugger Mugger is the most trusted yoga retailer in most yoga communities for buying blocks. Without fail in most every yoga class you will spot a wise yogi using their trusted yoga Hugger Mugger. this yoga retailer offers a wide variety of yoga blocks that would suit anyone's needs. This brand is famous for its cork block that sells for just under sixteen dollars. They offer a wide array of foam yoga blocks. Foam blocks start at less than thirteen dollars in their standard three inch wide model. The foam blocks of course come in blue and purple. They also offers a four inch wide block that some people prefer for more stability or perhaps to make up for their lack of range of motion but it unfortunately is a little more expensive.

The Hugger Mugger store's most expensive block is the plain wood block priced at thirty dollars coming in above the bamboo yoga block priced at twenty three dollars. It is exciting to see a company like yoga Hugger Mugger selling recycled foam blocks. The recycled foam yoga block comes in the color black and is titled the urban block. Hugger Mugger also offers an array of wedges and back arches that work for some specialized yoga poses. Although yoga Hugger Mugger is the leading e-commerce retailer of yoga blocks, that is not all they sell. This brand also offers some of the best mats, bags, and even clothing all designed to improve your yoga experience. Next time you find yourself in need of a new block for yoga, look at the Hugger store and I am sure you will be satisfied just like I was.

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August 6, 2011 - 10:56 pm
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Why Yoga Props Are Useless

Props in yoga are a hotly debated subject. Some great yoga teachers swear by them (like BKS Iyengar) and praise their usefulness, while others (like Bikram) swear against the very thought of using one. Some yoga teacher training courses require you to know how to modify poses with props. I agree that most props are only really needed if used in yoga therapy, or a general therapeutic environment, otherwise, their use is more of a hindrance than anything. What is it about these props that make some yoga teachers like me and practitioners alike so quick to dismiss them?

Slows Progress

So many healthy, able-bodied practitioners are hindered in their progress by props. They have difficulty with advancing past simple poses, and they become frustrated when they are not getting the pose down as quickly as others. The use of props does not allow the necessary room to grow and advance in their yoga practice.

Dependence On The Yoga Prop

After a while of using any particular prop, practitioners can become dependent on it. Thus, this self-created dependence makes it hard for yoga students to go through the poses without it. Some may even refuse to go without it, in the belief that they would be unable to do a particular pose without its assistance.

Attachment To The Yoga Prop

Much like their dependence on props, practitioners may be under the illusion that the only way to achieve a perfect pose is with a prop. But the very nature of yoga is to overcome attachments, and any dependence on props only serves to distance yourself from that goal.

Time Consuming

While going through a series of yoga poses with props, it's downright impossible to simply flow from one form to the next. You have to find the particular prop you need, get it in place, and when you're ready to move to the next pose, you have to move the prop back out of your way. It takes your mind away from the act and breaks your concentration.

Summary

The use of props will always be debated, and many will continue to use them regardless. It's alright to occasionally use props, but when you find yourself depending on them, then it's probably time to cut them out of your yoga practice.

In the end, it's your decision and only your thoughts on the matter will count. I personally feel that props are only good for yoga therapy and I only teach elite athletes, so I could care less about teaching yoga to the out of shape masses.

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