I love yoga, but I always found going to a studio-based class to be quite intimidating. I would end up feeling disconnected from my practice and meditation as a result. Occasionally, the local yoga studio where I live would offer a 5-week rotation of curvy yoga classes, but that was it. Given the special nature of the class, or as they called it, a workshop, the cost was not included in the monthly studio membership fee and was based on signing up for all 5 classes, regardless of your schedule of prior commitments. Unfortunately, that made it inaccessible to me in the long run and so I decided to adopt a home based practice. I purchased a bunch of gear and dedicated an entire room in my apartment to yoga and meditation. It now gets used for the occasional blog photo shoot as well, as you can see here.
I find that having props nearby when I am doing yoga allows me to best adjust the poses to work for my body type. For example, I will use two of these Gaiam Natural Cork Blocks to extend my reach in a forward bend or one block under my bum when I go into a seated meditation pose. I love using a yoga strap for many of the leg stretches I like to do and also during legs up the wall pose for restorative yoga. I have a few mats but my favourite is the Gaiam Ultra Support Yoga Mat because it is slightly thicker than other mats without making it difficult to balance on. I find this takes the pressure off of my knees and other hard edges when compared to most of the other mats I have tried. I also have a hot yoga towel on hand for those odd times when I am feeling body positive enough to head out to a class. Actually, the Dual-Grip Hot Yoga Towel is really helpful if you are doing an intense yoga session and end up with sweaty hands and feet.
In terms of self-care and tools to support my meditation and yoga practice, I have picked up a few lovely items that I want to share with you. This Gaiam headband with two straps and a silicone backing is not only functional but incredibly cute. I wear it with a ponytail when I am doing a lot of inversions, but I also just wear it out grocery shopping with my hair down otherwise. I love rolling these acupressure balls across my pressure points and especially under my feet, it feels amazing and helps me focus on grounding myself in my body. One is small with rubber spikes and the other is a bit larger with more of a numb-like texture. They are kind of hard to explain but an instructor introduced me to them in a restorative yoga class. I picked up a lavender essential oil based mat cleanser that not only smells lovely but helps to keep my mat and props free of bacteria.
What are your favourite yoga props and accessories? Or what item do you have on your wishlist? For me, it is this gorgeous Damask Yoga Mat Carrying Bag, I already have a carrying strap but I love this design and hope to own it in the very near future. If you are just starting out with yoga, have no idea what to buy, and want an easy solution, I highly recommend this Yoga for Beginner Kit or this Cigna Watercress Yoga Collection if you want a better quality mat and a yoga bag with your set. If you are looking for some body positive yoga instructors, please see the links below. My final recommendation is this fabulous article on How to Decolonize Your Yoga Practice.