It is believed that the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India first started practising yoga 5 000 years ago. This group of physical, mental and spiritual practices had spread throughout the world over the centuries, and today it’s a powerful method for stress relief and overall health maintenance. The many benefits of yoga include increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality.
There are a lot of types of yoga you can choose from, and they are all union between the body, mind and spirit. Whether you choose to do dancing yoga, acro or aerial, you are going to need some essential equipment for yoga. The following items can turn your yoga experience into a lot more pleasurable one.
Whether you are practising yoga in the comfort of your home or in a yoga studio, the mat is considered the most important equipment for yoga. Firstly, it helps define your personal space and secondly, it creates traction for your hands and feet so you don’t slip, especially when get a little sweaty. Another advantage of using a yoga mat is that it also provides cushioning on a hard floor. Even though some gyms and studios provide or rent mats, you can’t be sure how often they’re being clean, since a lot of people use them. If you can afford it, the safest solution is to buy yoga products for personal use.
Yoga mats come in a variety of styles, sizes, materials and thicknesses. The standard yoga mat is 173 cm long and 61 cm wide. Regarding thickness, there are more dimensions available: from 5 mm up to 10 mm. Have in mind that the thicker the mat, the more comfortable it’d be. Also, make sure to choose a yoga mat from good material, that feels nice on the body, absorbs sweat and is also sturdy and durable. High-quality and durable yoga mats are usually made of an eco-friendly rubber material. You can find yoga mats in every colour, so you can select one that matches your style, yoga outfit or water bottle.
Owning such bag can help you when it comes to caring the mat around with you back and forth to the studio. It can also prevent your mat from losing its shape. Choose a light and portable, easy to fold mat bag that features an adjustable strap for easy carrying around.
The yoga ball is known by many other names: Swiss ball, balance ball, physioball or fitness ball. Whatever you choose to call it, this is a very useful tool to implement into your yoga practice. The yoga ball can help you improve your posture, strengthen the core, improve balance and proprioception, and increase lower back mobility. Since they come in more sizes (55 cm, 60cm, 65 cm, 75 cm), you can choose one according to your weight.
Yoga balls can be used for many asanas, and here are two simple exercises you can enjoy during your home yoga sessions.
The child’s pose is probably the most popular one. To do it on a yoga ball, you need to kneel in front of the ball and slowly sit back on the heels, with your hands resting on the ball. As you sit back, slowly roll the ball forward, relaxing the head and stretching through the chest. Shift the hips to the right and gently roll the ball to the left the stretch through the back, repeating on the other side. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds.
Lying Hip Stretch
For this exercise, you need to lie on your back and rest the right heel on the ball and bent the knee at 90 degrees. Carefully cross the left foot over the right knee and use the foot on the ball to gently roll the ball in, pushing out on the left knee to stretch the right hip. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat the same exercise on the other side.
You don’t necessarily need unique printed yoga pants or designer gear, but breathable athletic apparel can help you perform even the most complicated poses with ease. To be fully equipped for your yoga class, you’ll need the following items.
1. A comfortable pair of yoga pants that can allow you to push the limits of your flexibility further. These could be your regular fitness pants or the ones you use for running. You can choose either shorts or leggings, whatever you feel most comfortable in.
2. A yoga tank top from cotton or cotton blend that allows you to move freely while bending, twisting and doing different movements is also a must.
3. Lastly, you’ll need a pair of comfy sneakers that you should only keep for indoor use. Make sure they have light and flexible soles, so you can move freely and comfortably.
Hydration during physical activity is one of the most important things. Having a water bottle filled with fresh water or lemon water next to you can help your body stay hydrated during your yoga sessions. If you opt for a bottle with nozzles, you can continue with your practice without having to stop to take off the lid. Simply put it within reach and enjoy your yoga session.
After you have provided all the equipment you need for yoga practice, the next step is to approach yoga with an open mind. Relax, breathe and watch your body doing the movements you thought were impossible.