When practicing yoga at home, it is nice to have a few props handy in order to help release, strengthen, find balance, and restore. For many moons, I used random objects around my house before committing to purchasing any props, so I am including info on those items as well.
Note: these are the products I currently use at home. I will not recommend anything that I have not tried or don’t use.
Below are the only bolsters I use. I have also tried using a firm king size pillow and wrapping a towel very tightly around it in order to help it bulk up even more. This is not a perfect alternative, but it will work if you’re on the fence about restorative yoga or don’t want to spend the $60-ish on bolsters.
It usually comes in a few colors and usually one of those colors is on sale, so shop around.
I have used thick textbooks as well. They are bulky, and they move around, so blocks are definitely preferred. These are not too expensive, and if you’re committed to a regular home practice, I certainly recommend them.
You can buy cork blocks and softer blocks (the softer ones are great for heart openers and you will see me use these often), but these medium-weight ones from Manduka above are the ones I go to over and over again.
Towels work, and so do thin blankets that you have around the home. I use these Mexican-inspired blankets because I like the texture and the vibrant colors. You’ll see these at some studios as well.
You could use a tennis ball, and I have tennis balls handy as well that I might break out in some poses. I discovered these balls at the studio I was trained at and taught at, Urban Yoga, and I fell in love with them. I consider them a luxury item as they’re not cheap ($10 seems high for a ball), but they are great for releasing tight muscles!
These are a bit of a pain, as you have to buy the bag, and then go to Home Depot or your hardware store and buy sand to put in the bags. It’s an extra step and I do feel it is worth it. I love the weight that sandbags provide in restorative yoga, and I have found nothing that takes their place. These are also what I would consider a luxury product…if you find yourself committed to a home practice, and love restorative yoga as much as I do, give these a try.
This chair pictured below is similar to the one I have. Please note though: you don’t need a backless version unless you’re doing crazy upside down stuff and I do not teach those types of poses. 🙂 So you can get a normal folding chair from Target or Walmart as long as it is sturdy. Dining chairs without arms often work as well.
Ask any yoga teacher and we all have differing opinions on which mats are the best. Many yoga studios provide Manduka brand mats to use: I have never liked their mats, and I have tried and owned many of their different styles. I slip all over the place. The Lululemon mats are my favorite, hands down. They are expensive, however; they last: especially if you don’t practice hot yoga, and if you’re a senior, gosh I don’t recommend hot yoga. That’s a whole other post though! For now, I can’t recommend the Lulu mats enough. Please note, you can spend $70 on a mat, or $10 on a mat. Just find one that will keep you stable. Also note, the thicker the mat, the harder to balance. So if you have a thick mat, do not try to balance on it! Go to your tile or wood floor and then try balancing poses. See the difference? 🙂
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