Popular Ashtanga Yoga Equipment
Ashtanga yoga is a physically demanding practice that requires specialized equipment to ensure safety and comfort during practice. Here are some of the most popular yoga accessories that Ashtanga practitioners may want to invest in:
- Yoga Mat: A good quality yoga mat is essential for all practitioners, whether you’re practicing at home or in a studio. Look for a mat that provides good grip and is durable enough to withstand frequent use. Thicker mats provide more cushioning, while lighter mats are easier to carry. The material of the mat can also vary; some people prefer natural rubber, while others prefer synthetic materials like PVC.
- Blocks: Yoga blocks can be used to help support and align the body during postures, making them especially helpful for beginners or those with limited flexibility. They can also be used to deepen stretches or provide additional support during restorative poses.
- Strap: A yoga strap can be used to help extend your reach during postures, making them more accessible. They can also be used to create resistance and deepen stretches.
- Blanket: A blanket can be used to provide extra cushioning or support during postures, especially during savasana (final relaxation). They can also be used to keep the body warm during restorative poses.
- Wheel: A yoga wheel is a relatively new addition to the list of yoga accessories, but it has quickly gained popularity among Ashtanga practitioners. It can be used to help increase flexibility, strengthen core stability, and deepen stretches.
- Hand Towel: Ashtanga yoga is a physically demanding practice that often results in sweating, so a yoga hand towel is necessary to keep the body dry and prevent slipping. A hand towel can also be used to wipe away sweat during practice.
- Yoga Bag: A yoga bag or strap is necessary for transporting your yoga mat to and from the studio. Look for a bag that is large enough to accommodate your mat, as well as any other accessories you may need.
While these are the most essential yoga accessories for Ashtanga practitioners, there are also many other optional accessories that can enhance your practice:
- Towels: Along with a hand towel, you may also want to invest in a full-sized yoga towel to place over your mat for extra grip and to absorb sweat.
- Meditation Bench: A meditation bench can help ease strain on your back and hips during seated meditation.
- Sandbags: Yoga sandbags can be used to create additional weight or pressure during certain postures, making them ideal for restorative or yin yoga.
When it comes to choosing yoga accessories, there are many options available at a wide range of price points. It’s important to consider your individual needs and budget when making a purchase. Some brands, like YogaAccessories, offer low-cost options made from PVC foam, while others prioritize eco-friendliness and ethical manufacturing practices.
Ultimately, the most important accessory for any yoga practitioner is a good quality yoga mat. Choose one that provides the level of thickness, lightness, and grip that works best for your practice. Other accessories, like blocks, straps, and blankets, can provide additional support and comfort during postures.
For traveling Ashtangis, a lighter mat and a mat bag are essential to help make practice on-the-go more accessible. It’s also important to consider the specific needs of your practice; for example, practitioners of Hatha yoga may prefer a mid-grip to grip mat, while those practicing Yin yoga may prefer a softer mat with additional support from blankets and bolsters.
No matter which accessories you choose, investing in quality yoga equipment can help enhance your practice and improve your overall experience on the mat.
Essential Ashtanga Yoga Equipment
Ashtanga yoga is a physically demanding practice that requires specific equipment to support the body and enhance the yoga experience. For beginners, investing in the right gear can make all the difference in achieving comfortable and effective workouts. Here are some essential yoga equipment recommendations for Ashtanga yoga practitioners:
- Yoga Mat and Mysore Rug: The yoga mat is the foundation of any yoga practice, and it is essential to choose a high-quality mat that provides stability, comfort, and support. Ashtanga yoga practitioners also benefit from using a Mysore rug, which helps absorb sweat and prevents slipping on the mat.
- Practice Cards and Practice Book: Ashtanga yoga has a set sequence of postures, and it can be helpful to have a set of practice cards or a practice book to follow along with during your practice.
- Comfortable Attire: Proper attire is crucial for practicing yoga comfortably and effectively. Ashtanga yoga practitioners should choose breathable, stretchy, and comfortable clothes that allow full range of motion without being too loose or too tight.
- Travel Mats: For Ashtanga yoga practitioners who travel frequently, investing in a lightweight and portable yoga mat can make practicing on the go much more convenient. The Manduka Prolite and Fold + go mats are excellent options for travel.
In addition to these essential Ashtanga yoga equipment recommendations, other yoga styles have specific gear requirements to optimize the practice, such as Kundalini, Hot, and Nidra yoga.
- Kundalini Yoga: Kundalini yoga requires comfortable cotton clothing in white or pastel colors to help cultivate a calm and meditative state.
- Hot Yoga: Hot yoga requires a hard, grip mat to support the body during the intense and humid practice. It’s also essential to wear quick-drying, moisture-wicking clothing that can handle the heat.
- Nidra Yoga: Nidra yoga is a meditative and restorative practice that requires comfortable and warm clothing, a soft mat, and a warm blanket to help the body relax and let go.
Optional Accessories for Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga requires minimal props, but other optional yoga accessories can be helpful to deepen the practice. Straps, blocks, towels, and a meditation bench are some of the common accessories used in yoga. Hatha Yoga, on the other hand, requires comfortable clothing and a mid-grip to grip mat, with optional props like blocks and straps.
Yoga towels provide a softer surface than yoga mats and are more comfortable for certain types of yoga styles. They also help in absorbing sweat and keeping the mat clean during a rigorous practice. Moreover, yoga bolsters are soft big side body pillows that provide comfort during therapeutic forms of yoga like restorative yoga, Yin yoga, and prenatal yoga, aiding relaxation, and stress relief.
Yogic hygiene equipment can include items like a tongue scraper, neti pot, massage oil, essential oils, and natural personal care products to keep the body cleansed, nourished, and revitalized. Scented candles, gongs, and incense sticks are also used to create a peaceful ambiance in the yoga studio and induce relaxation, calmness, and focus. Meditation cushions and essential oils create a soothing atmosphere for meditation after yoga practice, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
The mat is the most essential accessory for any yoga practice, and choosing the right one can make a big difference in comfort and stability. The mat is slightly oversized, providing breathing room but not taking up too much space in a smaller room. Lululemon’s The Reversible Mat 5mm is the best yoga mat according to professional testers, scoring high marks on all nine attributes – grip, cushioning, stability, durability, portability, smell, finish, ease of care, and eco-friendliness. Another excellent mat is the Liforme yoga mat, designed with alignment markers and a unique grip surface.
Yoga rollers are great accessories to help reduce body soreness after an intense yoga session and increase blood flow, alleviating muscle tension and improving flexibility. Yoga chairs offer support to the body while practicing yoga postures and reducing anxiety and muscle strain. These chairs can also be used for meditation and create a sense of stability and grounding.
Learning some important terms related to yoga can also enhance the practice. Pranayama (breathing control), asanas (yoga postures), and yoga styles like dynamic, kundalini, vinyasa, and ashtanga are some of the commonly used words in yoga. Lastly, Yogi strap bags and waterproof bags with internal pockets are good options for mat bags, providing convenience and protection while carrying the mat.
|Optional Accessories||Benefits||Recommended Brands|
|Yoga Towels||Soft surface, Absorbs sweat, Keeps mat clean, More comfortable for certain types of yoga styles||Manduka eQua|
|Yoga Bolsters||Comfort during therapeutic forms of yoga, Aids relaxation, and stress relief||Hugger Mugger Standard Bolster|
|Meditation Cushions||Soothes after practice, Reduces stress and anxiety, Comforts during meditation||Zafuko Meditation Cushion|
|Yoga Mats||Most essential accessory, Provides comfort and stability, Improves grip and alignment||Lululemon The Reversible Mat 5mm, Liforme Yoga Mat|
|Yoga Rollers||Reduces body soreness, Increases blood flow, Alleviating muscle tension and improving flexibility||Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller|
|Yoga Chairs||Supports during yoga postures, Reduces anxiety and muscle strain, Used for meditation, Creates a sense of stability and grounding||Peace Yoga Dharma Chair|
Ashtanga Yoga Practice Resources
If you’re looking to enhance your Ashtanga yoga practice, there are several helpful resources available to you. The Ashtanga Yoga Practice Cards: The Primary Series and The Ashtanga Yoga The Primary Series Practice Manual are both excellent options for people who want to dive deeper into their practice. Additionally, How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally is a recommended yoga philosophy book that can help you better understand the roots of the practice.
One notable yoga teacher, Joey Miles, has praised the use of props in yoga. According to Miles, props such as blocks and bolsters can create clarity, particularly when used skillfully during asana. For instance, by placing a block under the body, a student can direct their awareness to a specific area, which can then be carried into other actions, such as upward dog. Miles believes that props can help students adjust their postures during injuries and hold positions for longer periods, making them a valuable tool for practitioners to consider.
Recommended Ashtanga Yoga Mats
Finding the right yoga mat is crucial when it comes to practicing Ashtanga yoga, as the right mat can make all the difference in your performance. Some of the best options for Ashtanga yoga include:
- The JadeYoga Voyager, which folds compactly for packing and offers excellent traction, although it may be less cushioned than other options
- The JadeYoga Harmony Mat, which is made from 100% rubber and offers excellent traction for sweaty situations, though it can be challenging to pivot on during certain poses
- The Manduka Prolite and Fold + go mats are excellent options for frequent travelers, as they are lightweight and easy to transport
- The Gaiam Performance Dry- Grip Yoga Mat, made from PVC, offers ample cushioning and firm support for joints and grounding standing poses
- Lululemon’s The Reversible Mat 5mm, which is considered by many testers to be the best yoga mat on the market, earning high marks on all nine attributes
- The Liforme yoga mat, which offers an excellent grip and alignment markers that can help you improve your posture over time
Athletic Wear for Ashtanga Yoga
When it comes to practicing Ashtanga yoga, wearing comfortable and appropriate clothing is essential to ensure a comfortable and effective practice.
For Power Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga, close-fitting clothing is typically best, as this can help you move freely without any discomfort. Additionally, a rugged mat with good grip is essential to ensure your safety.
Kundalini Yoga, on the other hand, typically requires comfortable cotton clothing in white or pastel colors, as well as a softer mat that will cushion your joints during floor-based poses.
In Hot Yoga, wearing quick-drying, moisture-wicking clothing is crucial, as is having a hard, non-slip mat to prevent slipping and sliding during poses.
For women, wearing a close-fitting, sleeveless top and yoga leggings is a good option, while men may choose to wear either a sleeveless or short-sleeved shirt and shorts or pants.
Yogic Hygiene and Accessories
To enhance your practice, consider investing in some yogic hygiene equipment, such as a tongue scraper, neti pot, massage oil, essential oils, and natural personal care products.
Scented candles, gongs, and incense sticks can also help create a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere in the yoga studio, enhancing your focus and relaxation during practice.