This is a question I often get, and it makes sense! A mat can make or break your practice. There’s nothing worse than spending a whole class being annoyed that the mat is too slippery or uncomfortable. As for props, there are a few that you should always have nearby to support your practice, and others that will make it extra luxurious!
How to choose the perfect mat?
It depends on a few things. First of all, if you are eco-conscious, you might want to go for an eco-friendly brand. I definitely recommend it, but of course, eco-friendly sadly often means that the prices are higher.
Then, you have to consider the thickness of the mat. Do you want a cushy, comfortable mat (best if you do a lot of restorative yoga) or do you want a light, easy to travel with mat (probably best if you take your mat to studios)?
Finally, the grip. If you sweat a lot, you want to favour a grippy mat. Some people also like to use a microfiber towel over their mat to prevent slipping.
In terms of brands, I personally recommend the brand Manduka. I use of their travel mats when I teach private classes in person, it’s good quality and ticks all the boxes I mentioned earlier. Jade Yoga also often comes up in recommendations, but I’ve never tried their mats. Finally, if you have an unlimited budget, Liforme is the brand used by all the yoga celebrities on Instagram, so it HAS to be good, right?
If you’re going to have a regular practice, there are props that I’d strongly recommend you purchase.
- Blocks: I recommend two cork blocks. Why cork? It’s eco-friendly and dense. It’s not so heavy that it will kill your shoulders when you hold it up, but it’s sturdy enough that you won’t wobble too much when trying to balance on it. Blocks are used in many different ways and will support your practice like no other props.
- Strap: You could easily just use any belt or towel you have at home, but a yoga strap with a buckle allows for a little more versatility. Any time you feel like your arms just aren’t long enough for a pose, grab your strap!
Nice to have props
These props are definitely not mandatory, but they will take your restorative poses to a whole new level.
- Bolster: It’s essentially a big cushion, but it’s the perfect size and firmness to support your body in restorative poses. Plus, they are often filled with spelt hulls or kapok, which smell heavenly.
- Eye pillow: Once you try an eye pillow during Savasana, you never go back. It blocks the light and applies a little pressure on the eyes that help the muscles relax entirely. It often smells of lavender or whatever filling you choose, which is just so nice.
Props you already have
These are simply objects you likely already have at home and that you should keep near your mat for when you need a little extra support.
- Blanket: Whether you need a little extra padding under the knees or a little warmth during Savasana, having a blanket nearby will add some much needed cushiness to your life.
- Cushion: A cushion is also a versatile tool in our yoga practice. Perfect for any sitting meditation or to support the head in poses like Balasana (Child’s pose).
I hope you find this little guide helpful. Let me know if I forgot anything, and tell me: what are YOUR favourite props?