Yoga Towels and Straps? What You Need for Yoga
Unlike many other exercises or sports, you don’t need much equipment to get started with yoga. However, there are a few things you’ll want to have on hand beyond the yoga mat. Today we’re focusing on yoga towels, yoga blocks, and yoga straps. Why a yoga towel though? Why can’t you just use any regular old towel? What are yoga straps and blocks, and how can they enhance your practice? Let’s learn more about these helpful additions to your yoga practice!
Yoga towels… What’s so special about them?
You may wonder why you need a yoga towel as opposed to a regular towel. First of all, what’s the difference between the two? A yoga towel is a special towel that has a nonslip grip surface on one side. This is so it can be used on top of your yoga mat. But why place a towel on your mat?
The point of yoga mats is to provide cushioning for your joints. Although yoga is a fairly calm and low impact exercise, you do get into poses where your knees, hands, and other parts are on the floor, so you’ll want some “give” to the surface under you. But yoga mats are often made of material that can get pretty slippery and slide-y once some sweat builds up on it. That's where a yoga towel comes in! You place it on top of your mat, absorbent side up and nonstick surface side down, and it soaks up any sweat! Voila, you’re not slipping and sliding through tree pose!
Yoga blocks… not just for beginners!
Yoga blocks are both a beginner’s best friend and a tool for more advanced yogis as well. Look, a lot of us didn’t start out as the flexible yoga queens you see around you. Many people start off not being able to move their body in the exact ways a pose requires. That’s often due to muscle tightness, but it can also be due to body shape or other factors.
Yoga blocks help give you a closer surface to lean on as needed. For example, let’s say a pose requires you to touch your toes. If you can’t quite reach your toes just yet, yoga blocks give you something to reach for. Even if you’re very flexible, a lot of more advanced yoga poses require flexibility in ways that most people are not flexible until they start yoga!
They also prevent injury. Rather than forcing yourself to hit a pose a certain way, they provide a nice middle ground where your body is easing into the stretch class by class. Yoga blocks help you build that flexibility while also not completely stumbling through the pose and causing injuries like a pulled muscle!
Finally, they provide stability. Rather than just hanging your hands aimlessly in the air when trying to touch your toes, for example, your hands have something to press against with a yoga block.
For yoga blocks, you can choose between several materials. The most common are foam, wood (or bamboo), and cork.
Yoga straps are another tool that allow you to get fully into poses with grace and stability while also keeping safe! They allow you to get deeper into poses and can help with proper alignment during a pose. So… What on earth will you be using yoga straps for?
Take dancer’s pose, for example. This pose requires a lot of stability, balance, and strength. You can place a yoga strap on the foot that’ll be put up in the air and hold on to the other end with your hand. In this way, yoga straps can help you lift your leg higher into the pose while also helping you maintain stability.
They can help you get deeper into a pose than you might be able to usually. In seated forward fold, for example, placing the strap on your feet and using it as a prop to pull yourself forward helps you get a deeper stretch.
So there you have it! Hope these help to expand your yoga practice!