As I stumble into the living room still half asleep with a vague memory of last night’s dream, she’s already waiting for me
—unrolled and ready to accompany me on this journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance.
I take one my my folded blankets and place it at the top the mat. I place a bolster underneath my knees and find a laying position. I cover myself with another blanket, make sure I’m all tucked in and the cold morning air can't come near me and put my earphones in.
I’m ready to dive into this practice. I’m ready to come back home to myself.
I settle, cover my eyes with a scarf and pres play.
A yoga mat is usually the first thing we think of when talking about yoga props and for a good reason.
Over the years I’ve had a hard time finding a mat that would be sticky enough for my sweaty hands (hello, my name is Katarina, here’s some TMI), comfy enough for my somewhat sensitive knees, not weigh a ton but also be aesthetically pleasing and, if possible, not cost a fortune. It took me quite a lot of trial and error to find “the one” but now that I have, it’s going to take a lot to convince me to try another mat.
When choosing a mat think of as many possible things as possible (but maybe not as many as I did if you don’t want to complicate your life). Will you travel with the mat or will you mostly be using it at home? Do you care which material it’s made of? Are you okay with a little less cushioning or do you need a ticker, more comfortable mat? How much are you willing to spend? And what are you willing to sacrifice if your budget is smaller than that perfect mat you just found after browsing the internet for hours?
Lately, my practice has been all about rest, comfort and diving inwards. No crazy arm balances or ton of sweat happening here, people. So what’s really made a huge difference are the props I use during restorative yoga and yoga nidra practices that really make me relax into the poses and drop into myself, and one of my absolutely favourite props is my bolster. Oh man, if my partner knew how much affection I have for it, I’m pretty sure he’d be at least slightly jealous. ;)
But why do I love my bolster so much? Let’s talk about the deliciousness that is a bolster under one’s knees in Savasana. And I’m pretty sure my lower back loves that feeling almost as much as I love my bolster. I also enjoy my twists pretty much three times as much as I do if I do them on my bolster. It's my best friend on those slow days and lets me melt into the floor with more ease.
You can use the block in variety of ways when it comes to standing and balancing poses—think Half Moon, Triangle, Side Angle, Pyramid, Low Lunge—but one of my favourite ways to use the block is to bring it under my hips when I'm laying on the mat and lift my feet high up towards the sky to give them a little break. It’s a super simple and effective inversion and proof that inversions don’t need to be crazy hard to have a positive impact on our bodies (and minds).
The Blanket or Towel.
There’s nothing worse—yoga-wise, of course—than ending a class with a Savasana or going for a sweet, delicious yoga nidra practice only to realise half way that I’m not warm enough, which makes it pretty much impossible for me to drop into myself or even listen to what the teacher is saying. Enter blankets (or yoga towel if you have a hard time not slipping on a mat and usually go to sweaty or heated classes). Over me and under me to keep me warm, underneath my head to keep my neck nice and elongates and/or over my eyes to make it seem like I’m the only one there. And trust me when I say, there’s never enough blankets.
But let me tell you a secret. You don’t need any of these fancier props. Sure, if it’s in your budget and would like to treat yourself, go for it, but pretty much everything can easily be found at home, in a form of objects you already own.
Don’t have a mat? How about that carpet in the living room?
Don’t have a block? How about a few big books, stacked?
Don’t have a bolster? How about a pillow or a rolled up towel wrapped in a blanket?
And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore all of Melon&Lime products and know they were created with integrity and love but the important things is to start practicing even if that means not spending a dime on this stuff.
And if spending on a yoga class is not in your budget, why not email the yoga studio and ask if a work trade is an option? I know of multiple yoga studios where they hold karma yoga programs where you get to attend any classes that you like in exchange for helping out at the studio.
But if you do decide to get one thing from the list above, I’d vote for the yoga mat. Not because we happen to sell them but because it’s great to have a mat that is sticky, doesn’t slide and you even get a few videos to help you kickstart your home journey.
Wishing you all the best on your journey.
Dreamer, creator, lover, yogi.