Props and Booksessentials + nice-to-haves
Here are the essential props that I recommend for a home practice: a good mat, 2 cork blocks, a long strap, and a bolster. Read about my favorites below, along with some ‘nice to haves’ too!
My favorite everyday mat. Not too heavy, and gives enough padding that it’s not too hard on knobby knees 🙂
Blocks are great for putting under your hands in certain poses so you can reach the floor more easily. I also use blocks to help feel movement in the body, for standing on, for holding — there are endless uses for blocks. I recommend having at least two of these on hand.
Straps are wonderful if you’ve got tighter hamstrings and shoulders and need a little help to reach things. But they come in handy for a LOT of other things too. This is definitely an essential prop.
I use bolsters for support in lots of different ways for mindful movement, yin, and restorative work. They also make EXCELLENT crash pads (aka “confidence boosters”) for practicing arm balances. I like the rectangular ones like this one. Great for a meditation seat as well.
These GORGEOUS and sustainably-made zafu meditation cushions are my FAVORITE by far for sitting on, and for using in a variety of ways in my yoga practice. They are super heavy, making them great weights for settling down, and they are also very comfortable for sitting, of course. Designed locally in Aptos, CA!
Wonderful and beautiful sandbag, made by local company, TogetherWExpand. Sustainable silk or hemp, in these jewel colors…I’m in love. These are great for putting on the tops of the feet in Legs up the Wall, along the low back in Child’s Pose, or on the tops of the thighs in Savasana or in seated postures. Possibilities are endless!
Blankets are great for putting under knees in case you need some padding in lunges, rolling up for stretchy work, stacking on top of bolsters, padding up chairs, and covering yourself up in Savasana. It’s a good idea to have two of these. I love these natural cotton blankets from Half Moon.
Super cozy! Designed and sourced by local CA company, TogetherWExpand, these blankets are perfect for wrapping up in Savasana or seated meditation. Made by Ecuadorian Artisans. A naturally hypoallergenic wool that is soft, light, keeps you perfectly warm, and is indigenous to the region.
Super handy for carrying your mat from place to place.
When you’re going on retreat or traveling to hotels, etc, take this super light (and foldable) mat with you so you can practice wherever you are. This mat works well on carpet and other cushy surfaces. You’ll want more padding (like a towel or sweatshirt) for under knees if it’s going on a harder surface.
This is a “fun” tool, and definitely not necessary to buy. However, I do LOVE my yoga wheel. I enjoy playing around with how I can use it to open up my back, and also how I can play with it in my flow practice. Like any prop, it can be used to make things easier OR more challenging. Even if you only want to roll around on the yoga wheel to open the spine (feels so good!), you’ll be happy with it. Heaven.
By: BKS Iyengar
Crucial to home practitioners and teachers. Contains an amazing introduction to yoga philosophy, as well as pictures and step-by-step instructions of asana and sequences to work with specific ailments. Dig into this one. You’ll be using it for decades.
By: Alanna Kaivalya
This is a fun one if you like stories. Mythology behind dozens of yoga postures that help the asana practice come alive…to me, at least!
By: Jeff Krasno, Sarah Herrington, and Nicole Lindstrom
A beautiful book created by one of the founders of the Wanderlust festivals, which I’m a big fan of. This book provides a really nice background on basic yogic philosophy, the eight limbs of yoga, meditations techniques, sequencing, journaling, and more. It’s gorgeous. Made in a workbook style for writing in, you’ll want to have your own copy of this one.
By: Stephen Cope
Take a tour through the Bhavagad Gita as Stephen Cope beautifully dissects the idea of “dharma,” your calling in life. Cope uses stories of famous people in modern history, such as Jane Goodall, Susan B. Anthony, Walt Whitman, and more to explore how these figures embraced their dharma to life fully in the world with purpose. A fabulous book to help you explore your meaning and how to work in the world.
By: Dr. Kristin Neff
Based on the research of psychologist, Dr. Kristin Neff, this book explores practices and meditations to stop beating yourself up through self-compassion, instead of trying to build up self-esteem through perfectionistic tendencies. Good stuff.
By: Tara Brach
Digs into the idea that the two wings of clear seeing and compassion can help us to radically accept ourselves and our situations, and explores the Buddhist concepts behind this worldview. Excellent book for recovering perfectionists!
By: Danielle LaPorte
Instead of setting goals, decide how you want to FEEL. This book provides a whole new way of designing your life around your true values and desires. Check out the daily and weekly planners that accompany this book.
Journals and Planners
This little planner really helps me stay on track and get things done. Sometimes, it’s a bit too “task-oriented,” but when I REALLY need to power through some things, this planner is excellent. Uses (and describes) the Pomodoro time-management technique.
Wanna cultivate gratitude? This is a simple way to do it. Jot down some plans for your day and then reflect on goodness in the evening. Important stuff to manifest positive change!
to receive nurturing and playful ways to connect more fully through yoga + movement (i.e. practices, musings, events)