When yoga first became popular in North America, many people assumed it was a fad. However, the ancient Indian mind and body practice was much more than that, becoming a wellness fixture for everyone from stressed-out moms to professional athletes and retired seniors. Yoga’s benefits for seniors are seemingly endless and include improved strength, balance, flexibility, back pain relief, eased arthritis symptoms, better heart health, better sleep, improved moods, and decreased stress. Even better, yoga is accessible to just about everyone—even those with decreased mobility, injuries, or chronic pain.
Don’t let images of perfectly fit yogis doing headstands or holding their legs high in the air scare you off. One of the biggest myths about yoga is that you have to be young and flexible to do it. That’s absolutely not the case. Even if you can’t touch your toes—or knees!—yoga poses can be modified to suit your body and skill level. There’s also no such thing as being too old for yoga. It’s low-impact nature and focus on mind-body connection makes yoga suitable for all ages, especially with the help of yoga accessories and props to help support your practice.
With the winter holidays around the corner, yoga equipment could make a perfect gift for a family member or friend.
Top 8 yoga props for all levels
Here are eight yoga props that will help yogis of all levels elevate their practice.
1. Yoga blocks
Yoga blocks are made of foam and help shorten the distance between your body and a supporting surface. For example, they’re very useful for those who can’t yet reach their toes. Rather than strain your back or dangle mid-air, place a yoga block on the floor in front of you and reach for that instead. Yoga blocks can also be useful for achieving proper alignment, particularly for poses that require you to lay on your back. If you have trouble sitting cross-legged, place a yoga block under each of your knees to sit more comfortably.
2. Yoga wheels
Yoga wheels are circular yoga props that can help you practice yoga more safely while improving your flexibility. The wheel can help you sit upright, support backbends and inversions, and add a larger variety of poses and exercises to your repertoire. One particularly relaxing way to use a yoga wheel is simply to lie on it and roll it across muscle groups that need loosening or that have aches or pains. Many yogis love using this prop to massage their spine. Yoga wheels are useful for everyone from absolute beginners to experience yoga bunnies who want to push themselves to the next level.
Yoga straps are mainly used to assist stretching and increase your range of motion. They’re especially helpful for those with diminished mobility or less-than-stellar flexibility. Yoga straps are often used in combination with other props, like blocks and mats, to modify both sitting and upright poses to one’s own skill level. They also help improve posture and alignment by preventing “reaching into” poses, which is a big yoga no-no because it creates unnecessary tension. Yoga straps will help you stay relaxed throughout your practice.
4. Yoga cushions
Yoga cushions, also called yoga bolsters, are dense pillows of varying sizes that are designed to support your body during practice. During restorative yoga, which is less focused on physical exertion and more focused on relaxing the body and reducing stress, yoga cushions can help improve blood flow. Placed under the knees while laying on your back, they can help maintain leg circulation and make you more comfortable, too. When placed under your back, they can help with abdomen and gut circulation while acting as supports for backbends. There are many yoga cushion sizes and shapes to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that works perfectly for your body.
5. Non-slip socks and gloves
There’s little more frustrating than trying to nail a yoga pose while slipping off your mat. Non-slip socks and gloves are the solution to this irritating, and potentially dangerous, problem. These items will come with grips on the palms and soles to help you maintain poses even when things get sweaty. Non-slip socks and gloves can also help you achieve better balance, stability, and proper form. If you attend a studio where you share mats or practice with others, yoga socks can also help prevent foot fungus.
6. Arm and ankle weights
Arm and ankle weights are a great way to build more strength while practicing yoga. You don’t need to be a weightlifter to try them, either. They’re typically very light, weighing in at just one to three pounds, with the goal of adding comfortable resistance to your session. If you find yourself straining, then the weights are likely too heavy for you. You should still be able to maintain proper form while using them.
7. Foam roller
Foam rollers are long, hard tubes of foam that allow you to perform self-myofascial release. When you roll on them, they help relieve muscle tightness, soreness, inflammation, and can also increase flexibility and range of motion. Foam rollers can be used both before, after, and between workouts. Practitioners of all levels and yoga styles can safely use foam rollers and benefit from incorporating them into their routine. Foam rollers come in various lengths and textures, which allows you to customize the intensity of your rolling session or focus on specific muscle groups.
8. Yoga knee pads
Yoga knee pads are typically made from light, supportive foam. They provide extra cushioning, support, and comfort during your practice and can be stacked on top of one another for even more support. Many yoga knee pads include suction on one side, so they stay in place on your mat. Yoga knee pads, as their name suggests, are particularly popular among those with knee aches and pains, but can also be used under the hands, elbows, ankles, and other body areas.
Try an online yoga class for older adults
Pursuing your hobbies or rediscovering your passions has never been easier. With Boomerang, older adults can register for over 250+ online workshops a month in areas of their interest. Explore mindful movement, learn to cook new dishes or get active in virtual yoga classes. Our online workshops are led by passionate hosts to help you explore your interests.
Interested in trying a new yoga class? Browse upcoming online yoga and fitness classes for seniors!!