Here are my top 5 things you need for your home prenatal yoga practice and why.
1. YOGA MAT – and a good one. Good means that it has a good thickness and is NOT just a regular exercise mat. Most exercise mats don’t provide enough traction and #1 rule when doing prenatal yoga is: DO NOT FALL. If you get a mat and you find that your hands are slippery, you can do a few things. 1) clean it with a good mat cleaner. Give it a good scrub where your hands and feet go to help release some of the waxy layer on top of the mat. Be careful not to take too much off your mat. and 2) if that doesn’t work, let your partner use it for a bit to get some wear and tear out of the mat.
2. YOGA BLOCKS. Which ones? it honestly doesn’t matter as long as you don’t fall. If the blocks are lightweight you might loose balance and risk falling. If you’re concerned you can always invest in some heavier duty blocks like cork, wood or a denser foam (usually more costly).
FIND IT AT HOME: If you don’t want to buy blocks, you can always find some thick books/textbooks around the house and use those to help you in your poses.
3. BLANKET. Yoga blankets help pad sensitive joints, elevate the body/hips or are even used to help you keep warm during savasana. Joints can become sensitive in pregnancy and we want to support your practice with as little aches and pains as possible. Yoga studios usually purchase special yoga blankets, but this isn’t necessary for your home practice.
FIND IT AT HOME: you can use any blanket or thin pillow at home to support your practice. If it’s not thick enough, just fold it over until it’s a good height.
4. BOLSTER. Yoga bolsters are pretty expensive if you purchase a good quality one. They are different than a pillow because they are firm and provide good support even when you’re laying on it. Bolster are often used during savasana to help support the prenatal client when laying on their backs. Often as baby grows, it can become difficult to lay flat on your back. Any signs of discomfort, nausea or difficulty breathing are signs that you might consider savanasa with a bolster prop or simply by laying on your side. If you wanted to purchase this, bolsters can cost around $100 or more for a good one. I would suggest going with a yoga prop company such as Halfmoon, BYOGA, Gaiam or even amazon has a few good ones too.
FIND IT AT HOME: A way to make this at home is to grab a pillow case and a bunch of towels and blankets. Lay all the towels on top of each other to create a rectangle the size of a bolster. Make sure you have a pillow case big enough to fit the size of your rectangle. Use a blanket to do a final wrap around your towel tower. Once you have created your designed thickness slip the pillow case over and secure it with an elastic band. This heavy but firm homemade bolster will be a great prop for your savasana variation.
5. STRAP – Last but not least. I would say this is the MOST IMPORTANT prop. As your belly grows, there will come a day in your practice where you cannot grab your feet anymore in some of your poses. A strap can be used in so many poses: seated forward fold (Paschimottanasana), happy baby (Ananda Balasana), cow face pose (Gomukasana) and the list goes on. Don’t spend a fortune here, straps can be purchased at your local fitness depot for 5 to 10 bucks. No need to purchase a fancy one from Lululemon or a brand name yoga props store.
FIND IT AT HOME: You don’t even need to buy a “yoga” strap, just look for an old belt you have at home that doesn’t have too much elasticity in it. Sometimes your yoga mat will come with a mat strap to hold it together – that’s also a great “strap” to use for your yoga practice.
Hope this helps your home yoga practice!