Sara's Favorite Things!
Over the course of my personal practice and through research I've found a few props, books and healthy lifestyle ideas that I find work best for me & thought I'd share them. On the links below you'll find a few of my favorites. The products listed may contain affiliate links however you will NOT pay more when buying a product through my links. I only recommend products that I use and love. But please do not feel obligated to purchase anything through my links.
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Yoga & Fitness:
- Blocks-blocks are great for various reasons. For chair/office yoga if you're short like me and your feet don't quite reach the floor when sitting down, putting a block under your feet gives you more support. Blocks can support your head and neck in lying poses or support your weight during standing and sitting poses and can build balance. Wedges are useful to place under your heals in a standing forward bend or use a wedge instead of a block to support your bent leg in pigeon pose.
- Straps-my practice and teaching always includes using a strap. I prefer straps with d-ring and either 8 inch or 10 inch. Straps with cinch closures are also good. There are countless ways to incorporate straps into your practice. Straps help to move you into a pose when your shoulders or hamstrings are tight. A few poses where I use straps are poses that open the shoulders or where you're tight going into a side stretch, bound angle pose, dancers pose, cow face pose, and both half and boat pose.
- Mats- two of my favorite mats are from Jade and Manduka. I've used numerous mats over the years and both of these rank the best for me regarding reducing 'slippage'. If you're like me and the minute you start your practice your hands or feet start to sweat, which affects your ability to stay in poses such as downward dog for any length of time, these in my opinion work the best.
- Balance Ball-having had major back surgery in my past, yoga has absolutely helped me immensely. In addition to yoga, I do other forms of exercise to keep my strength and flexibility in tact and one way is by using a balance ball. It took me a few tries to figure out how to best use the ball and have it not slide from underneath me (should have filmed those first few tries for a blooper video) but after a few trial and error periods it became second nature and has really built my back strength.
- Bolster-bolsters are a nice addition to your practice. Think of a bolster as a body pillow, just one that is firmer and usually rectangular or circular in shape. Using a bolster helps to create relaxation, maintains proper posture and can aid in opening the body. A few poses where you can use a bolster include Savasana, supported backbend, supported forward fold and supported king pigeon. If you're a fan of restorative yoga, a bolster is a must!
- Kids Yoga-one of the formal classes that I teach focuses on children's yoga. Having their own mat that fits their little bodies is fun for little ones and this mat fits perfect and is super cute! This mat is pretty universal and can be used for yoga, tummy time and even playtime when you want a little cushion. A side benefit to building posture, children love to sit on a balance ball while they watch tv!
- Eye Pillow-this type of eye pillow worn during Savasana can help you to completely relax, shutting out any incoming light plus the lavender sent is super relaxing! If you prefer an unscented version and one that can be used hot or cold especially if you just to relax after a long day this one is really nice.
- Yoga Socks- my body temperature tends to be more on the cold side (all.the.time.) so wearing socks keeps my feet warm when I'm practicing at home. Also if I'm using a mat that has some slippage these socks with little grips keep me from slipping around on my mat. If you're taking a class having the cutouts allow a yoga teacher to see your toes to check on proper alignment.
- Senior Yoga/Office Yoga-another formal class that I enjoy teaching is one that helps people of all ages who may experience difficulties in moving swiftly from mat to standing. An expanded versions of chair yoga that I enjoy teaching is how to build yoga into your daily activities while sitting for long periods of time, especially helpful for those hunched over a desk or computer keyboard for long periods. I use the balance ball off and on when I sit at my desk along with straight or traditional off chair. It's a great way to build your core muscles and build stamina and balance while you're doing other activities.
- Hydration: Staying hydrated is critical and getting enough water just on a daily basis can be challenging let alone rehydrating after a workout. I've used many water bottles over the years, mostly all plastic, of various sizes and shapes. This bottle has become my absolute favorite for keeping cold and hot beverages at the proper temperature while I'm in yoga or pilates classes, taking a walk, sitting on the beach and for travel. It comes in several sizes, most fit easily into your car cup holder, and so many fun colors, it's been my favorite gift to give family and friends!
- Visualization- many years ago a good friend taught me the art of using visualization in my daily life and this is by far the best book I've read on the benefits, showing you how to build visualization into your life. I use the script that I create for visualization and tape myself reading it so that as I relax, especially right before bed, I can play the tape over and over as I drift off to sleep. My copy of this book is well worn and dogeared!
- Children's Yoga- this is a great book for simple and easy ways to build yoga into your baby's routine. Yoga can help your baby with digestion, better sleep and assist with relieving gas. Plus it's a fun way to add a warm loving touch to playtime.
- Meditation- this book has been on my shelf for many years and is a great refresher for mindfulness, renewal and bringing calm into my life. Looking for a more instructional book on sitting, breathing, relaxation and use of mantras, this book is a good one.
- Anatomy-during my training this book made learning easy and fun, plus coloring brings out the kid in everyone and this one was a great resource for both my teaching and my personal practice.
- Partner Yoga-want to add some fun into your yoga practice? Grab a partner or friend and a copy of partner yoga for beautifully illustrated poses that can be done together. While some poses may appear difficult having taken a partner yoga class myself, you'll be surprised how much fun you'll have!
- DVD's- want to try yoga in the privacy of your home, but aren't sure where to start? Video's can be a great start to building a home practice or to take with you when you're on the road or in inclement weather and can't get to a formal class.
- Yoga for Scoliosis- with a private client that has curvature of the spine I've found this book and this DVD to be a great addition to my teaching.