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Essential Yoga Gear

May 3rd, 2010 No comments

Yoga gear for before, during and after class

Before you discover the positive benefits offered by yoga, which include increased flexibility, mood enhancement, muscle strengthening and better health, you might be wondering what kind of equipment you’ll need to get yoga’s full benefits.

What you’ll need
Yoga mat - Thicker mats will provide more cushioning, but a mat that’s too thick can make it harder to stay balanced. A ¼ inch or 6.2mm mat is generally adequate. Sticky mats are perfect for gripping the floor. If you aren’t familiar with them they are just as they sound - sticky, which means they’ll hold tight to almost any surface. They also provide a better gripping surface for hands and feet. Yoga mats can be purchased for as little as $15.
Comfy clothing - The same as with Pilates, yoga practitioners require clothing they can move in. It’s a good idea to wear a close-fitting shirt so you don’t expose yourself when you’re doing a downward dog. Pants can be a bit looser, but avoid slippery materials that can cause you to lose your hold in some poses. Yoga outfits have become increasingly fashionable as well as being functional so it’s easy to find clothes that work and make you look stylish.

Extras
Yoga has become as much about style as it is about . There are literally hundreds of brands selling thousands of styles of yoga bags, clothing, accessories and
Yoga bag - Bags of all shapes and sizes are handy when it comes to carting your mat between home and classroom. Bags with a drawstring or full length zipper and roomy interior are a good choice. As are any with straps that you can easily sling over the shoulders.
Props - Blocks, blankets, straps and ropes are used by beginner and advanced yogis for several reasons. Ropes are secured to a wall and allow the yoga practitioner to perform advanced bending, stretching and abdominal movements. Blocks are made of a lightweight foam and give support and height during different moves. Sand bags act as soft weights for the limbs or torso. Yogis use them to intensify stretches. Blankets are used for padding and comfort. Straps add length between limbs that can’t reach each other naturally. They would loop over the foot of a straightened leg and be held in one or both hands.
Neti pot - This yoga accessory is not one you’d expect, but it offers benefits you might just come to rely on. A neti pot is a tool used to push salt water into one nostril, up through the sinus cavity and back out through the other nostril. The rinse, also known as nasal irrigation, removes allergens, pollution and other irritants, making you breathe easier during yoga practice. Neti pots have been used by yogis for thousands of years.

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Essential Pilates Gear

May 3rd, 2010 No comments

Get the most out of your next Pilates session

Other than a mat and a little know-how Pilates doesn’t really require any special equipment, but there are several products that can be used to make the moves a lot more challenging and fun. Besides that is the apparel and footwear that keeps you comfortable and

What you’ll need
Mat - This is most important when it comes to Pilates and Yoga equipment. A good mat should be thick enough that you can kneel on it comfortably and it shouldn’t slide around. Rubber mats are a popular choice.
Comfy clothing - Dressing for Pilates is all about being able to move. Close fitting items in stretchy fabrics are some of the best choices. It’s also a good idea to avoid apparel with buttons or other closures that can make certain moves uncomfortable.
Good instructions - If you’ve joined a class with a certified instructor you probably won’t need to worry about this one. But if you’re planning to get into Pilates at home you should make sure you’re performing the moves right, or you’ll risk injury. There are a number of Pilates workout videos and instructional manuals that will have you mastering one hundreds in no time.
Footwear - Many people prefer to perform Pilates barefoot or in socks, but stretchy slip-on Pilates shoes keep your feet warm, maintain foot flexibility and allow beginners to grip the floor easier. Many cost as little as $40.

Extras
Reformer - A gliding platform atop a frame made of metal or wood, this machine allows the user to stand, sit, kneel or lie in almost any direction. Using handles and bands they perform various pushing and pulling motions to slide the platform against spring tension. This machine is for serious Pilates enthusiasts.
Stability ball - The unstable surface of the stability ball is often used in Pilates to activate core stabilizing muscles.
Strength training accessories - Resistance bands, light free weights, weighted balls, circles, rings and more can be used while performing Pilates exercises.
Pilates chair - This stool has a spring controlled step and allows the user to perform over 75 exercises.