These Are a Few of My Favorite Things:Props of an Ashtangi

By Jasmine Grace

To practice yoga you really just need any old mat and a space big enough to fit your extended limbs. Not even this, really, if you are doing pranayama or any of the other limbs of yoga. However, I do find myself having some preferences about my yogic props. Not to mean I have attachment to these material things but sometimes it is the little “things” that bring me ritualistic joy.
These are a few of my favorite things [breakout in The Sound of Music song]:

 
Manduka Black Mat PRO:
The Black Mat PRO (formerly known as the Black Mat) is what Manduka would call a “soul mat”. When you first get this mat it requires consistent practice to wear it in and create the sticky and amazing surface that supports your practice for a lifetime. In fact, this mat does come with a lifetime warranty. Pretty cool! For me my Black Mat PRO has the grooves of consistent practice over time. Stepping on this mat is part of the ritual that takes me to the place that allows me to strengthen, relax and grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

 
Mysore Rug
I have a couple of different Mysore rugs. A Mysore rug is a weaved, throw-like covering the same size as a yoga mat. I often place it on top of my yoga mat when I begin the seated poses. Personally, I love that I can easily wash the rugs, and they are a nice addition to my practice in the early mornings when the room is hot and my body is sweaty.

 
Colorful Hand Towels
I love Manduka and Yogi Toes hand towels. They come in great colors and styles and can double as a grip for the days when your hands are extra slippery. I also use a clean hand towel as a dry-off after yoga practice; they are super absorbent and help me go from practice, to teaching, and to the office!

 
David Swenson’s Ashtanga Practice Manual and Practice Card
I am currently memorizing the Ashtanga Second Series. I could not do it without this book and the practice cards by David Swenson. The detailed pictures and precise language is a must for any Ashtangi looking to learn and advance their practice. Love David Swenson! Check out his workshops at Yoga on High in 2013.

 
Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa Agarbatti Incense
Ahh, the sweet smell of my meditation ritual! This particular brand of incense is the only type that doesn’t bother me. The smell just transmits me to a relaxed and open place, although, I am sure it is the meditation practice that keeps me coming back. The ritual of lighting the incense stick is like stepping on my mat.

 
Sesame Oil & Coconut Oil
When you have an intense daily practice, or you are working on a specific pose or action your muscles can become a little sore and tired. I find that having a self-care regimen is a must to be able to maintain such rigor and to bring in an element of ahimsa (non-harming). I highly recommend using an oil such as sesame or coconut. I like to use either of these, depending on the season or how my body is feeling. There are also many different type of therapeutic Aruyvedic oils available. Castor oil is a good choice for injuries. Oils truly make you feel good inside and out. Pair one with a warm bath and you are golden!

 
Young Living Essential Oils
Inhale lavender and feel a little more calm, put a couple of drops of peppermint on your tongue and freshen your breath, use Thieves for a sore throat, and the list goes on. I have been using aromatherapy oils for years as a wellness enhancer. I particularly love the therapeutic grade oils from Young Living. In fact if you want to learn more about integrating aromatherapy into your life we have a workshop this December with Tracy Griffiths.

 
My Lululemon Yoga Pants
This may sound cheesy but I love the quality of my “Lulu” yoga pants. They are thick, strong and like my favorite pair of jeans! I have purchased cheaper yoga pants but they rarely last and I never feel as good in them as I do my Lululemon clothing.

 
Malabeads
Chanting and malabeads have me intrigued. A meditation “thumb” of my mala beads can clear my head and help me center myself. A perfect pick me up during a busy day, before a yoga practice or at bedtime. There are numerous chants that can be chanted with these beads. Sometimes I combine chanting with a pranayama practice.

 
Again, I don’t need any of these “things” but I have found that they help me in my daily practice rituals. They also may spark some gift giving ideas for the holidays. Many of these products are in our gift shop. This holiday buy local!