Tools to Upgrade Your Yoga Practice: Tips for New Caregivers
This article is written by Harry Cline from NewCaregiver.org
Caregivers face a variety of challenges, from stress and isolation to financial burden. These challenges can take a heavy toll on your mental and physical health. It’s crucial to find time for yourself so you can care for your own wellbeing, and yoga is an excellent activity to get you in the self-care mindset. Here are some ways to boost your yoga practice with new equipment and tools, so you can get the most out of your sessions.
Download Yoga Apps
Yoga apps are great for upgrading your home yoga practice. These apps can give you new yoga poses to explore or entire guided practices to follow. Some apps focus on the meditative side of yoga, helping you to master breathing techniques. Other apps provide suggestions for complementary exercises like HIIT, Vinyasa, and Pilates so you can enjoy the benefits of an intense cardio workout in addition to your regular yoga sessions.
If your phone is struggling to support your new yoga apps, consider an upgrade. Look for a device within your budget that offers the right features and the perfect amount of data to support your plan and active lifestyle. Many mobile service providers offer discounts on newer models so you can reduce the upfront cost of an upgrade. You may even get an unlimited plan if your current one is expiring.
Get a Yoga Bolster
In addition to technology, there are several pieces of traditional yoga equipment that can further enhance your practice. A yoga bolster, for example, is great for beginners as well as anyone who wants to work on more difficult yoga poses. Yoga bolsters help support the body and keep everything in alignment—this is essential for avoiding injury and getting the most out of your practice. Caregivers can also benefit from the stress-relieving effects of adding a bolster. The prop is great for supporting the body in restorative poses, providing greater relaxation and healing.
Try an Exercise Ball
An exercise ball is another beneficial yoga prop. If you're used to doing yoga without props, an exercise ball will challenge your body differently. According to Verywell Fit, exercise balls can help strengthen the connective tissues in your joints and fire up your core muscles as you work harder to remain stable in your poses. A simple internet search will yield dozens of yoga videos featuring exercise balls. You’ll even find several exercises for specific joint, back, and knee problems.
Make Use of Yoga Straps
Like exercise balls, yoga straps are excellent for improving flexibility and easing discomfort in tricky poses. For example, you can use a yoga strap in some lower back stretches. Straps are super-affordable yoga props that can help you upgrade your yoga practice to include some more advanced poses that may otherwise be out of your reach. Essentially, these straps extend the reach of your arms. Yoga straps also have a place in restorative yoga, helping align the body in relaxing poses and stretch the chest to combat tight shoulder muscles. You can even use your yoga strap to carry your mat to and from class!
If you’re looking to up the intensity of your yoga sessions, try adding weights! Runner’s World states that yoga can be valuable for building strength, especially if you incorporate weights into your practice. If you enjoy running, strength-building yoga can help you avoid injury and improve your endurance. You can add dumbbells to nearly any yoga pose. To get started, pick up a set of two-pound dumbbells. You may also want to grab some ankle weights to fire up your lower body.
Whether you’ve been doing yoga for years or you’re completely new to the practice, tools and technology can give your routine a boost. Since everyone is a little different, it’s important to try a variety of things until you’ve found what works for you. Finding ways to optimize your yoga practice can help you get the most out of your much-needed me time.