Who doesn't like a crisp autumn evening when you can cuddle up under a cozy blanket with a cup of hot coffee (or a glass of wine, your choice)?
I know I do.
But have you ever tried using a blanket for yoga? Sure, curling up and sleeping under it might sound much more appealing, but trust me, you won't regret adding this cool yoga prop into your yoga practice.
So today, let's talk about yoga blankets and why they are so awesome!
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A yoga blanket is just a fancy-schmancy word for a single-layered piece of cloth that is suitable for yoga. Suitable as in not too thin or too thick, and supportive enough for asana practice.
Basically, any blanket that's a bit on the thicker side can be a yoga blanket.
A yoga blanket is used for:
Though yoga blankets have been around for years (old yogis didn't have those cool non-slip yoga mats, ya know), we should all credit B.K.S. Iyengar for making this yoga accessory go mainstream.
In fact, when you read his book The Illustrated Light On Yoga, the famous guru advises against doing asanas on a bare floor but use a folded blanket instead:
Do not do them on the bare floor or on an uneven place, but on a folded blanket laid on a level floor.
This list of using a yoga blanket is far from being exhaustive.
While you will probably come across a yoga blanket in more relaxing yoga classes such as Iyengar, Yin, or Restorative Yoga, the most creative yogis even use it for building strength and mobility.
Here are the most common ways to use a yoga blanket in a yoga setting.
That's the most obvious use for a blanket in yoga.
Just cover yourself with the blanket during a final relaxation pose or while meditating. Not only it's super relaxing to feel a bit of pressure from the blanket on your body, but it's also warm and cozy.
Just be careful not to fall asleep!
Trust me, your knees and other bony parts will appreciate some extra attention even if they're completely healthy.
Fold the blanket and place it under your knees or elbows in Cat/Cow, Low Lunge, Bird-Dog, Camel Pose, Side Forearm Plank, etc.
Or simply rest your head on the blanket in Savasana.
Having a hard time keeping your spine straight in a seated position? Sitting on the edge of a folded blanket helps tilt your pelvis forward and lengthen the back.
Really, try it. (Seated Forward Fold and Cobbler's Pose get easier while sitting on the blanket, too!).
Such postures as Child's Pose, Half Pigeon, and the like can be tough for those with tight hips. I know, I've been on a hip-opening journey since I started doing yoga.
A yoga blanket, though, makes these poses less scary and more hip-friendly.
Just roll a yoga blanket tightly and snug it under your buttocks. You'll be able to enjoy the pose twice longer than without the support.
A tightly rolled yoga blanket, for example, can be used as a small bolster to open the chest or to support your knees or neck in Savasana.
A heavy and tightly-knit yoga blanket can substitute a yoga mat if you happen to lack one.
I can even see myself using a rolled yoga blanket as a yoga block that brings the floor closer to me in challenging yoga poses.
A yoga blanket doesn't have to be used for yoga only. Its multifunctionality is what makes a yoga blanket such a cool yoga accessory. So go wild and don't be afraid to get creative with it!
Just some other ideas of how you can use a yoga blanket:
A high-quality yoga blanket is always a good investment and a thoughtful gift. Not only because it will enhance your yoga practice but also because it will keep you warm and cozy for years.
Just don't make the mistake of buying the cheapest item you find.
First, because God only knows how much the workers who loomed this blanket earn and whether they're working in a safe environment in the first place.
Second, the cheapest the item – the less sustainable the production (as a rule).
Third, don't expect quality work. The weave will probably be too loose to support you in yoga postures, there's also a high chance of unraveling and snagging.
I suggest you consider these three essential things when choosing a yoga blanket.
Cotton. Yoga blankets made of cotton are probably the softest on the market.
Cotton fabric is also one of the most durable, and its production is among the safest for the environment (if compared to synthetics production). Organic cotton is even better for the planet and for the people who make your blanket. Yet, it's at least 20-30% more expensive than regular cotton.
The drawback? Cotton yoga blankets can shrink if you happen to wash them in hot water. Plus, a new yoga blanket will probably shed some cotton fibers upon purchase.
Wool. Yoga blankets made of wool are dense, thick, and perfect for colder months.
Wool is considered far more sustainable than cotton since the latter required lots of land and water resources.
The problem with wool, though, is that it's not vegan-friendly. So if you're not supporting the products made from animal material, you probably want to skip this one.
Wool is also more prone to pilling over time compared to cotton.
Blends. Yoga blankets made of the cotton-polyester-acrylic blend are the most affordable and are highly durable. They also often come in bold colors that don't fade after multiple washes.
Look for yoga blankets that are made from recycled materials to minimize the environmental impact.
Handmade Mexican Blanket. The term Mexican Blanket is now used almost synonymously with a yoga blanket. Apparently, B. K. S. Iyengar himself traveled to Mexico and brought a set of Mexican yoga blankets back to the US, making them the staple of every yoga studio.
Mexican blankets are (often) imported straight from Mexico. These are generally handwoven and made of the cotton-polyester-acrylic blend.
You can recognize a traditional Mexican blanket by its bright coloring and ethnic Mexican patterns. Though it's not uncommon now to find Mexican blankets in solid colors.
Mexican Blankets are often referred to as Falsa blanket, Serape, or Saltillo blanket.
Indian Yoga Blankets. Indian Yoga Blankets are hand-loomed in India. They are traditionally made of cotton. When compared to Mexican Yoga Blankets, this style has a vividly tighter knit and no fringe.
Felted Yoga Blankets. Felted Yoga Blankets contain wool. This style of yoga blankets often has a bit more "give" when you put pressure on it compared to cotton and blends. These may not be the most supportive yoga blankets, but they are very dense, thick, warm, and obviously very cuddly.
Yoga Blankets now come in different sizes, and there's no right or wrong here.
A general rule of the thumb is to get a blanket that is large enough to cover you in Savasana. (It's more practical for real life, too). The taller you are, the larger the blanket you will need.
Mind that a large yoga blanket gives you more options for creativity since you can make more shapes from it by folding or rolling. Yet, it will take more time to get from one pose to another since you'll be busy adjusting your large blanket all the time.
Keep your yoga blanket in tip-top shape, and it will pay you back with years of service. Really. Some yoga blankets can last you a lifetime if you take care of them properly.
Always check the manufacturer's instructions before cleaning or washing your blanket. Mind that some blankets (especially those made of wool) require dry cleaning only. If that's a deal-breaker, keep a sharp eye on the washing instructions before reaching for your wallet.
Here are four general tips that will help you keep your yoga blanket as good as new.
There are hundreds of yoga blankets out there. I've put hours of thorough research and my personal experience with yoga blankets to share with you the list of the best yoga blankets.
Each of the five yoga blankets below has something to offer: either extra support, warmth, bold fashion statement, or an opportunity to make greener shopping choices. And I wouldn't hesitate to buy any of them.
Carolina Morning Designs is a perfect example of a truly green and sustainable company.
What do you gain by buying directly from this small business instead of a large online retailer?
High-quality, eco-friendly products that are made in the USA using only domestically grown and ethically harvested materials.
Yoga blankets from Carolina Morning Designs are made from 100% organic cotton. With soft and cushy texture, this yoga prop gets even better after multiple washes.
The blanket is thick enough to keep you warm on a chilly evening, yet it still folds and rolls easily to give you stable support in the yoga practice.
Carolina Morning Designs manufactures their yoga blankets in two gorgeous solid colors and three different sizes (the large size is big enough to cover a Queen Bed in case you enjoy cozy post-yoga naps).
Open Road Goods imports their hand-made yoga blankets all the way from Mexico. Don't worry, though. They are a Fair Trade Certified company, meaning that they ensure safe working conditions and competitive pay for the local artisans.
This yoga blanket from Open Road Goods is not your typical Mexican falsa blanket. It's made of cotton/acrylic/polyester blend, which makes this yoga accessory more durable and sturdier than an average yoga blanket in the market.
It's also thicker and larger than a standard Mexican Falsa blanket, making it an excellent choice for yogis who need extra cushion during the yoga practice.
Mind that because each item is hand-woven, you might receive a slightly different color from what you've initially ordered. On the bright side, your yoga blanket will be unique, just like you.
Benevolence LA makes products with a purpose. Each time you purchase from the company, you support the charitable work they are doing together with their NGO partners.
A part of profits from selling these yoga blankets, for example, goes to providing villages in Africa with clean water.
The yoga blankets from Benevolence LA are handwoven in Mexico using 100% recycled acrylic fibers. They aren't as thick or tightly woven as some of their more expensive counterparts. On the other hand, these yoga accessories are very flexible and can be easily rolled or folded for a cushy and soft yoga practice.
Just in case you're not satisfied with your yoga blanket, the company offers a full refund with no questions asked up to 30 days after the purchase.
If you're living in the colder part of the world and awaiting a drop in the temperature, you'll definitely love this warm all-purpose blanket from RUTH & BOAZ.
It's 20% wool – a perfect amount to keep you warm in Savasana while staying soft without "that" itchy feel of wool.
Apart from practicing yoga with it, you can use the accessory as a throw blanket for your couch or take it out for camping during the autumn season. Besides, the Inka pattern is just beautiful.
Made of the poly-acrylic blend, this striped Mexican blanket from Spirit Quest Supplies is thick, heavy, and sturdy. Thanks to its tight weave, it can easily double as a yoga rug and can even be used outdoors.
You probably wouldn't want to cover yourself with this blanket in Savasana since it's not as plush as props made of cotton. But when folded, it can replace a bolster for meditation or as a block for adding height in yoga poses.
And it's super stylish, too. The bright pattern of the yoga blanket from Spirit Quest Supplies will make any home yoga corner or a simple couch play out in fresh colors (especially on a cold winter day).
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