Demand for yoga props on the rise

Demand for yoga props on the rise

Picture credit: Melissa West/

Even as the world celebrates the 100th birth anniversary of yoga guru Dr BKS Iyengar today, there is a burgeoning demand for props in the system he popularised.

People are increasingly taking to yoga to de-stress, get some exercise or more importantly, lead a better quality of life.

Practitioners of various styles of yoga have always used props like yoga mats, wooden/ hard rubber blocks, belts, ropes, bolsters, steel chairs and thick cotton sheets during practice. However, sourcing them had been a bit of a challenge till recent times.

People would use props in classes at yoga training institutes. The serious practitioners will often begin to practice at home to get postures right and buying props becomes a necessity. Props are used to support various parts of the body during practice.

Yogavijnana is a yoga prop retailer in Bengaluru. “The market is definitely growing. We get orders from all over the country and even abroad sometimes,” said store founder Vinay Siddaiah.

“Blocks and belts are the most popular products since they can be used with any style of yoga. We sell about 50 bricks a month and a similar number of belts and ropes. When it comes to chairs, it is about 40 a month. We expect sales figures to grow as more people are taking up yoga seriously,” he added.

There is a huge range of props available in western countries, but the market is in its nascent stage in India. However, it is definitely set to grow.

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The most important accessory is perhaps the yoga mat. It gives the practitioner firm grip if the floor is smooth and to prevent slipping due to sweat.

Take Trikonasana (triangle pose) as an example. If one is not able to place the palm on the floor, a block can be used till the individual attains enough flexibility to reach the floor.

To keep the legs vertically up, a rope can be used. The looped ends are held with the hands and the centre portion goes over the soles of the feet while doing Padangusthasana (big toe pose).

A folding steel chair can be used to perform Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). Firm bolsters can be used to support the shoulders in this asana.

Naturally, the need for props arises and that is when the hunt begins. Till a few years ago, it was pretty difficult to source props. But with yoga getting more popular by the day, there is a growing market for these products.

One way of getting hold of props is to go through the yoga instructor. However, things are getting easier with a lot of online e-commerce portals offering a wide range of products.

Mats can cost anywhere between Rs 500 and several thousands. The better mats are made of natural rubber and provide far better grip. Many sports equipment companies have mats on offer, but the better natural rubber mats can mostly be bought abroad (Manduka, Hugger Mugger, Jade, Lululemon etc.). Indian companies are slowly introducing good quality mats for the serious practitioner.

Wooden/ hard rubber blocks can be bought from Rs 300 onwards from brands like Strauss, Yogikuti, Yogasya, Reebok, Vector and others.

Belts and ropes begin from Rs 250 or so for a single unit, while chairs will cost about Rs 800-900 in the local market to over Rs 2000 online.

Bolsters with cotton stuffing are ideal for practice, but there are brands that offer them with buckwheat husk inside. They are priced Rs 1200 onwards in bedding stores, but branded bolsters could be costlier. It all depends on the weight of the bolster.