Yoga is an Indian cultural practice that has become very popular in the United States. There’s no doubt about it, once you get into yoga, you’ll never want to stop. But selecting the right gear and accessories can be difficult for beginners.
If you’re getting started with yoga, you probably have a lot of questions about equipment. Especially if you are practicing at home.
What kind of gear do I need? How much should I spend on it?
This beginner’s guide will walk you through different types of yoga accessories. These recommendations will set you up to be a functioning yogi in no time.
Mats are important for practicing yoga for two reasons. They help you keep traction instead of sliding around. They also put some padding between you and the floor.
Yoga mats vary in thickness. If you find that your knees or elbows are very sensitive to the hardness of the ground you might want to buy a thicker mat. Standard mats are about 3-5mm thick. Check out this one from Yoga Outlet.
Some custom mats will also include accommodations for your specific body type or height. These can be very helpful. But if they don’t fit your body well, they can do more harm than good.
Custom yoga mats can be well worth the investment. But you need to make sure your custom mat is actually a good fit for you. For common mistakes to avoid when shopping for a custom yoga mat, read this article.
Mats are usually the first investment a yoga beginner will make. Many studios will have them available for rent for a class if you need one. But if you are going to go to multiple sessions, or do yoga from home, you should buy one.
If you’re commuting with your mat, you might also want to buy a mat holder. They will help you easily carry your mat to and from the yoga studio with minimal hassle.
Blocks are very useful for yoga practitioners of all skill levels, but especially for those who are just getting started with yoga. Blocks can help you elongate your natural shape, which is very helpful for poses that take a while to achieve.
Blocks can make advanced moves more doable for beginners or intermediate practitioners. Many people recommend buying two blocks so that you can achieve balance in both hands or feet.
Foam blocks aren’t very expensive, so it won’t set you back much to buy two.
Some longterm yoga practitioners prefer to use wooden blocks, which are a little bit more expensive. Still, they last a very long time, making them worthwhile in the long run.
However, one of the concerns regarding foam and wooden blocks is that they are not always as environmentally friendly as cork blocks.
Depending on how they are produced, cork blocks can be a more sustainable alternative to wood or foam options. Check out these from Manduka.
The one thing to keep in mind with cork blocks is they will sometimes absorb sweat or other moisture. So if you get them, make sure to also purchase a good cleaning spray and towel.
Not all yoga instructors use blocks in their sessions, especially if they are trying to keep a constant flow going. Determine if your instructor recommends them, or if you need them for your own support before you purchase them.
Bands are great for strength training in yoga. Beginners do not necessarily need to purchase bands right away.
Once you meet with your instructor you will be able to determine if you will need to buy bands for your own personal use.
That being said, bands are commonly used in yoga, pilates, and other floor exercises. So they are an extremely versatile investment.
Before setting foot on the mat, proper apparel is a must. People new to yoga might think that any athletic wear will do, but you might want to be a little bit more specific about your clothing choices.
First of all, you do not wear shoes when practicing yoga. So you will not need to buy special footwear.
However, if you are uncomfortable being barefoot in a yoga studio, you will want to buy socks with sticky parts for traction. If you wear regular socks, your feet will slip on the mat.
During a yoga routine, you will change positions frequently. So if you have long hair, you’ll need to have a scrunchie or something else that will hold it back.
You’ll also want to choose clothing that is tight but not too tight.
Why? If your clothing is too loose, it will fall over your head or hang off you in uncomfortable ways when you switch positions.
If your clothing is too tight, it will restrict your movement. That would defeat the whole purpose of yoga.
Check out the stylish options at Glamourina as a starting point.
Most athletic wear that fits that description will work for you. But it is always wise to invest in materials that will wick moisture off of you.
You are likely to sweat a lot when you practice yoga. Especially if you get involved in Bikram yoga. (This is when you practice yoga at elevated temperatures.)
If you invest in material that will help you manage your sweat, your body will be more likely to maintain a healthy temperature. Plus, it will assist in odor control.
Getting Started With Yoga
These are all the materials you might need for getting started with yoga. There are a variety of options within each category, so make sure you follow these tips on choosing which product might be the most useful to you.
Whether you’re practicing yoga at home or in a studio, this equipment is sure to help you maximize your experience.