While you don’t have to buy any special yoga equipment to practice yoga, these items may be helpful as you grow in your practice…
One of the great things about yoga is that it’s so accessible. Contrary to some popular yoga myths, you don’t need to be fit, young, or flexible to gain the many benefits of a regular yoga practice. You also don’t need to spend a lot on yoga equipment or gear, and you can easily practice at home if you can’t afford in-person classes.
However, while it’s not required, there are a few things that you may want to have on hand to support you in your yoga journey – especially if you’re new to yoga. Especially if you are learning yoga on your own at home, you will want to make sure that you are safe and performing the moves or poses correctly. This might mean investing a few dollars in some yoga equipment – but don’t worry, there are plenty of options out there to suit any budget.
First and foremost, the most essential piece of equipment for anyone practicing yoga is a good yoga mat. Mats come in many sizes, colors, and materials, so you have many choices when making a purchase. Look for a mat that is large enough for you to stretch out on fully (head to heels). The mat should be dense and supportive, but not to the point where you sink in or wobble while doing your poses. Mats that are lined with non-slip material are your safest bet, as they will protect you even when you are doing more complicated poses. You will also want to make sure your mat is easy to clean. Some yoga mats may even be thrown into the washing machine for convenience. Just make sure to hang your yoga mat to dry fully before putting it away.
You will also find that there are a number of yoga props that may be helpful for your practice. Blocks made especially for yoga students can provide support. Made of dense foam, they can be used to help learn specific positions. These are light and strong so that you can easily take them to and from your class. Bolsters can also be used for the same purpose, and although they are heavier, they may be very helpful for restorative yoga sequences. Yoga straps are small, portable, and affordable – and can be very helpful for those with limited flexibility.
If you do attend yoga classes, you may want to consider purchasing a bag to carry your equipment. Mats can be bulky and difficult to carry when your hands are full, but a yoga mat bag will not only keep them neatly contained, but also may have pockets for your phone, keys, water bottle, and other items. Again, remember to find a material that is not only durable, but also washable, so that you can prevent the spread of germs.
More advanced yoga students may consider other props to help with stretching and correcting postures. For example, a yoga sling can be suspended from the ceiling to help you get comfortable with inverted poses. Yoga ropes also come in handy here, and sets of ropes can be mounted to your walls and ceilings to help your posture and flexibility. You can also find sandbags with handles that can be used to create a more intense stretch when you are doing certain poses. A yoga wheel may also be used to help improve flexibility, and it’s easy to store out of the way when you’re not using it.
Lastly, you will likely want to purchase some books and videos on yoga so that you can continue to learn the art of yoga when you aren’t in class – or if you just want to learn more about yoga in general. When it comes to learning new poses you will often find that it is easier if you have a live coach or instructor to help and show you the correct way – but yoga videos can be very helpful for learning from home.
While you can certainly practice yoga without any special equipment (other than a mat), the right yoga equipment can help you make the most of your practice – no matter what level you’re at.