Yoga Equipment Guide for Beginners

What's Essential and What's Optional When You Start Doing Yoga

Essentila Yoga Equipment
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When you first start doing yoga, it's hard to know what you really need to buy. The yoga industrial complex has put a lot of products into the world, but the good news is that you don't need most of them, especially as a beginner. So don't feel like you need to spend a lot of money up front or you'll be laughed out of the yoga studio. Quite the opposite, in fact. Let's take a closer look at what you do and don't need.



Wear comfortable, breathable clothing for yoga. You'll probably want to wear a shirt that is a little form-fitting, since in some yoga poses (forward bends, for instance) your head comes below your hips and your shirt can slide down. Any exercise pants or shorts with a bit of stretch will do. Leggings are trendy for women, though looser pants are completely ok. Men tend to favor shorts but plenty wear pants as well. If you're going to do hot yoga, we have some more specialized recommendations for you. Sports bras are good for women, but if you don't have one, don't let that stop you. 

You do not need any kind of studio shoes or socks for class. Yoga is most often done barefoot, which is great for those of us who are tired of packing a bulky pair of athletic shoes for after work trips to the gym. Yoga studios will often request that you leave your shoes near the entrance.


Yoga Mat

In gyms and yoga studios, it’s commonplace to use a yoga mat, also called a sticky mat. The mat helps define your personal space, and, more importantly, it creates traction for your hands and feet so you don’t slip, especially as you get a little sweaty. The mat also provides a bit of cushioning on a hard floor.

Most gyms provide mats and studios have them for rent, usually for a dollar or two per class. This is fine for your first few classes, but the disadvantage to these mats is that lots of people use them and you can't be sure how often they are being cleaned. Premium yoga mats can be expensive, but you can also get a starter mat for as little as $20. This mat comparison chart lays it all out for you so you can make an informed decision. 


Yoga props are a real boon to a fledgling yoga practice. Props allow students to maintain the healthiest alignment in a range poses as the body opens up. Props help you get the most out of each pose and avoid injury. You should familiarize yourself with the props described below, but you don't need to buy your own (unless you are starting a home practice) because they are almost always provided by studios and gyms. 


Yoga studios usually have stacks of blankets available for students to use during class. Grab yourself one or two blankets at the beginning of class.

The folded blankets are props to sit and lie on when necessary. For instance, when you sit cross-legged, put a blanket under your sit bones to elevate the hips above the knees. They come in handy for all sorts of things during class, and if it’s chilly you can use them to cover yourself during final relaxation as well.


Like blankets, blocks are props to make yourself more comfortable and improve your alignment. Blocks are great for standing poses in which your hands don't reach the floor.


Straps are particularly useful for bound poses if your hands do not reach each other, and for poses where you need to hold onto your feet but cannot reach them.

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