As a beginner, it’s easy to get lost in everything there is to learn about yoga. Especially the gear.
Learning what you need, what each piece of gear does, and how to get the best use out of it is crucial to helping you have a well rounded experience, and getting the most out of your practice.
Below are the basics to help you get started. While you may not need everything on this list as soon as you start doing yoga, you may figure out that other pieces of gear are needed to help you stretch deeper, and stay mindful of each pose you perform.
You can’t start doing poses in your everyday workout clothes. You need a pair of pants that are designed to bend and move with you while you’re switching from position to position, without riding up on you.
Like the pants you choose, a top is just as important. A lot of yogis prefer tank tops because they stay close to the body, and still wick away moisture so you don’t have to worry about sweat hitting your mat, or ended up in the wrong places.
Your mat is, arguably, one of the most important pieces of gear you can buy. You need a mat that’s long and wide enough for you to sprawl out on, while also being thick enough for you to not dig into the floor while you’re stretching.
If you find yourself slipping around on your mat, a high quality pair of yoga socks may be required to help keep you in place. The socks fit tight to your feet, and have sticky soles on them to keep your toes and heels from sliding around on your mat while you move.
Like your socks, yoga gloves can help keep you from sliding, and help you push deeper into your poses. Keeping you firmly planted, the gloves feature the same sticky soles that your socks will, except they line your fingers.
If you’re not exactly flexible, which most beginners aren’t, you can use straps to help pull your upper body closer to your lower body.
To give you an idea, think about trying to bend over and touch your toes. Would you be able to? With a strap, you can wrap it around your feet, and pull your upper body closer to your toes.
Bolsters are blocks and wedges that help get certain parts of your body up off of the floor so you can perform poses that require you to lift your body in certain ways. With a block, you can prop yourself up and hold the pose, instead of having to use extra body strength to stabilize yourself.
Yoga balls are a great way to stretch out different parts of your body, while also working to help build your core muscles to stabilize yourself in more strenuous poses.
Yoga towels are just like a mat, except they handle you sweating a lot better. If you’re going to regularly attend “hot yoga” classes, you may prefer a towel over a mat.
While most of the gear on this list isn’t exactly required to get you started practicing yoga, you will need to make sure that you’ve got a high quality mat, and at least a comfortable pair of pants and a shirt that will let you freely move around from pose to pose.
The rest of the gear on this list will help enhance your practice, by allowing you to stick to the mat instead of sliding around, or work deeper into the poses that you may have problems performing because of your lack of flexibility.