Just getting started with yoga? If you’re a beginner, you likely don’t have any of the tools on hand that you might find at your local yoga studio. However, these tools are crucial for getting in a good workout, as well as for keeping you safe during your yoga practice.
Whether you’re looking into yoga to increase your flexibility, increase core strength or just relax and decrease stress, here are the eight best products for yoga beginners.
1. A Yoga Mat
First things first, you’re going to need a yoga mat. While you could technically do yoga just on your carpet, that’s a beginner’s mistake you won’t want to make. The right yoga mat will give you the level of support you need (go with a softer mat for more joint support), while giving you a safe, grippy, and comfortable surface on which to work.
You’ll want to consider your yoga mat needs (what level of support do you need? do you need a yoga mat that can be taken on the go? do you want a yoga mat that’s water-resistant, if you sweat a lot?) and then make the best decision for you.
Manduka offers a range of mats that are highly rated and beloved by yoga practitioners the world over. Check out what they can provide (as well as their other yoga accessories that they offer from this list, such as yoga blocks, mat towels and more!).
2. A Mat Towel
In addition to your yoga mat, you’ll want a yoga mat towel, especially if you plan to practice a particularly sweaty or strenuous variant of yoga. A mat towel will soak up your sweat while leaving your mat dry so that you don’t end up slipping and sliding on a mat that’s suddenly an exercise hazard.
(Don’t want to drop the cash just yet on a yoga-specific mat towel? Try using a hand or beach towel at first, before you take the plunge.)
3. A Yoga Block
A yoga block is usually made from wood, foam, or cork and is designed to help you achieve harder yoga positions with greater flexibility and balance. For example, if you’re doing a simple pose that requires you to bend hands over head to touch the mat, and your fingers can’t quite reach, a yoga block can give you an extra few inches, so you can achieve the pose and gain the benefits until you’re flexible enough to achieve the pose on your own.
4. A Yoga Strap
Similarly, a yoga strap helps you to achieve a wider range of poses as well. Sometimes also called a resistance band, a yoga strap is simply a (usually) stretchy band of material that allows you to loop the material around your feet, legs or arms as needed, to pull your limbs into the proper position for whatever pose you’re attempting.
5. Yoga Clothes
While you don’t necessarily need yoga-specific clothes, it is helpful to have clothes that are suitable for yoga before you being practicing, whether you’re at home or going to a studio. You want clothes that are light, breathable, and comfortable, and that aren’t terribly tight. You want to be able to freely move, without restriction or discomfort.
6. A Water Bottle
All that exercise can make you thirsty! Having a good water bottle on hand can ensure that you always have a cool drink at the ready. Go with a variant with a sturdy bottom and a secure top, so you don’t risk spilling your drink all over your floor or carpet if you accidentally nudge it out of the way during one of your poses.
7. An Essential Oil Diffuser
Essential oils aren’t just for relaxation. Whether you’re getting into yoga to destress or to get in an extra, low-impact workout, the right essential oils can enhance your experience. Use lavender for a stress-free yoga session, or something like rosemary or eucalyptus for an invigorating session that leaves you feeling renewed and ready for your next life challenge, whether it’s the upcoming workday or simply getting the kids ready for school.
8. The Right Guidance and Resources
When getting into yoga for the first time, choose some helpful materials to guide you through the first few stages of getting acclimated with the practice, poses and entire yoga lifestyle. You can find plenty of free apps (like Down Dog), YouTube channels, and blogs that all are dedicated to introducing beginners to yoga.