- Created: 10-27-21
- Last Login: 10-27-21
When you first start doing yoga, it's hard to know what you
really need to buy. The
yoga mat continues to develop so much clothing and equipment
that you might feel you need to spend hundreds of dollars before ever
stepping foot in a studio.
The good news is, you actually need very little to get started. That
said, if you're starting a home practice, or you'd feel
better purchasing yoga-specific apparel and equipment prior to your
first class, here's what you need to know.
It should go without saying that most aerial yoga accessories
want you to wear something to class, but you don't need scores of
printed yoga pants or designer gear to be accepted by your peers.
Start with the comfortable, breathable athletic apparel you already
have on hand, and purchase mid-level basics for anything you're
Pants or Shorts: You can't go wrong with a few pairs of solid-
color yoga pants in black, dark grey, navy, or brown. You can mix-
and-match these tights with a wide variety of tops, and if you
purchase high-quality options, they can last a long time.
If tight pants aren't your thing, look for jogger-style pants or
the popular harem-style pants that have elastic around the ankles.
These pants are stretchy and offer a little extra room, but due to
the ankle elastic, they'll stay in place throughout your
Shorts are a popular option for guys, and they're also
appropriate for women, especially if you plan to try hot yoga. Just
keep in mind, you may want to wear form-fitting spandex shorts or
looser shorts with connected tights underneath because some poses
require you to position your legs in a way that could leave you
uncomfortably uncovered with looser, running-style shorts.
Tops: It's important to wear tops that are fairly form-
fitting so your shirt doesn't fly over your head during forward
bends. Wicking material is helpful, especially if you tend to sweat a
lot or if you plan on attending a hot yoga class.
Because yoga rooms are sometimes kept cool, you may want to bring
a light cover up or sweater with you to class. You can wear it until
class starts, and if you keep it by your mat, you can put it on
before the final savasana.
Sports Bras: If you're a woman, make sure you wear a sports bra.
TPE yoga mat tends to be a low-impact activity, a decent sports
bra can help keep your "girls" in place as you transition
between poses, making your practice more comfortable.
Hair Ties or Headbands: Whether you're a man or woman, if you
have long hair, you need to secure it in place before you start class
to prevent stray locks from falling in your eyes and face. A basic
hair tie or headband should do the trick.
Yoga Socks: To be clear, yoga socks are not a requirement to
attend a class. In fact, it's preferable to do yoga barefoot.
That said if you can't fathom the thought of taking your socks
and shoes off in front of strangers, invest in a pair of yoga socks
with grips on the bottom so you can keep your feet covered while
maintaining good traction. Standard socks absolutely won't do, as
you'll end up slipping and sliding all over your mat.
These days, you can buy yoga apparel practically anywhere, and
it's not unusual to see yoga pants priced at over $100. Don't
feel you need to lay out that much cash for a single pair of pants!
Target, Amazon, and YogaOutlet offer quality options for well under
$50. Buy a couple pairs of pants and a few tops, and you'll be
set for months.
As you commit yourself to your practice, you may decide to add
trendy prints or styles to your wardrobe.
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're being cleaned, so you may
consider buying your own.
Premium yoga mats can be expensive, often around $80 to $120, but
it's possible to find a starter mat for as little as $20 from
retailers like Target and Amazon. Just keep in mind, if you decide to
buy a cheaper mat, you'll probably find yourself replacing it in
short order if you use it often. If you're really ready to commit
to a yoga practice, your mat is one place it's worth it to lay
out some cash.
Decide which mat features are important to you—for instance, length,
thickness, material, durability, comfort, traction, or how to keep it
clean—then buy a mat with good reviews based on your needs. Manduka
and Lululemon are known for the quality of their Pro Mat and The
Reversible Mat, respectively, but other brands, including Jade and
Yellow Willow, also offer high-quality, durable mats with good
traction and support.
Yoga props are a boon to a fledgling suede yoga mat
practice. Props allow students to maintain the healthiest alignment
in a range of poses as the body bends, twists, and opens up. They
also help you get the most out of each pose while avoiding injury.1
You should familiarize yourself with the props described below, but
you don't need to buy your own (unless you're starting a home
practice) because they are almost always provided by studios and
Mat Bags or Slings
If you own your own yoga mat, and you're going to be lugging it
back and forth to the studio on a regular basis, there's a
legitimate case to be made for purchasing a mat bag or sling. These
accessories do exactly what they suggest—they make it easy for you
to sling your rolled mat over your shoulder without it coming
Slings usually use velcro straps to bind your mat in its rolled
configuration with a connecting strap you can throw over your
shoulder. Slings sometimes offer additional pockets for storage, but
not always. Bags, on the other hand, typically come in one of two
styles. One version uses velcro straps to keep your rolled mat secure
against a larger gym bag. The other version is essentially a snap- or
zipper-closure bag specifically designed to hold your rolled mat.
Both styles provide extra storage for clothing, wallets, cell phones,
and the like.
The style and brand you choose really comes down to personal
preference and budget, as slings can cost as little as $10, and
heavy-duty bags can cost well over $100. For variety, check out
YogaOutlet, where you can find an array of brands at reasonable
Yoga studios usually have stacks of blankets available for students
to use during class. Grab one or two blankets at the beginning of
Folded blankets can be used to lift the hips during seated poses, or
to offer support during lying poses. For instance, when you sit
cross-legged, you can place a blanket under your sit bones to elevate
the hips above your knees. Blankets come in handy for all sorts of
things during class, and if it’s chilly, you can use them to cover
up during the final relaxation.
For a home practice, there's truly no reason to purchase new
blankets. Simply use what you already have on hand around the house.
If, however, you don't own any extra blankets, YogaOutlet offers
them for as little as $13.
Like blankets, yoga blocks are used to make you more comfortable and
improve your alignment. Blocks are particularly useful for standing
poses in which your hands are supposed to be on the floor.
Placing a block under your hand has the effect of "raising the
floor" to meet your hand rather than forcing the hand to come to
the floor while effectively compromising some other part of the pose.
This can be seen in half moon pose. Many people don't have the
hamstring flexibility or core strength to hold the position with
By placing a block under the hand that's reaching toward the
floor, it's easier to keep the chest open and torso strong.
Without the block, the chest might be inclined to turn toward the
floor, the supporting knee might be inclined to bend, and the torso
might be inclined to "collapse." The simple use of the
block helps maintain proper alignment.
Yoga blocks are made of foam, wood, or cork. They can be turned to
stand at three different heights, making them very adaptable. If you
plan to do a lot of swivel at home it's worth it to get a
set of blocks (helpful for poses where both hands are reaching toward
the ground). If you're going to attend classes, blocks will be
provided for you.
The good news is, almost any block is sufficient, so this is an area
you don't have to worry too much about scrimping on. But slightly
wider blocks—those that are at least four-inches wide—provide
better stability. YogaOutlet and Amazon offer several sizes and
styles for under $10 each. If you're willing to pay a little
more, Yoga Hustle offers some fun options for $24 a pop.
Yoga straps, also called belts, are particularly useful for poses
where you need to hold onto your feet but cannot reach them. The
strap basically acts as an arm extender. For instance, in
pascimottanasana, if you can't reach your feet with your hands in
the seated forward fold, you can wrap the strap around the bottom of
your feet and hold onto the strap to maintain a flat back instead of
Straps are also great for poses where you bind your hands behind the
back (marichyasana, for example). If your shoulders don't allow
enough flexibility for the bind, you can use a strap to
"connect" both hands without excess strain. And with the
strap's help, you can move your hands toward each other over time
to make progress toward the full bind.
You probably have something around your house that would work as a
strap (like a belt or even a towel) and yoga studios supply them for
use during class. That said, if you really want to buy an official
version, it's hard to beat the price of YogaOutlet, where you can
find straps for under $10.
Bolsters have many uses for yoga students. You can use them in place
of a stack of blankets to make seated and forward bending poses more
comfortable. You can place them under your knees or your back when
reclining for support and passive stretching. They are particularly
handy in restorative and prenatal yoga classes. If you take this type
of class, the bolsters will be provided. If you want to do
restorative yoga at home, it may be worth it to invest in your own
The are two basic bolster shapes: round and flat (more of a
rectangular shape). Flat bolsters tend to be more ergonomic; however,
round bolsters can be useful when you want more support or a deeper
stretch. It comes down to personal preference.
If you have the option, use both styles in class before you decide
which one best suits your home practice. Amazon is the best place to
shop for sheer variety and price, but if you want a pretty bolster,
check out Hugger Mugger, Inner Space, or Chattra. The prices are in
line with the marketplace ($40 to $80), and the designs are bright
Yoga wheels are a relatively new prop starting to gain a foothold in
the yoga studio. These wheels are roughly 12-inches in diameter and
are about four-inches wide. When set upright, you can lie back on the
wheel or place a foot or hand on top of the wheel to deepen your
stretches and enhance flexibility, slowly rolling the wheel farther
as you relax into each stretch. Wheels can also be used in more
advanced practices as a way to challenge stability or to offer
support during challenging poses.
While it's unlikely that you'll need a yoga wheel as a
beginner, you may want to consider a purchase down the line. Most
wheels range in price from $40 to $60. Yoga Design Lab, for instance,
offers one for $48.