Embarking on a journey into the world of yoga can be both exhilarating and daunting for beginners. As you delve into this ancient practice that nurtures the mind, body, and spirit, having the right equipment can significantly enhance your experience. From mats and props to clothing and accessories, understanding what the essential yoga gear include is crucial in establishing a solid foundation for your practice. This comprehensive guide aims to illuminate the world of yoga gear, providing insights and recommendations to help beginners navigate the myriad options available and make informed choices that align with their practice goals and preferences. Whether you’re seeking comfort, stability, or style, this guide will serve as your compass, leading you toward the optimal selection of yoga equipment to support and enhance your budding journey into the transformative realm of yoga.
Practicing yoga might become just an effective way to keep yourself healthy, or might become a life-long passion. In any scenario, good things are coming your way. The only small downside is that beginnings can also be confusing and cause you to fret: where to buy my yoga equipment? What equipment do I really need for yoga? Am I over-doing this? What are the best brands for basic yoga equipment?
All these questions are normal curiosities when you’re just starting yoga, but can chip away from the fun and amazement of it all. And, after all, learning to fret less is one of the chief purposes of yoga (and especially of mindfulness), so let’s get these doubts out of the way a.s.a.p.
Through this guide, I will attempt to walk you through the best answers to these questions and more. Bear in mind that as essential yoga gear and the times themselves change, the info in the article will also need to be updated. So, feel free to bookmark it and return to the page from time to time, as the contents will only get richer.
Yoga Equipment for Beginners 101
First of all, remember that you don’t need to stock up on everything at once, especially if you’re not sure about practicing any type of specialized yoga (like aerial yoga or dance yoga) on the long term. Still, I will walk you through the basics of each type of yoga as well, after we cover the list of essentials for yoga beginners. But, for just starting to practice yoga as a fitness routine (just a few poses or asanas), these essentials are more than enough.
The initial yoga equipment list you will need:
- A yoga mat: this needs to be stretchy, comfortable but also reasonably sticky so you don’t slip while stretching;
- A yoga mat bag: for carrying your mat around without it losing shape;
- A water flask (you will get thirsty during your workouts and it’s essential to stay hydrated), ideal for keeping your supply of fresh water or even lemon water on hand;
- A yoga towel: no matter the type of yoga you practice or how peaceful it looks from afar, yoga is still a workout and I can promise you will sweat, especially if you sign up for hot yoga;
- A yoga strap: this is a piece of equipment you will use for wrapping yourself up tightly in order to deepen the effect of some of the stretches, or you will use it as a prop for certain exercises in order to make them a bit more challenging and so on.
Extras to consider:
- A yoga DVD: if you’re not attending classes on the regular (though, as a beginner, you definitely should do that), a DVD can help you practice yoga at home instead of missing sessions because you can’t make it to class;
- A yoga blanket: it’s not mandatory but it will help you relax better towards the end of your training sessions;
- A yoga brick or yoga block: especially useful for home practice but not only, a good block can help yogis better position themselves during asanas, and also provides better comfort and relaxation during the less challenging parts of your yoga workout.
What about Yoga Clothes? What Do You Need for Clothing?
To start with, you will only need a few items of special clothing as essential yoga gear, in order to stay comfortable during yoga sessions and to be able to perform at your best. In time, however, don’t be surprised if you find yourself passionate about collecting yoga clothing items.
Also, you should know that there are yoga inspired clothes for day to day use, too, for those who want to display their passion for yoga with symbols and so on. The same goes for yoga inspired jewelry and accessories: there’s no shortage of meaningful ways to make your outer appearance reflect your hobby.
But speaking about yoga clothes in the strict sense of clothes that you will need for practicing yoga, things are much simpler.
This is what you will need to be equipped for yoga classes:
- A pair of yoga pants (these need to be tight but comfortable, to allow you to push the limits of your flexibility further) – I like Gap and Blend In Zen, as far as brands go;
- A yoga tank top (and, depending on your bust size if you’re a lady, also a sturdy sports bra): I like Gaiam tops and Yoga Rebel bras;
- A pair of comfy sneakers that you should only keep for indoor use and that should have really light and flexible soles: I like Allbirds wool sneakers for their ideal balance of warmth and airiness.
If you just started out doing yoga and don’t want to go broke buying everything you need at once, I suggest you wear some other comfortable shoes or sneakers for a while. You don’t absolutely need specialized yoga sneakers, but you do need special clothing for yogis, so you should make that your priority if you need to choose.
My Favorite Yoga Equipment Brands
In this section, I will quickly point to the essential yoga gear brands that I personally am attracted to, because this isn’t a promotional post and getting you to shop unnecessarily isn’t my purpose. Still, I will try to also take into account the popularity of certain brands and stores for consumers at large. The purpose is to give you a starting point if you really need to get some beginner’s yoga equipment and you’re unsure of the best place to start
- Hugger Mugger (their yoga blocks and some of the clothing are among my faves);
- Blend In Zen that I already mentioned above (I love the variety of funny and inspiring models to choose from, and the pairs I own are also very flattering);
- Gaiam Yoga apparel (already mentioned and linked to above), for gadgety stuff or just funny finds that you can use to show off your yoga skills and affinity;
- Manduka for reliable yoga mats and blankets;
- Iyengar yoga props for their wooden benches and headstands and anything else you might need as far as yoga furniture goes;
- Onzie clothing – they have both yoga clothes for men and for women, with cool prints and funny twists, that can make also make nice gifts for yogi friends;
- Prana clothing – I love them for the eco-friendly approach to everything they manufacture and sell;
- Body Angel Activewear – they only have women’s clothing, but they’re like way too cool for school.
Yoga Equipment for Specialized Types of Yoga
Of course, if you start practicing special types of yoga, you may need essential yoga gear for those, too. Still, you can rest assured that the basic equipment that you already invested in (some yoga clothing, the yoga mat, the mat bag or the blanket and yoga block) will still be useful. You’ll only need a few extras depending on the type of yoga you start practicing.
The yoga trainer you will be learning from will of course have their own recommendations and requirements, so you will find out more about the necessary equipment when you start going to classes. But, in a nutshell, this is the yoga equipment you can expect needing.
1. Yoga Equipment for Aerial Yoga
Aerial yoga is definitely something else: halfway through suspension exercise and classic asanas, this yoga style can give you a good workout and make you feel relaxed at the same time. This amazing combination of physical fitness and head-in-the-clouds feeling is one of the most coveted benefits of aerial yoga, and the chief reason I plan to give it a try soon.
To get started, this is the equipment you will need:
- A beginner’s yoga hammock (you can get reliable ones from Aerial Fabric or Aerial Yoga Online);
- An aerial hoop;
- An aerial double point (a long strip of fabric similar to the aerial hammok);
- Rigging hardware and accessories for securing the aerial hammock to your ceiling, according to the instructions for installing the hammock and the double point.
The hoops and double point, as well as the hardware for aerial yoga can be bought from the same place you buy your hammock from.
Remember that these are only necessary if you plan on installing your own aerial yoga studio at home. For attending classes, you will only need the basic essential yoga gear consisting of clothes, water flask and yoga towel.
Wanna try the airy feeling for yourself? You can get initiated in an aerial yoga retreat and you’ll come back with amazing energy and good vibes!
2. Yoga Equipment for Acro Yoga
Acro Yoga is a type of yoga practice that combines acrobatics with asanas and some principles of Thai massage. To say that practicing Acro Yoga makes you more flexible would be an understatement. But while the results of this type of yoga can be spectacular, the equipment list needed for Acro Yoga is modest.
You can wear your usual yoga clothing to an Acro Yoga class, and make your own choices depending on the weather or indoor climate of the place where the class will take place. For example, choosing between shorts and full leggings is only a matter of warmth, since it will not affect your practice in any way.
The only precaution to consider is regarding the shoes. You cannot wear any hard-soled running shoes or sneakers to an Acro Yoga class, because you need to be able to feel subtle movements and pressure with your feet, too. Therefore, you will need soft-soled indoor shoes or simply a pair of yoga socks.
Learn from the best masters and develop impressive skills by booking a stay in an Acro-Yoga retreat. It’s one of the best vacations you will ever give yourself!
3. Yoga Equipment for Dancing Yoga
If you like dancing and you also like yoga – like our very own Cris, who combines yoga with tango – you’re a lucky practitioner of the two best body-sculptors ever. Of course, besides dancing and attending yoga classes separately, you can also give dancing yoga a run for its money, to have the best of both worlds in one session.
As for the essential yoga gear you will need, things can be a little more complicated here. It all depends on the exact style you will be practicing, because there are many different ways of doing dancing yoga, ranging from pole dancing yoga to Buti yoga and ballet yoga and so on.
Here are a few general directions for yoga dancing equipment, and your instructor will fill you in for the rest.
For ballet yoga you will need:
- Pointed ballet shoes and a mini-skirt to wear over your yoga leggings;
- A ballet barre to place near a wall (optional);
- A foot stretcher (you can easily make a DIY version of a foot strecther and yoga block, the process is explained in this video).
For ballet and yoga equipment shopping, you can check out Ten-O and En-Pointe.
For Buti Yoga, which is a really intense style of doing yoga while dancing energetically, you should just follow the dress code for hot yoga or Bikram yoga.
For general combinations of yoga and dancing, you won’t need any special equipment besides good yoga socks (wearing shoes is not recommended) and an optional skirt-like addition on top of your leggings. The skirt is obviously not mandatory, but it can lift your moods and add a more dynamic flow to your movements. The whole point is to enjoy what you’re doing to the fullest, so why not?
Looking to combine two great hobbies into one amazing experience? Go to a yoga and dancing retreat and you’ll have a truly magical holiday.
4. Yoga Equipment for Hot Yoga or Bikram Yoga
Hot yoga is named such because you will burn a lot of energy and sweat buckets during a session of it. It’s not brutally demanding, and thankfully it’s fun enough for you not to notice how hard you are exercising, but it’s a challenge for your body nonetheless.
Bikram Yoga is a slightly different yoga style and tradition that focuses on practicing more challenging poses on repeat. While some people confuse hot yoga and Bikram yoga, they are different. Still, the essential yoga gear you will need for practicing either of them can be the same.
This is the equipment you will need for hot yoga (or Bikram yoga):
- Yoga shorts instead of leggings;
- An extra yoga towel besides the one towel recommended for any kind of yoga;
- Extra water (you will get very thirsty during training sessions);
- Yoga socks (with special anti-slipping soles), these can be with or without toes, depending on what you like more;
- Yoga gloves (also with a grippy and non-slip fabric) with no fingers.
All this being said, I wish you the best of luck with your yoga practice. No matter the style of yoga you chose to practice, you should be proud of your decision to improve your well-being and your life. I will keep this page updated with equipment lists for other yoga styles as well, so don’t forget to check back from time to time, especially if you will be tempted to vary your yoga practice a bit. Have fun!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Miriam Cihodariu is a former anthropology scholar and fiction writer turned marketing and content strategist. Her passion for human meaning and narratives goes into every text she creates. She is currently the editor of the BookYogaRetreats.com blog and she relishes every minute of it.