The yoga world seems to have an accessory for everything. But unless you’re looking to kit out your yoga space like the Batcave, you’re probably not going to need that zen waterfall.
It would make a cool entrance though..
What you really need, is a core set of accessories to get you set up at home and ready to practice. Plus, a few little bits to help you when you’re on the move or heading to class.
So to cut through the bullshit and all the crappy products that go with it – I’ve put together this list of rock-solid yoga accessories to get you started.
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1. Yoga Mat
A mat is the staple of your yoga setup and you generally only need one – so make it a good one.
I’ve tried a bunch of cheap mats in my time, and while they’re not bad per se, they can really let you down in some areas. What I really look for in a mat is grip and durability, because your average male is going to be a whole lot heavier and sweatier than your average female yogini.
Nobody likes a game of slip-and-slide on the mat, not when it’s your groin on the line.
I’m a big fan of the Liforme Yoga Mat. It’s got extra room all around, grips like a champion and has alignment cues to aid in your practice. It’s the complete package, but it’s not cheap.
If you’re (understandably) not ready to drop that kind of dollar on a yoga mat. The Heathyoga Mat is a great budget alternative. Sporting similar alignment cues, generous dimensions and a textured surface, it’s a good place to start.
2. Block and Belt
Whenever you’re struggling with something on the mat, you can be sure one of these two can help you out.
Can’t reach the floor? No problem, blocks got your back. What if you can’t reach your leg? No worries, strap can do it.
Doesn’t have to be anything fancy here. Frankly, in terms of functionality they’re all pretty much the same. Check out this inexpensive set from Gaiam.
3. Yoga Mat Bag
When you’re heading to classes or you’re on your travels, you’ll need something to carry your yoga mat.
Trust me, your mat probably won’t fit into anything you have already. I’ve tried squeezing mine into everything from rucksacks to holdalls, and they always end up awkwardly falling out.
That’s why you need one that’s built for the job.
4. Yoga Towel
I promise these aren’t just a towel with the word “yoga” attached to it.
They’re designed to sit on top of your mat while you practice, to soak up any sweat and help you grip. They’re perfect for hot yoga, or for the more-than-average sweater.
Personally, if possible I prefer to just use a grippy mat, but even they have their limits.
If you’re one of those high-octane sweaters, try this IUGA Non Slip Yoga Towel. With silicone woven right into the thread, it provides extra grip when you need it most.
5. Yoga Bolster
These glorified bean bags are super comfy and do come in handy as a prop.
They’re perfect for the likes of Yin Yoga, where you can pop one under your body to provide soft and stable support.
Finding the right one can be a little tricky, as they come in three main shapes: round, rectangular and erm.. “pranayama” (I know it’s not a shape). They also vary in firmness and size, so you might want to test a few out before you commit.
Personally I find the round type to be the most helpful, and I like them firm and supportive. Something like the Hugger Mugger Round Bolster is ideal for me.
6. Yoga Blanket
To be honest, these arguably are just blankets with the word “yoga” attached to it..
These versatile props can be used to support your body in all kinds of ways. By folding and rolling your blanket, you can form any number of cushioning shapes.
They’re nice to use in restorative practices too, where you can drape one over you while you relax.
In this case any blanket will do really. I like these bargains.
There you have it!
The towels, bolsters and blankets are all situational, but they can greatly expand your yoga repertoire. It’s always nice to be prepared for a hot yoga class, or to be able to take a supported restorative pose if you want one.
That should give you everything you need for a solid home or class practice.
Let me know if you think I’ve missed anything!