First things first, you need absolutely nothing other than yourself to practice yoga. Don’t got shelling out money for the best mat and all of these props thinking they can make or break your practice. I think it is important that yoga is not believed to be a fad strictly for the upper-middle class because they are the only ones who can afford the expensive clothes and classes. You can wear just about anything and practice yoga, and you can do it anywhere. These are not requirements, these are things that I have found to aid in my practice AND they are all items that can be easily replaced with things you probably already own.
Videos for at-home practice:
I can’t often make it to classes between work and coaching, so I have found at-home videos to be a much more flexible and affordable option. A few of my favorite places to find classes are DoYouYoga.com, DoYogaWithMe.com, and Leslie Fightmaster on YouTube (love her 90 day challenge!).
Finding the right mat can make difference in your practice. Some like their mats to be thinner while others like them to be thicker. Something I feel wasn’t mentioned enough when I was mat searching is the importance of thickness. If you practice on a carpet at home, you may like a thinner mat, whereas if you practice on hardwood floor often, a thicker mat might not be an issue for your balance because the floor provides a more solid foundation.
I still had a bit of a hard time adjusting to a thick mat even with a hardwood floor in terms of balancing with all the padding, but now that I am adjusted I really like it. Borrowing a friends mat or using any mats your studio might have available to try are great ways to get a feel for what you like. My current mat is the Manduka Eco Lite and I am loving it.
A yoga strap is great even when you are not doing yoga but just stretching. I will use mine first thing in the morning when I am still stiff from the night to help me stretch a little bit deeper. I love the way a lot of my instructors (both in person and video) will utilize the strap to assist with practice. A towel is an easy replacement for a strap.
I think there is a stigma with yoga blocks that they are only for beginners. Blocks are excellent for learning a new pose no matter what stage you are at and a good instructor will remind you of that. You don’t have to bring your own to class usually. When I found cheap ones for $5 each at Five Below I was sold because I do so much at home practice. If you practice at home and can’t find affordable ones you can use anything that can elevate a pose.
If you saw my post on Instagram the other day you know that I am not the best about cleaning my yoga mat. But, especially if you do hot yoga – ya sweaty beast! – you need to clean your mat often to keep it from breeding bacteria. I also find my practice to be much more calming and pleasant when my mat feels clean and has a smell that I find comforting. For me that smell is citrus – it makes me happy and smells so fresh! For some, it is lavender because it calms them. Asutra has a cleanly formulated yoga-mat cleaner in several scents that is wonderful for giving your mat a good wipe down in between practices.
The most important accessory for yoga is a good attitude about it. Explore the poses, relax, and have fun.