Honestly, is there anyone these days who isn’t into yoga, in some respect? Whether you’re doing intense, 90-minute hot yoga sessions three times a week or you’re just really, really into wearing yoga pants around the house, chances are society’s intense love of all things yogi has touched you in some way. And with a growing fascination with yoga comes a growing fascination with yoga stuff. Yes, while the yogis of our grandparents’ generation may have been content with a quiet corner and a simple towel or blanket, these days there is a variety of yoga equipment and classes out there to help you stretch yourself to the max.
The good news is, most of these tools actually do go a long way to enhancing your yoga practice. Below, we highlight 11 yoga essentials that can help you really get into that yoga flow, whether you’re brand new to the exercise or an avid yogi looking for new ways to challenge yourself.
Using a yoga mat indoors is a nice way to help keep your feet and hands from sliding on a slick floor, but when your practice moves outdoors, it’s pretty much essential. Plus, they’re super easy to wipe down and clean if you choose to practice in the grass or on the beach.
Maybe you’re not into carrying a yoga mat around town with you. Or maybe you just need a little extra traction to keep from slipping out of position. Either way, yoga socks can help since they boast textured, nonslip bottoms that help you keep your balance and form. (Plus, they’re cute!)
Yoga is by and large a go-at-your-own-pace kind of workout, but even so, it can be frustrating to feel like you can’t reach a full stretch due to stiffness or simple inexperience. That’s where a simple strap can make all the difference—it provides the assistance you need to achieve optimal alignment when you need it.
It’s important to create an inviting atmosphere for your home yoga practice, and this Himalayan salt lamp brings just the right amount of zen. Plus, some claim the pink salt helps purify the air, which you’ll appreciate as you work through those deep-breathing exercises.
While it’s totally possible to teach yourself yoga, signing up for a class will probably help you get a grip on the basics a little quicker. If you’ve already got a sun salutation on lock, consider challenging yourself with one of the more difficult types of yoga, such as vinyasa yoga or ashtanga yoga.
Can’t quite touch your toes (yet), but still want to pull off a perfect triangle pose? No sweat—just reach down and touch the block instead. Not only will it help you achieve better alignment, it will also help you avoid overstretching, a common issue among overzealous yogis in training.
Listen to us carefully: you do not need yoga pants to do yoga. But there are a number of reasons why you might want them. For starters, the stretchy, body-conforming fabric ensures you can stretch freely without ripping a seam or pulling up a saggy waistband. Plus, they’re trendy enough to be worn to the store or cafe after class. Of course, there’s still the debate on what to wear under them, but we’ll leave the decision to you.
Love the structure of yoga classes, but can’t seem to find one that fits with your schedule? Sign up for an online-class subscription instead! You’ll get access to tons of different yoga videos at varying levels of difficulty, allowing for way more flexibility—and ice cream breaks—than an in-person class ever could.
The yoga wheel is the yoga accessory we never knew we needed, but can’t wait to try. The tire-shaped apparatus helps you by lending support through some of the more difficult yoga poses, such as backbends, but can also be used to give an added challenge to advanced moves like crow pose.
Headphones are a must for any workout, but if you think getting earbuds to stay in place during down dog pose is easy, you’ve obviously never tried it. Upgrade to this bluetooth-enabled headband (which doubles as a sweatband, btw), and you won’t have to worry about it ever again.
If you’ve outgrown your home practice and even a once-impossible headstand now seems simple, it’s time to really bump up your practice and reach for the stars—literally. Aerial yoga classes take your practice skyward, inviting you to perform stretches, inversions, and flips from the comfort of a soft aerial sling. They also encourage you to tap into your inner trapeze artist as you flow from pose to pose.