Many people think that yoga has to take place in a studio. While we obviously think yoga classes are great, we’re also fans of at-home yoga. Practicing at home allows you to take what you learned in class and apply it in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Part of the beauty of yoga is that you don’t need a lot of equipment to practice. Just the essentials will be fine.
So, what are those essentials? Here are our 7 must-haves for an at-home yoga practice:
A yoga mat
If you only have one piece of yoga equipment, make it a good mat! Most mats you’ll find in classes or in stores are either PVC, rubber, or foam. You can also find cotton and jute yoga mats, which are more traditional and are meant to be used on top of cushioned mats.
When purchasing a mat, look for a nice, thick one to protect your knees in poses like table top and keep your hands and wrists comfortable during downward dog. A mat with ¼” or ⅛” thickness is ideal. If you’re a tall yogi, you may need to look at the length of your mat before purchasing. Most mats are 68”, plenty long enough for the majority of people, but if you’re tall, look for a 72”, 74”, or even 82” mat.
A small towel can do double or triple duty during your at-home yoga practice. Of course you can use it to wipe sweat from your face or mat, but it can also be used in place of a strap for poses like reclining leg stretch and head-to-knee. A yoga mat towel is preferable but any gym towel or even a bathroom hand towel will work.
Comfortable, breathable clothing
Fitness clothing is a must when practicing yoga because when you’re comfortable in your clothing, you’ll be that much more comfortable on the mat. There’s no need to spend $100 on leggings, though. Comfortable, affordable workout clothing is easier to find than ever. If skin-tight leggings aren’t your thing, you can wear looser yoga pants or even shorts.
Look for tops that are fitted, but not too tight. You want to be able to move freely without tugging on your clothing or having fabric in the way.
A yoga block or two
Blocks are especially useful for those working on their flexibility. They help to lift the floor up to you or to lift your body up to allow you to reach poses easier. They’re also great to help keep your alignment in poses like pigeon and bridge. Foam blocks tend to be very inexpensive, while blocks made from natural materials, like bamboo, will cost more, but are typically still in the $20 range.
A bolster, blanket, or pillow
A bolster is a firm pillow, usually rectangular or cylindrical, that you can use during more restorative or restful poses. They help you relax and open up the body in postures like savasana and seated forward bend.
If you don’t have a bolster, no worries. Blankets and pillows will work just fine. To turn your blanket into a bolster, simply fold it up partially and then roll it up into a log shape. You can use your bedroom pillow folded in half or a throw pillow for the same effect.
Yoga mat wash
Like any piece of exercise equipment, your yoga mat will need to be cleaned once in a while. You can’t use just anything on it, though! Harsh cleaning products will degrade your mat. You can purchase yoga mat cleaner or use a mixture of warm water and dish soap.
Yoga DVDs or YouTube videos
If you don’t feel comfortable free flowing, you’ll need guidance from an instructor via DVD or YouTube. There are a lot of choices out there so you might have to try a few before you find one that you really click with. Get started by trying videos by Yoga With Adriene, Fightmaster Yoga, or YogaTX.
Flow with us at The Yoga Connection!
When you want to practice with other yogis in Smithfield, The Yoga Connection is here! We have yoga and meditation classes for all fitness and mindfulness levels. Check our calendar for our next class or workshop!