Leggings and a yoga mat: That’s all you need to do yoga, right? While that technically isn’t wrong, it’s not totally right either. You can definitely get your yoga on with some stretchy/comfy pants and a mat, but if you really want to commit to and grow your practice, there are a few additional yoga accessories you should consider adding to your toolkit.
The 4 Best Yoga Accessories for Improving Your Practice:
1. Find the best yoga mat for you
Let’s start with the obvious: your yoga mat. You can find a mat for all types of practices on any budget. There are mats specifically for hot yoga, mats for taller people, and mats with a little or a lot of cushion.
I have personally tried several different brands and the best yoga mat I have found is my Yoga Design Lab yoga mat! It’s beautiful, vibrant, and makes me happy when I roll it out. It’s also great for hot classes and preventing slipping in general. (Side note: if you like hot classes, you may want to consider getting a towel to spare your mat some sweat!) But for me this one has great grip and just the right amount of cushion.
I have the studio version and I find it to be a great weight to throw over my shoulder (it helps if you have a strap for this) when I head out to class while still being supportive and soft under my body. If you want a smaller, even lighter option, you could try the commuter version! This is easily one of the best yoga accessories to invest in!
2. Get good yoga blocks for support
After you lock down a mat you love, you can move onto (in my opinion) the next most important yoga accessories to support your physical practice: yoga blocks and a strap. These props are key to a solid, aligned, and safe yoga practice. In my classes I notice a lot of people resist using props because they think it makes them look like a beginner.
I promise, it doesn’t. I have been practicing yoga for more than 10 years and I still use blocks and a strap every time I step on my mat. Rounding your back because the ground is too far away, or straining your shoulders because you cannot properly bind your hands behind your back isn’t only not cool, it’s not good for your alignment. Think of these props as your friends and know that by using them you’re doing your body and your practice a favor.
No need to go crazy and spend tons of money on these puppies, though. This combo package from Gaiam has both yoga blocks and a strap at a reasonable price. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more advanced, consider getting a yoga wheel.
3. Deepen your practice with books on yoga
Remember that yoga isn’t just a physical practice! If you’re interested in yoga beyond asana (postures) and want to explore the philosophy behind it, I encourage you to read. Read lots of books about yoga asana, meditation, spirituality, and anything else that interests you about the world of yoga.
One of the first books I read about yoga and the yoga lifestyle was “Happy Yoga” by Steve Ross. I love this book because it breaks things down in a simple way. It taught me how to take my practice off my mat and into my life. Ross makes it entertaining and fun by keeping things pretty light and sometimes silly, but also weaving in yogic stories and philosophies. There are also postures at the end of each chapter to help incorporate what you have read into your physical practice. This book also helped me make the decision to become a vegetarian, so be warned and encouraged!
Another great yoga book is B. K. S. Iyengar’s “Light on Yoga”. This one is a little heavier and has more in-depth explanations on yoga philosophy. It’s a great resource if you’re ready to deepen your understanding of yoga, yoga asana, and pranayama (breath). Fair warning with this book: Iyengar can do insane things with his body. It’s important to remember that he practiced his whole life and can only achieve these expressions of the postures because of time and practice.
For more personal, spiritual aspirations, I’d also recommend “Adventures for Your Soul” by Shannon Kaiser. This book helped me through a time of transition and connected me more deeply to my soul and my purpose in life. You can easily pick it up, read a chapter, do the work associated with that chapter, and then set it down for another time. Get yourself a journal dedicated to this book as you will need to do some writing and brainstorming throughout. Kaiser’s writing is entertaining and her story is easy to connect with. There are so many awesome self-help style books out there, and this one is definitely worth adding to your collection.
4. Raise your vibration with a meditation cushion
Lastly, if you are looking to venture into the land of meditation, a good meditation cushion is a great thing to add to your arsenal of yoga accessories. One option is to get a bolster, which you can use for your physical practice, too. But I find that having a dedicated prop used only for meditation helps me actually meditate because it feels special and sacred.
My personal favorite is this meditation cushion by Peace Yoga. You can adjust the cushioning by changing up the amount of buckwheat inside. It also helps to make yourself a little space, even a corner of your bedroom or living room, where your meditation cushion lives. Let that be the space you can come back to each day, to be quiet and still, and tune into yourself.
Wherever you are in your practice, these are all great yoga accessories to develop a solid, educated, aligned, and connected practice. Call it the basic starter kit, if you will, but it’s great for advanced yogis too! Enjoy your new props, books, and anything else you decide to add– and congrats on starting or deepening your practice!
About the Author: Tacy Nielson is a Yoga Instructor and Reiki healer who is passionate about holistic healing, traveling and living life to the fullest. She was born and raised in Minnesota and is now enjoying life in Minneapolis after studying massage therapy in San Diego. Read more from Tacy here.