One of the things that I love about yoga is that it doesn’t require a lot of equipment to get started. However, if you google “yoga equipment” you are going to end up with a TON of suggestions and products that, as interesting and fun as they look, really aren’t necessary.
So here’s a yoga equipment list of what you DO and what you probably don’t need.
Essentials- Space and a Mat
Bare essential for yoga are simple- you need comfortable clothes, enough space to stretch and move and a comfortable, solid surface to practice on. Nothing complicated, nothing fancy. Yoga can be done anywhere- indoors, outdoors, the gym, the library, by the lake, in your hotel room, etc.
Let’s start with clothes- what you wear, or don’t wear, is really up to you as long as you are comfortable. You will be bending, folding, and moving so make sure if you wear loose clothing that you won’t be embarrassed if something gets flashed!
However, you don’t have to wait until you are in yoga attire to try yoga. People do yoga in pj’s (OK, maybe that’s just me), sweat pants, swim suits, jeans, fancy clothes, and clothes made specifically for yoga. Some adventurous people even do yoga in the nude. Just make sure that you’re comfortable.
On to space. Some Yoga poses take only as much space as you occupy when you sit or stand. However, you want to be able to practice a range of poses and stretch out without bumping into furniture or feeling cramped.
Clear an area that is at least as wide as your arms will stretch when you reach straight out to your side. The length of the area should be a few inches longer than when you lie down and stretch your toes and arms out as far as you can reach them.
Next – the surface of your workout area. You will be sitting, standing, kneeling and laying down while practicing yoga, so you want the surface to be reasonably comfortable and lightly padded. If you are practicing on a rug, carpet, or grassy area you should be just fine.
Also, make sure the surface is flat and not slippery. If you’re a beginner, it can be tricky enough to maintain balance without trying to practice on a slop or other uneven surface, or on something slippery when you’re trying to hold a downward dog.
I highly recommend investing in a YOGA MAT. While not required, a yoga mat provides padding and a no-slip surface wherever you end up practicing. My first yoga mat cost me $5 on sale at Walmart two year ago. I ended up buying three of them because they were a little thin (only 5 mm) and fell apart a little.
If you are looking for a good, quality yoga mat here is one that I highly recommend. This mat is 1/4 inch, just over 6 mm, and is non-slip on both sides.
If you are new to yoga or struggle with flexibility, out of all the supplies available, these are the two that I recommend the most- other than the yoga mat.
- Yoga block
- Yoga strap
Yoga blocks are typically hard foam or cork blocks used to help you balance, shorten the distance you have to stretch, maintain a specific spacing, and provide you a boost to sit on. Yoga blocks are typically 4 in high X 6 in wide X 9 in long.
While you can purchase yoga blocks individually, I recommend purchasing two as some modifications will use two blocks, one for each hand. Plus you can stack the blocks on top of each other to give you added height.
If you are unable to purchase yoga block, there are other options. You can find a large book like a dictionary or encyclopedia. A large piece of wood can work as well.
If you don’t have a yoga block and need something to sit on, you can use a folded blanket or pillow instead. Something that would prop you up about 4 inches. An example of this would be modifying seated pose so you can sit cross-legged more comfortably.
If you are looking for a yoga block and a yoga mat, you can purchase them together here.
Yoga straps are used to help you extend your reach so you can hold a position easier. A yoga strap looks very much like a woven belt with metal rings and is typically 8 feet long. You can purchase them in a range of colors.
Straps are typically used when you first learn a pose and do not have the flexibility to get completely into it. For example, a strap may be used while stretching out your legs while lying on your back on the floor. Or placed behind your back while attempting to touch your finger tips between your shoulder blades.
There are many uses for a yoga strap. The handy thing about the strap is that it can be looped over your feet or used to bind your legs together to improve form in a pose by threading the strap through the metal rings.
If you do not have a yoga strap yet, you can use a towel instead to help increase your reach. If you are binding your legs together, you can also use an exercise band instead.
If you are looking for a beginner’s bundle that include a yoga mat, two blocks and a strap, check it out on Amazon here: BalanceFrom GoYoga 7-Piece Set – Include Yoga Mat with Carrying Strap, 2 Yoga Blocks, Yoga Mat Towel, Yoga Hand Towel, Yoga Strap and Yoga Knee Pad (Purple, 1/2″-Thick Mat)‘
Other Non-essential items
There is a large list of non-essential yoga items that you may wish to purchase. I would recommend that you buy as you need them, if you need them.
Yoga socks and yoga gloves- not necessary if you are using a good yoga mat, though if you slip around you may wish to purchase a pair of each. Most people practice yoga in their bare feet to help them connect to the earth under them.
Yoga wheels- I have considered purchasing a yoga wheel, though have not yet done so. Yoga wheels are used to help you do bridges and inversions (upside down poses). They come in several sizes. The purpose is to offer support to help you stay balanced or hold a pose longer. You could use an exercise ball instead, if you have one on hand.
Yoga bolster & wedges- these are typically used to help relieve pressure on your back in some poses. The bolster pillow that I use actually came in my bedding set. I had no use for it and was going to throw it out when I discovered it worked perfectly for poses like Legs up Wall and corpse pose (see my 5 Best Yoga Poses for Beginners article for more info on how to use these).
Aerial Yoga Swing- I recommend that if you want to try using an aerial yoga swing that you take a class where you can be supervised your first time or two. Aerial yoga swings and hammocks look like a lot of fun and allow you to easily do inversion poses. However, they can be difficult to set up and dangerous to use if you don’t know how.
Equipped and Ready!
If you haven’t already, collect the bare essentials for yoga- a yoga mat, yoga blocks, yoga strap, and enough space to get started! If you’re ready to begin, check out my articles on Basic Yoga Poses and Best Yoga Poses for Beginners to get you going.
Check out your local yoga studio or gym for your first yoga class, or sign up for Beachbody On Demand workout videos including 3 Week Yoga Retreat and the Yoga Studio. You can read my review of On Demand here.
Questions? Any yoga equipment you find essential that’s not on the list? or equipment you have heard of that you would like to know if it is needed? Drop a comment below & I will let you know!
*I am an Amazon affiliate and Beachbody fitness coach. I may be paid for purchases made through links on this page.