8 Yoga Essentials That Instructors Can't Live Without

By , SparkPeople Blogger

Yoga is a practice that's been around for thousands of years. While there are different forms of yoga, the basic principles apply to each method: focus on your breathing, postures, flexibility and meditation. Many yogis practice for the spiritual aspect of the process, as it links your mind and body as you work through the postures and learn to breathe with intent.

Even if yoga seems intimidating, the great thing about it is that anyone can do it, at any level. However, if you're brand new to yoga or want to take your practice up a notch, there are products that yoga instructors swear by that can help get you in the zone and feel more comfortable while you work through your flow.

Sure, 5,000 years ago the first yogis probably didn't use mat sprays or use buckled straps, but we bet they wish they did!  

1. Yoga Mat


Photo courtesy of Amazon

If you plan to practice yoga regularly, you should invest in a high-quality mat. "One of my favorite yoga mats is the Jade Yoga Mat (starting at $74.95). It's not too grippy but has enough stick to it that you don't slide or feel like your hands [or] feet are going to fly out from under you," Val Minos, a yoga instructor and certified holistic nutritionist at Alt Yoga Vibe says.

2. Yoga Blanket


Photo courtesy of Amazon

A yoga blanket (like this one from Open Road Goods, $34.99) can be used for multiple purposes during your practice. "You can use it as a blanket for savasana, or roll it and use it under your back or legs as support for seated or lying poses," private yoga instructor Angel Renee says. "It’s also great for end-of-class meditation: Just fold several times and place [it] under you before sitting for meditation."
 
3. Mat Towel


Photo courtesy of Amazon

Whether you're a hot yoga devotee or just tend to work up a sweat during your yoga class, you're going to want to keep a towel handy. And not just any towel will do. No, you'll want one that helps wick away moisture, dries quickly, won't harbor bacteria, is easy to pack and use, and will keep you cool. Giovanna Abraham, a yoga instructor at the University of Windsor, recommends this yoga towel from Relefree ($13.99) because "it's lightweight and fits into everything!"

4. Yoga Blocks


Photo courtesy of Lululemon

Yoga blocks are a great prop for beginners and practitioners of all levels. They can be used as a hand or foot rest when you cannot reach the floor during a certain pose, or they can serve as a support for your limbs or back. With three heights and a lightweight construction, yoga blocks easily assist with both flexibility and alignment.

Yoga instructor and life coach Helen Sian India loves a good Lululemon block ($14). "Blocks allow you to sit tall in sukhasana, deepen postures when you want, but also keep your alignment on point so you always know you’re looking after your body," she explains. "I love to use blocks when I’m meditating and cannot get enough of a supported bridge—resting your tailbone on the block feels like heaven."

5. Yoga Mist


Photo courtesy of Amazon

India also swears by a good mat mist. "It can help to keep your mat smelling fresh, and the oils help you to relax when you need [it] or energize when you want a boost." Try  Aura Cacia's Organic Body, Mat and Room Yoga Mist in Awakening Grapefruit and Lavandin ($8.99) for a great pre-class pick-me-up. The mist is made of 100 percent pure essential oils and one percent of every sale is given back to organic farmers and their communities. Simply spray on your mat before class begins to experience a more mindful practice and to inspire a more flowing movement to your poses.

6. Yoga Jellies


Photo courtesy of Amazon

"My favorite yoga equipment is a pair of YogaJellies ($55)," Ashley Matejka, an instructor and the founder of Wellevance says. "Have bad knees? YogaJellies are a great way to protect your joints during practice, especially [your] knees and wrists. Most of us have been conditioned to persevere through pain, but YogaJellies allow you to challenge your body during your practice without the counterproductive pain."

7. Yoga Straps



Photo courtesy of Amazon

Yoga straps (like this one from REHUTT, starting at $5.49), are awesome for beginners and those who aren't very flexible. They assist during poses where your arms aren't long enough or for when you can't reach your feet or angle around to stretch other body parts. Straps provide length and put limbs within reach. While you could use any sturdy rope or scarf, yoga straps have a buckle to help you create a loop for your hand or foot.

"Having certain tools at your disposal can certainly deepen your practice and enhance your overall experience," Jillian Amodio, a yoga instructor at Parker Place says. "A strap [...] can help lessen the intensity of stretches while allowing you to enjoy more of the benefits of stretching."

8. Yoga Bolsters


Photo courtesy of Amazon

"Yoga bolsters are pillows that can support your body and help you relax in various poses," Stepfanie Romine, a yoga instructor and blogger at The Flexible Kitchen shares. "They are great for beginners, as they can help you stay longer in poses while remaining comfortable. You can relax and stretch while you focus on your breath, not supporting your body."

This bolster from Hugger Mugger ($58.24) is firm and made with durable, long-lasting fabric with a flat top and bottom to help you remain stable through all of your poses.

Which yoga accessories do you love?

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Comments

4CONNIESHEALTH 10/6/2018
I need to get a few of these items. I like the idea of Yoga jellies. Report
SLIMSHAPE18 10/5/2018
I have not been successful at yoga in the past. Maybe these items could help. Report
ARHUNT71 10/5/2018
These minor items do great work, evidently, because a few are mighty expensive! I use a few techniques at the end of my day but I can't afford a $75 mat. I guess I'll stick to my Wal-Mart special.
Report
KHALIA2 9/22/2018
Great information! Report
CHRISINMIAMI 9/7/2018
I had never heard of yoga jellies but I think that I want some for my bad knees. Report
TOMATOCAFEGAL 9/7/2018
Wow didn’t know about this extra equipment. Report
1CRAZYDOG 9/7/2018
wow! Hadn't heard of any of this equipment but the mat and strap! Thanks Report
TIGERSEYEHEART 9/6/2018
Holy advertisements!!!!!! More to do with shopping than yoga! Report
NDCAROL 9/6/2018
My studio provides all the equipment, but I have my own mat. I also use grippy socks. Report
SLOWDETERMINED 9/6/2018
I have to agree with the others that state this is not all necessary equipment, and it seems more of an advertisement. I have a mat, a block, and belt, but I like my stuff, it works for me, and did not cost as much as those in this blog. Report
SLOWDETERMINED 9/6/2018
Sorry, this saved twice. Report
LIS193 9/6/2018
Fun items but not necessary to practice yoga. Report
SPINECCO 9/6/2018
Good information. Report
PICKIE98 9/6/2018
I am embarrassed that spark techies would title this as an article.Not getting enough from the ads? Report
LEANJEAN6 9/6/2018
I don't have all this equipment, but I( do enjoy Yoga Report
AZMOMXTWO 9/6/2018
thank you Report
NEPTUNE1939 9/6/2018
TY Report
VALLEYGIRLSPAGE 9/6/2018
Yoga everyday. Report
WHITE-GREEN 9/6/2018
This article is one big advertisement. What do you mean, 'can't LIVE without'??!! No one has yet died from a lack of yoga straps, yet!
And 'essentials'? Come on.
It's perfectly possible and maybe even more or an art to do yoga without any tools. Report
AMYRCMK 9/6/2018
Thank you Report
MNABOY 9/4/2018
Thanks for the information. As a novice it is good to know what things are used in Yoga and what is for style only. Report
AIYANASMAMA 9/4/2018
Thanks Report
SOXYINMO 9/1/2018
I recently went to a yoga retreat and some of the yogis were shocked that so few people brought these helpers. I had struggled with some aspects of yoga for many years and using blocks and blankets has reduced stress and strain on my body. Everyone is different and some people do not need aids and some people do. Talk to your yogi and find out what works best for you...and, please, a little respect for our differences. xo Report
FRANKIEBUN 8/31/2018
I spent the money on yoga jellies because of my wrists, and they were the worst. The position they put my hands in was even more painful. I just took it easy and have built my wrist strength back up. Report
ARNETTELEE 8/31/2018
nice Report
AJB121299 8/30/2018
nice Report
EILEENNP 8/30/2018
I wonder if the jellies work for artificial knees? Report
JIACOLO 8/30/2018
I am not familiar with the jellies but need to look into them! Report
RAPUNZEL53 8/30/2018
Thanks. Report
ANHELIC 8/30/2018
Thank you for the information. Report
KATHYJO56 8/30/2018
I don't like yoga, but this is a great list. Report
ZRIE014 8/30/2018
helpful Report
RHOOK20047 8/29/2018
Great article Report
_CYNDY55_ 8/29/2018
Thanks! Report
EO4WELLNESS 8/29/2018
Learned about YogaJellies from this article. I've seen more and and more YouTubers in my age group using anti-fatigue mats and other such measures for joint longevity while boxing, doing martial arts, and now yoga/stretching. Report
KHALIA2 8/29/2018
Great items and prices! Thanks for sharing! Report
DMEYER4 8/29/2018
thanks Report
VALLEYGIRLSPAGE 8/29/2018
I have a yoga mat, straps and block...that's all I need. Report
JANIEWWJD 8/29/2018
I love yoga!!! Report
-POOKIE- 8/29/2018
interesting.... not sure its all necessary at all. Report
MOONDRAGON29 8/29/2018
thank for the information. Report
ZRIE014 8/29/2018
very helpful Report
NANCYPAT1 8/22/2018
Great tips Report
QWESTING 8/20/2018
Wow. Thought this was going to be about the practice of yoga, not a shopping list. Weird article to highlight. Report
I do chair yoga every single day, and you don't need ONE of these products. This is an ad, and don't look at it as anything but an ad. If you want to use a mat, grab a big towel from your linen closet. If you want a roll, roll up a towel. If you want blocks, use a couple of books. The only thing I have used is a ball, and you can buy one of those kids balls and deflate it a bit and it works great. Mine cost $.99. Yoga is something you can do forever, can do it anywhere, and I have arthritis, and think it has been more helpful than anything I have ever done.

By the way, there are TONS of free videos for yoga, both in a chair and any other way you want to do it on You Tube. Try those first.

Spark on. Report
A friend loaned me these DVD's and they were not my cup of tea at all. After looking through Amazon Prime streaming I found two that were much better suited to my total beginners pace, gradually building up as they move on. Best thing about them is they were free Report
Whereas the commercial nature and likely profit from the linked articles is a bit annoying, it was helpful to me to learn what the purpose of these props I've heard recommended is as some may help me to be able to get back into yoga despite my wrist and back issues. I also know now which I probably don't need since flexibility isn't my main issue. Report
CECE67
I had back fusion surgery for L3,4 &5. Is the a yoga routine that I can do since I am not as flexible as before the surgery? :-) Report
I've started doing yoga again very recently. It's been years. But I found this article to be very informative. I have some range of motion problems that need the assistance of props; especially the bolster. Thanks for the info. Report
STARRPOWER1
Yoga is in my exercise bucket. I need to be a little more flexible. Report