Today’s post shares exactly what you need to start yoga at home. Here we’ll cover setting up your yoga room at home, yoga essentials, yoga gear, all to get you set up to hit the mat!
I’m well into my second decade as a yogi. My roots are in Pilates, yet the flow and variety of yoga get me every time. One thing I really love about yoga is that it takes very little equipment to get going, even at home. I mean technically, you don’t need anything!
Yes, you can start yoga on almost any flat surface but that said, let’s get you the low-down on what will make your yoga practice bliss versus blah!
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Getting on your mat
is the hardest part.
Once you’re there,
you’ll simply flow.
getting your home yoga room setup
The first thing you need is, as you probably realize, a mat. I’ve tried several different mats. When I started, I used just a “cheapie” mat that I had hanging around the house. That was fine for about a month when I upgraded to a Manduka mat.
The Manduka is thick, which is really nice. BUT I did find that I had to cover it with a yoga towel as I would tend to slip when I got sweaty. Shouldn’t be a problem if you’re doing yoga at home but for a hot yoga class in a studio keep looking.
I then tried my daughter’s Lululemon mat. That’s the one I’ve been using ever since. It’s much lighter (not as thick as Manduka) and I seldom slip. Note though, I bought a light green one (stopped borrowing my daughter’s) and it started losing its grip within a year. After doing some research and talking around, I discovered other people had the same problem with the colored mats. I switched to a black one and have been using it for almost three years with no problem.
Jade and Alo yoga mats also have really great reputations, although I haven’t used either personally.
Beyond the Yoga Mat
If you’re just dipping your toe, then just start with a yoga mat and use things you have at home as props. Books, chairs, towels, and belts can all come in handy. My suggestion, however, is to invest in a few of the following props. These make poses safer and more accessible for beginners (and seasoned yogis too). I’ve also included some smaller miscellaneous items that I use for every practice.
- Yoga Block – Cork or Foam: Get at least two. The cork is heavier yet more sturdy. My choice, I’d have at least two of both. Using blocks is most useful for beginners to bring the floor “up” so if your flexibility doesn’t allow you to reach your hand to the floor in good form, a block will meet you halfway!
- Yoga Strap: You should only need one. Straps are great to connect your hands and feet when you don’t have the flexibility to connect them directly.
- Yoga Blanket: This is great to fold and put under your joints for some poses. For example, if you have sensitive knees then this can serve as padding.
- Yoga Bolster Pillow: Definitely optional. It’s nice for recovery poses and for meditation.
- Yoga Towel: This helps to absorb sweat, which can cause slipping (not to mention get in your eyes).
- Yoga Mat Bag or Yoga Mat Strap: While doing yoga at home is really great, you should try to get to a class in a studio from time to time to learn from an instructor in person. This bag protects your mat as you travel. The yoga strap is simply a convenience if you don’t want to use a bag.
- Water Bottle: A must to stay hydrated throughout your practice.
- Recovery/Electrolite Powder: Great to help you recover from a challenging practice.
- Hair Scrunchie: You don’t want your hair getting caught in the various parts of your body that it can come across.
- Chapstick: Simply because I’m addicted. It’s always at the top of my mat!
yoga clothing – The fun part
Here we go! The debate, is yoga clothing necessary. (I don’t mean nake yoga, which actually is a thing.) No, you can do yoga in almost any comfy clothing. There’s minimal need for support and for many people, there can be little sweat involved.
That said, who doesn’t love a reason to go shopping for cute yoga gear? I do!!
I’ve bought many pieces at discount places like Marshall’s and TJMaxx. Generally speaking, they don’t hold up as well.
Shopping at Target isn’t super inexpensive, as you might think. The pieces hold up better now than in the past but I had enough wear out fast that I stopped shopping there.
My favs are Lululemon and Alo. Athleta isn’t bad either, I just don’t tend to shop there much.
Yes, the clothing is ridiculously expensive! Agreed. BUT it holds up and they stand by their products. Any time I have had an issue with a purchase at Lululemon, I’ve been accommodated really well. I’m a tried and true fan.
Getting started, my suggestion is to use fitted clothing so the fabric doesn’t interfere with your poses. I like, however, to warm up in a loose top and then take it off once my body gets moving a bit. I went online shopping for you and this is what I found. Yay, time to get some new pieces!
*As a side note, stay away from zippers and ties on your front or back. They can be uncomfortable in some poses.
There is no need for shoes! Some people do wear yoga toes, which are like little dance slippers for yoga, but try it without first. Barefeet is by far the best option.
You’re all set for yoga at home, now what?
This is the end of the first post. Here, we got you all set to start practicing yoga at home. In the next post, I’ll go through some of the foundational poses and key alignments to help protect you from getting hurt.
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I’ll give you one really quick additional intro to yoga … typically at the end of class, it’s customary for the instructor and students to share “Namaste!”. This means, loosely translated, the light in me honors the light in you. Or in other words, thanks for being here … you’re awesome!
So to you my friend, namaste,
A few notes on my yoga journey:
I’ve had a long relationship with physical fitness. From childhood, I was involved in group sports and dance. Throughout high school, I played varsity tennis and competitive cheerleading, as I also continued to dance. Running was also a habit purely recreationally, although I’m pretty sure I did one season of cross-country.
As I progressed into adulthood, this foundation grew. As soon as I graduated from college, I was trained to instruct group aerobics classes. For years I taught just about every different kind of aerobics exercise fad that came up … step aerobics, slide aerobics, hi-lo aerobics, body sculpting, and more. I also picked up running more. I began to run 5k and half-marathons, with two marathons (Baltimore and Chicago) put in the mix. There’s no way to say how many of these runs I did until … my knees said, YOU’RE DONE!
That’s when I began contemporary Pilates. Certified through Stott Pilates, I began instructing in 2004 and have continued off and on since then. In 2007 I tried yoga and fell in love. While I participated in Yoga Teacher Training in 2011, I stopped just a couple of months before the end as my life working and raising my three daughters suffered. Despite being a “dropout”, I have taught yoga (you don’t actually need to be certified) in a way that blends my extensive knowledge of Pilates.
I hope you continue to join me as I share what I know about fitness and healthy living! I’m now in my third decade (oh man, that’s not a typo … DECADE) as an instructor. There are more aches and pains but still the same exuberance as I challenge and honor my body, mind, and spirit.