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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I’m definitely going to have to try yoga jellies... Report
Great information. Report
RO2BENT 6/29/2020
I bet the OG yogis would laugh, but i don't care because these help people to improve their lives Report
I’ve use them all over the years. I like using my own personal blocks mat and strap. Plus, I do hot yoga and have several yoga towels specifically made for not slipping and don’t put fabric softener on them or they become very slippery. Report
I enjoy yoga likes new accessories that are coming out to either aid or for cleaning nice. Thanks SP!! Report
I love the products and the prices! Report
thanks Report
I need to get a few of these items. I like the idea of Yoga jellies. Report
I have not been successful at yoga in the past. Maybe these items could help. Report
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.
Great information! Report
I had never heard of yoga jellies but I think that I want some for my bad knees. Report
Wow didn’t know about this extra equipment. Report
wow! Hadn't heard of any of this equipment but the mat and strap! Thanks Report
Holy advertisements!!!!!! More to do with shopping than yoga! Report
My studio provides all the equipment, but I have my own mat. I also use grippy socks. Report
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
Sorry, this saved twice. Report
Fun items but not necessary to practice yoga. Report
Good information. I need to purchase some of these since I'm really doing a lot of yoga exercises lately. Report
I am embarrassed that spark techies would title this as an article.Not getting enough from the ads? Report
I don't have all this equipment, but I( do enjoy Yoga Report
thank you Report
Yoga everyday. Report
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
Thank you Report
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
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
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
nice Report
I wonder if the jellies work for artificial knees? Report
I am not familiar with the jellies but need to look into them! Report
Thanks. Report
Thank you for the information. Report
I don't like yoga, but this is a great list. Report
helpful Report
Great article Report
Thanks! Report
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
Great items and prices! Thanks for sharing! Report
thanks Report
I have a yoga mat, straps and block...that's all I need. Report
I love yoga!!! Report
interesting.... not sure its all necessary at all. Report
thank for the information. Report
very helpful Report
Great tips Report