A successful yoga practice or workout routine begins with the right tools. However, selecting those right tools can feel a bit daunting, regardless of whether you’re stepping onto the mat for the first time or have been practicing for years. The following sections break things down, prop by prop, to highlight why each piece of equipment is useful and give you some pointers on how to make a selection that best serves your needs and goals.

Check out my SHOP page for a quick rundown of all my favorite items!

1. Yoga Mat

This is the one piece of quintessential equipment you absolutely need! Mats are often not returnable or exchangeable, so it’s important to give it a bit of thought, read reviews, and do some research before you buy. Think of picking out a yoga mat the same way a marathon runner would pick out a pair of running shoes. It’s an investment in your ability to perform. You’ll want something that’s built to last, offers cushion and grip, supports your joints, suits your style of practice, and can go where you go. Your mat is your work surface and that surface makes ALL the difference in how your practice feels and ultimately progresses. At the bottom of this page, you’ll find a table with a variety of mats to help point you in the right direction based on your needs.

A good quality mat should last you a few years, perhaps even a lifetime! However, it’s important to replace, repurpose, or recycle your mat when you notice:

  • Cracking, peeling, or damage on the surface
  • It stretches during weight bearing exercise
  • The edges become wavy or bubbly
  • It starts to feel dry or oily to the touch and loses its grip
  • Your joints feel achy
  • Despite your best efforts, you can no longer keep it clean

2. Yoga Blocks

I went in and out of yoga studios for years before I ever touched a block. I wasn’t sure how to use them, and quite honestly, didn’t think I needed assistance. Boy, was I wrong! Blocks are one

of the best things to happen to my practice and a helpful tool anyone can benefit from. Think of them like you would an ergonomic work station. Blocks help create better angles for your joints, raise your work surface to a level that better serves your anatomical structure and flexibility, and offer support in poses that would otherwise create strain, discomfort, or be inaccessible. They can also provide resistance or add a new layer of challenge as you advance.

Like your hands and feet, blocks work best in pairs! When picking out the block that’s right for you, make it a set so that next level of support is always within reach.

There’s only three types of blocks I usually recommend:

3. Yoga Strap

A yoga strap is another great asset for your practice! Think of straps like stilts. They become an extension of your arms and legs, providing additional length where and when you need it. This extra length can close the gap in a challenging bind or help you create connection between limbs. Like blocks, straps also offer both support and resistance allowing you to modify poses for accessibility while also building strength.

The only parameter you’ll need to consider when selecting a strap is length. An 8-foot strap is a happy medium I recommend for just about everyone. However, relative to your height, you could also get by with a 6-foot strap or opt for extra length at 10-feet.

4. Blankets

The primary goal of a blanket is to offer cushion, height, and support. They are the origami of yoga props, capable of folding or rolling into just about any shape and size to suit your needs and support your body. Blankets are most useful under sensitive knees during weight bearing exercises, tight hips during seated poses, when a block is too high or too rigid, and any time the goal is to make a pose relaxing or restful.

Just like your yoga mat, be a bit picky about which blankets you choose for your practice. You’ll want something that’s firm, stackable, holds its shape, and has a bit of a rough hand to provide better structure and grip. Opt for dimensions around 50”x70”. Avoid blankets that are super soft, fluffy, squishy, have decorative trim, or are unevenly shaped. A falsa blanket is the only style I recommend to my clients.

5. Hand Weights

Outside of your own bodyweight, hand weights or dumbbells are one of the best sources of resistance for strength training and endurance exercises on your mat. When building out your own set, it’s helpful to have a pair of weights that you can dub light, medium, and heavy. Start

with your medium set, and work up and down from there. Your light weights should be 2-5 lbs lighter than your medium set. Your “heavys” should be weighted 5-8 lbs more than your medium set. For example, if your medium set is 5 lbs, opt for a 2-3 lb light set and a 10-12 lb heavy set. You can always add or subtract weight from there to suit your needs and goals.

I gravitate towards rubber-coated, hexagonal dumbbells for my workouts, but the important thing is to select a weight that safely fits the size of your hand and offers a solid grip.

Another great option is a pair of adjustable dumbbells. While these sets tend to come with a heftier price tag, they do offer a great amount of versatility, take up less space, and allow you to increase resistance as your strength and comfort levels also increase.


So, there you have it – everything you could ever hope to know about yoga props and equipment! Ultimately, selecting the right tools comes down to three things: your needs, purpose of use, and budget. When you find where each of these intersect, making the right decision becomes easy and you’ll soon be on your way to success!

 

YOGA MAT GUIDE

If you… You need… Look for a mat… You might like…
slip and slide more grip with more texture, friction, or a sticky hand made of natural rubber or cork Jade Yoga’s Harmony Mat
Lululemon’s Arise Mat
Gaiam’s Cork Yoga Mat
sweat a lot moisture absorption made of porous material or microfiber mat towel with sweat-wicking, properties The Reversible Mat by Lululemon
Manduka’s eKOLite Yoga Mat
Manduka’s Yogitoes Towel
The Towel by Lululemon
have sensitive joints more cushion that’s thicker (5 mm or above) and offers a small amount of give. While they’re tempting, avoid super thick, squishy foam mats. Jade Yoga’s Fusion Mat
jump, float, and arm balance more support that’s dense, strong, and doesn’t compress under your hands and feet Manduka’s ProLite Mat
want a mat without fail a lifetime warranty like the Manduka pro, that’s guaranteed for life Manduka’s PRO Yoga Mat
struggle with balance more grip and support that offers both to support and grip Gaiam’s Cork Yoga Mat
Lululemon’s Arise Mat
want something easy to disinfect a non-porous surface with a smooth texture, that’s been coated, or is not made from natural rubber or cork The Reversible Mat by Lululemon
Manduka’s ProLite Mat
Gaiam 6mm Basic Yoga Mat
are always on the go something packable that’s lightweight, foldable, or meant for throwing in a backpack or suitcase Manduka’s PRO Travel Mat
Gaiam’s Travel Mat
are allergic to rubber or latex to carefully read the label opt for a mat made out of PU, PVC, or recycled materials Manduka’s ProLite Mat
plan to use your mat for more than yoga something versatile that’s easy to clean and offers decent grip or support Manduka’s ProLite Mat
IUGA Yoga Mat
Lululemon’s Arise Mat
are budget conscious or just getting started something serviceable that won’t break the bank that offers as much cushion, grip, and longevity as your budget allows to get the most out of your investment. Don’t forget to shop sale pages and discountined colors for a good mat at a better price! IUGA Yoga Mat
IUGA Eco Friendly Yoga Mat
Gaiam 6mm Basic Yoga Mat
Gaiam’s Cork Yoga Mat