The Ultimate Guide To Yoga Wear And Equipment

Laura Finch
written by Laura Finch
part of Yoga Kali
created on March 11, 2019
updated on August 6, 2019

There’s a whole world of yoga gear out there, making yoga as fun as ever and accessible to people of any age, abilities, and body type.

This ultimate introduction to yoga clothing and equipment will guide you through bare essentials and advanced props that will take your flexibility, balance, and strength to the next level.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing yoga. Maybe you’re just a beginner, and you don’t know where to start. Or perhaps you’ve got years of experience under the belt and looking for something to spice up your routine. This guide features every prop and clothing item you might be searching for to add comfort, safety, and versatility into your practice.

Yoga Wear

If you haven’t committed to naked yoga yet (check out my interview with a naked yogi here), yoga wear will become an essential part of your practice.

Truth to be told, yoga clothes are not to meant to look good (though it’s an important factor to consider when making a purchase). They are meant to be functional. In fact, a right yoga outfit will make you forget that you’re wearing something in the first place by eliminating any distractions and helping you shift your entire focus to the practice.

Opt for comfort and safety. You’ll be surprised how these two simple details can enhance your yoga experience.

Yoga Pants & Leggings

A casual pair of track pants might work if you enjoy an occasional home practice. However, their functionality is limited to slow and relaxing styles of yoga when you won’t be getting up from your yoga mat much. The more you move, the more comfortable you want to feel. Pants that are too heavy, restrict your movement and hinder the evaporation of sweat are definitely not something you want to deal with.

Those who still can’t tell the difference between yoga pants and leggings – no worries. Thanks to this easy explanation of yoga pants vs leggings, you’ll never get confused again!

Looking for a new pair of pants for your yoga practice but are not sure what features to search for? Check out our guide to choosing yoga pants.

How To Choose Yoga Pants: The Buying Guide for Men and Women

For recommendations on the top products on the market, have a look at our best yoga pants and leggings for women and best yoga pants and leggings for men.

Best Yoga Pants and Leggings for Women

Best Yoga Pants and Leggings for Men

Yoga Shorts

Shorts are a great alternative to long slacks during warmer months. They let your skin breathe and make the sweat evaporate faster, keeping you cool and dry. If you find yoga pants or leggings too restrictive or just enjoy a hot practice, yoga shorts might be exactly what you need.

Yoga Top

There’s a great variety of products out there: tank tops, loose tops, crop tops, breathable tops, and there’s no end to it. Always remember to consider the type of yoga you’re doing. You would want a top with proper ventilation in hot or Bikram class and a tighter-fitting tee in a vigorous practice with lots of inversions.

Check out our selection of the best tops and tanks for women here as well as the best yoga shirts for men.

Best Yoga Tops And Tanks For Women 2019

Maximize Your Performance With These Men’s Yoga Shirts

Sports Bra

This is an indispensable item for female or trans yogis. Though yoga is considered a low-impact activity, it certainly may not feel like it when jumping from Monkey Pose to Chaturanga. There aren’t specific bras for yoga exclusively so the good news is that you can wear your gym bra to yoga as well.

If you don’t own one yet, check out some advice on what features to look for in a bra in this article.

Headbands

This stylish and multifunctional accessory will keep the flyaways in place, wick away sweat, offer more coverage on a bad hair day and even help with relaxation in Savasana when pulled down over eyes.

Yoga Socks

This yoga accessory will protect your feet from bacteria on rental yoga mats and studio floors, keep you warm and add stability even on the slippy yoga mat. Thanks to rubber nubs on the bottom, yoga socks are also designed to grip any surface including carpets, tiles and wooden floors. This makes them a perfect travel companion if you have no space in your luggage for a yoga mat or towel.

Check out how to choose your perfect pair and what are the best offers on the market in our article on best yoga socks.

Best Grip Yoga Socks To Prevent Slipping

Grip Gloves

Just like yoga socks, grip gloves are designed to increase traction with the surface and prevent slipping. Forget about wobbling and sliding in your Downward Dog when your palms get sweaty. Pair the gloves with non-slip socks, and you’ll be able to enjoy your yoga practice anywhere with minimum equipment.

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Yoga Equipment & Accessories

No matter what type of yoga you choose to stick to, listen to what your body needs and don’t be afraid to experiment. Some yoga props might look scary or unintuitive, but all of them eventually prove to be an excellent addition to your routine.

Yoga Mat

The mat is the first and foremost piece of equipment which you should consider investing in. It is far more than just a hygienic solution for studio classes. The mat’s non-slip surface adds to a more comfortable practice as well as provides extra cushion for joints.

Read our guide to choosing a good yoga mat along with the recommendations for the best yoga mats for beginners, for travel, for sweaty palms and all-around practice.

Choosing A Yoga Mat Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

Yoga Mat Bag

Carrying a yoga mat to the studio in a regular field bag is usually not an option. Juggling separate bags with a yoga mat, clothes, extra yoga props, and a purse is also no fun. Thankfully, there’s a variety of yoga mat bags to meet your needs: from minimalist slings to roomy and multi-functional backpacks.

A yoga mat bag will not only make your travel to and from studio easier but will protect your accessories from dirt and rain.

Our guide to the best yoga bags and carriers for men and women will help you decide on the style and features of the perfect bag for you.

The 8 Best Yoga Mat Bags and Carriers for Men and Women

Mat Cleaner

Cleaning your yoga mat on a regular basis will prolong its durability and keep bacteria and germs at bay – nobody wants to lie face down on a smelly surface. You can buy a special disinfecting mat spray or just mix up your own! Check the cleaning instructions of your mat manufacturer before getting into any action. Some of the mats do not get along well with essential oils and become more slippery.

Yoga Mat Towel

It keeps you dry and reduces slipping during a sweaty practice. Some of the yoga towels have sticky bottoms to cling to your mat and prevent bunching whereas others feature side pockets. Designed mainly for hot yoga fans, yoga towel will also come in handy for yogis who are prone to sweating.

Check out what makes a good yoga towel and why your bathroom towel is no good for your yoga practice in our guide to best yoga towels.

Do You Really Need A Hot Yoga Towel?

Yoga Blocks & Yoga Strap

These props are designed to improve your flexibility, help with the alignment, and even correct your posture and reduce back pain. They are often sold as a part of a yoga kit for beginners but are useful for experienced practitioners as well.

Find all the answers about the benefits, possible uses and different types of blocks and straps in our ultimate guide to the best yoga straps and the article on the best yoga blocks.

Yoga Straps: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Yoga Blocks

Foam Wedge

This lightweight yoga prop is somewhat similar to a yoga block, but instead of offering a flat brick-like surface, a foam wedge features a forward slant. It is designed to support your sore wrists, lower back, and tight hamstrings so that you can ease into challenging yoga poses.

Yoga Wheel

This circular yoga prop helps to massage your spine, relieve back pain, increase flexibility (especially nail those backbends!) and improve your balance. Only 10 minutes of daily rolling on the yoga wheel will make a world of difference for your back, tired of constant slouching. But considering how fun this yoga prop is, you will most probably turn the 10-minute routine into a full-length practice.

Learn your first poses with a yoga wheel and how to choose one in our review of the best yoga wheels.

Yoga Wheel Mania: Is The Trendy Prop Really Worth It

Yoga Bolster

Bolsters are firm pillows used in restorative yoga for releasing muscle strain and achieving deep relaxation. These huggable props are also of great help in meditation and breathing practices.

Check our post here for the round-up of the best bolsters for studio and home practices as well as tips on using and choosing yoga bolsters.

How Yoga Bolsters Can BOLSTER Your Yoga Practice: Best Products Reviewed

Yoga Blanket

Also known as Mexican blanket, this yoga accessory is super versatile and can substitute several other props. Not only will a yoga blanket keep you warm and cozy in Savasana, but it can also be rolled up into a small bolster and used as a support for your hips in seating postures and as an extra cushion for your joints. It also usually comes in tons of colors and patterns to match your taste and personality.

Yoga Pads

Yoga pads are used to support and cushion the ‘sharp’ parts of your body specifically knees and elbows as well as relieve wrist pain. They are also of great help in case you’re recovering from a minor injury and need a gentler surface to practice on. There are generally two types of yoga pads: either thick and tiny yoga mats, which also can be used as mat extensions, or flexible jelly-like discs made of silicone.

Water Bottle

While taking care of your body and mind, it is an excellent time to think and take care of the environment around you. We strongly encourage you to reduce plastic usage and invest in a reusable flask. Especially if you’re a hot yoga fan.

Read more about how to choose the water bottle here.

Yoga Chair

This useful prop will help get back on the mat after an injury and improve the practice for people with disabilities. Yoga chair is used to increase flexibility as well as add support in twists and backbends.

Learn more about the benefits and types of yoga chairs in this article.

Restorative Eye Pillow

Eye pillows are designed for shutting out the light in Savasana though science suggests that the effect of this little accessory is far beyond that. Eye pillows can regulate our mood, promote better relaxation and maybe even make us happier in the long term, according to this short write-up.

Yoga Trapeze & Swings

With yoga trapeze, you will beat the gravity and feel like a bird taking off the ground. The aerial swing will support you in inversions, help build core and upper body strength, and relieve the back pain. It’s also lots of fun to incorporate it in yoga flows, like this one for example.

Yoga Stability Ball

This accessory is designed for those who like to combine yoga with resistance exercise for maximum results. The stability ball comes in different sizes and can either add challenge to your practice or provide additional support in some poses.

Try this home yoga sequence with a stability ball to shake up your daily routine.

Cork Yoga Mat Set With Blocks and Strap, Premium Eco Friendly Product on White Background

The Bare Essentials For Beginners

If you’re just starting out, there’s no need to stock up on all the available yoga equipment. Many props are multi-functional. For instance, a yoga blanket can be rolled up into a small bolster and cushion sensitive joints instead of yoga pads; smaller yoga bolsters can double as yoga blocks for developing better alignment and opening the chest; yoga socks can be replaced by a full-sized yoga mat towel that will soak up sweat and minimize slipping.

Nonetheless, there is some gear that is worth investing in from the start. For starters, good yoga pants and a yoga top are must-haves – you have to come to the studio wearing something anyway and this something is better to be comfortable. Chafing seams, itchy fabric, and trapped sweat are the last things you would want to deal with in the middle of your class. So when choosing your yoga apparel, pick a breathable and stretchy material that will keep you dry and move with you throughout your practice.

As to the equipment, you won’t need much for your first yoga classes. Many studios will offer rental yoga mats and other smaller props. At some point in your practice, you’ll probably want to get your own yoga mat so that you could safely enjoy all the benefits of yoga from home. In case you’re not ready to commit to a personal yoga mat yet, a full-sized yoga towel can save you from bacteria of rental mats as well as prevent slipping and wick away moisture during the intense or hot practice.

A set of blocks and a yoga strap will be of great help to develop proper alignment, increase flexibility and prevent injury. With these yoga props, you can boost your home practice when there’s no yoga instructor to assist you with correct form.

You might require other props or equipment if you’re planning to take up specialized yoga. A water bottle, for example, will always come in handy in the hot yoga or Bikram class whereas a bolster and an eye pillow will make a world of difference in the restorative yoga session.

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