Woman Wearing Yoga Mat

The Ultimate Guide to Yoga Gear

When you hear the word yoga, the first thing that springs to your mind probably isn’t fashion and accessories. However, the market for yoga clothes for women and men, as well as the props and items used to practice this traditional system of exercise is a large one which continues to grow.

Yoga clothes can encompass just about anything you wear as you practice your poses, with the main purpose being comfort. Yoga pants, in particular, have become such a popular fashion commodity that people now wear them in daily settings, bringing the comfort and flexibility of these special items to the streets.

Women Exercising Yoga in Gym

The yoga equipment used during a typical session ranges from balls to straps, and even comfortable pillows, depending on how you like to practice. These props have been designed to not only improve your poses but allow you to master the various moves and alignment that are so important to yoga.

While some people might shy away from using specialized clothing or yoga equipment as they practice, for most it offers a range of benefits. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, there are so many great advantages available to being kitted out in the right gear for your next yoga session.

The History of Yoga Gear

Although it’s true that traditional yogis weren’t seen sporting the latest pair of spandex yoga pants and rocking on a yoga ball as they practiced this ancient discipline, the use of props and clothing now play quite a large part in the exercise.

Exercising Yoga in History

Traditional yogis were thought to have worn a few different items of clothing, and according to scholars, these didn’t look too much like the typical yoga pants we know today. These first yogis were often seen wearing dhotis, which is a custom that many Indian yoga schools still follow today.

Considering that yoga clothes now form part of a $10 billion industry, it’s easy to see that many people believe in the power of having the right clothes for a workout. Ultimately, it comes down to whatever you find comfortable to practice in. There’s no right or wrong choice for yoga clothes for women or men, so follow your own body type and what helps you move best.

Why Having The Right Yoga Clothes Is Important

Anyone who practices yoga, whether they’re just starting out or have enjoyed it for years, will likely have a dedicated set of clothes that they workout in. Having the right activewear to suit your fitness regime has a range of benefits that will work towards making exercise more enjoyable and more effective for the user. Here are just a few reasons why it’s important to have the right yoga clothes.

Woman Doing Yoga in Field
  • Motivation - Have you ever noticed how much more motivated you feel to exercise when you’re dressed up in your active wear? Studies have shown that with the right clothes, we’re more likely to participate in the workout. So as long as you feel the part, your mind will follow and want you to partake in a yoga session.
  • Hygiene - Considering how much of a sweat you can work up during a session of Bikram, the right clothing choices are essential to your level of hygiene. Some materials are better at soaking up sweat such as polyester and spandex, so with this on you’re more likely to stay fresh.
  • Self Esteem - There’s no denying how good it feels to have on flattering clothing that suits your body type and makes you feel great as you work out too. With the right yoga clothes on, you’ll get an instant boost to your self-esteem.
  • Comfort - The number one benefit you get from having the correct yoga clothes comes from your comfort levels. With specially designed yoga gear, you’re going to be more comfortable as you perform poses and have a greater flexibility to achieve those challenging moves.

Yoga Clothes For Women vs Men

There’s no denying that the market for yoga clothes for women far outsells men’s, with a greater range of options available. Where men just need basic items such as pants, women must also think about additional items such as support in a sports bra.

Man And Woman Doing Yoga in The Park

Men’s yoga clothing is generally a lot more basic than women’s, and this normally comes down to what the market dictates. The yoga pants for men offer a looser fit than the tights style women’s pants, and they’re even encouraged to work out without a shirt on.

For women, there are a greater variety of yoga tops that include different designs such as spaghetti straps, built in bras, and racerback singlets. The colors and designs go far beyond what most men’s styles offer, and allow the woman to really personalize her look.

All of that in mind, though, there are no set rules for how men and women should dress during yoga. Provided each individual feels comfortable and is dressed according to their public setting, there’s no limit or minimum to how they must look.

Yoga Pants

As the single most important clothing item in the world of yoga, yoga pants are often the most talked about. Nowadays, it’s quite commonplace to see people wearing yoga pants as they run their daily errands or lounge about at home, thanks to the comfort and simplicity that these modern styles offer.

Woman Wearing Yoga Pants

With so many different styles available for both men and women, the options are virtually endless. Again, it’s important to consider your own body type and what you find most comfortable for achieving poses in and practicing your breathing.

Rather than wearing any old pants to your workout, yoga pants have been specifically designed to give the user a range of benefits that are suited to practicing yoga. Here are a few reasons why it pays to invest in a quality pair of yoga pants to improve your practice.

The Benefits of Yoga Pants


Hygienic Workout

Particularly in the hot forms of yoga, sweat can be a major issue. With the right materials, your yoga pants should keep you free from sweat, bacteria, and possible infections.

Flexibility

The key to a good yoga pant is one that will allow you to extend to your full potential and breathe properly. Without good alignment and breathing technique, your yoga sessions will be virtually useless.

Versatility

A good pair of yoga pants will extend far beyond just yoga. With so many different options such as tights, flared fit, roll down top, and more, these pants have doubled as a must-have fashion accessory.

The various styles of yoga pants are just about as diverse as the styles of yoga themselves, so you need to find some that suit your body type and comfort levels. Here are a few common types of yoga pants and what each of them can offer the wearer.

Different Styles of Yoga Pants


Yoga Tights And Leggings

By far the most popular style in modern times, yoga tights are just as their name suggests. These tight pants are usually made from polyester blends or spandex and give a firm but comfortable fit around the entire leg.

Harem Pants​

Designed to mirror the traditional dhoti style of clothing that yogis wore, these loose fitting pants are favored by some who believe they help them to move and breathe easier than the tight varieties.

Yoga Shorts

Although not as common, yoga shorts are still worn by some men and women due to their relaxed feel on your legs. These shorts are usually tight without any leg coverage, so they’re great for achieving the various poses.

How to Find Quality Yoga Pants

Once you’ve decided on a style, there are a few must-have features for a quality pair of yoga pants. When purchasing, consider just how much use you’ll get out of these pants and have a budget in mind for what you want to spend. The sliding scale in active wear can range quite significantly, and it’s easy to get carried away with big brand names that don’t offer much more than the rest.

Woman Posing in Yoga Polyester Pants

The most important feature of your yoga pants is the material. Look for anything that involves polyester blends, spandex, polypropylene, and wool. These materials will help to wick away moisture far more effectively than cotton can. Although cotton will breathe easier, it may also stick to your skin.

The material is also important to consider when you think about the range of motion you need to achieve in yoga. Since the aim here is to extend your body and hold certain poses, your yoga pants shouldn’t restrict this. Again, polyester blends and spandex are ideal for this.

You may need to test a few different types of yoga pants before you find the one that works for you. Ultimately, something that is breathable, flexible, and makes you feel good wearing them is the right choice. Considering you might also want to wear them when you’re not practicing, it pays to have a pair that suits your personal style.

Yoga Shirts

The other important part of your yoga clothing choices is your shirts. Yoga shirts again can be just as varied as the pants, so it all depends on personal preference. Traditionally, male yogis would practice without a shirt and these is still followed by some today. However, for women, there is a greater variety of yoga shirts to choose from.

Woman Wearing White Yoga T Shirt

Just as there with yoga pants, there is a huge variety of style and design to choose from with yoga shirts. Both men and women’s yoga shirts are available, but again the women’s styles offer far more variety in their design.

Different Styles of Yoga Shirts


Yoga Tank Tops

These are the most common variety of yoga shirts, offering a sleeveless and relaxed feel to work out in. Different variations of yoga tank tops come in their sleeves, with racerbacks and thin straps being the most popular.

Yoga T Shirts

Yoga t shirts are worn by both men and women and have a relaxed fit to them. These styles sometimes aren’t as popular for women as they tend to ride up during certain poses and don’t offer as much coverage.

Yoga Crop Tops

A recently emerging style of yoga shirt is a cropped shirt option, giving women coverage in certain areas but leaving the midriff area bare. This is thought to help with achieving the correct breath and not feeling as restricted as a full-length top.

How to Find Quality Yoga Shirts

Once you have the style in mind, there are a few things to consider with your choice of yoga shirts. Although it does again come down to personal preference, there are a few things that are essential in finding the right type of clothing for yoga.

Woman Wearing Blue Yoga Tank Top
  • Coverage - Regardless of whether you’re a man or woman, coverage is an important feature for most people. Yoga shirts might have a tendency to ride up during certain poses, so ensure that your chosen clothing will keep you covered.
  • Breathability - This again comes down the material chosen and considering how much sweat we produce from our torso area and underarms it’s extremely important. Select materials such as nylon for yoga tops as they offer breathability and durability.
  • Flexibility - Before purchasing your yoga shirts, consider the types of movements you do in a typical session. Stretching and reaching are common, so you don’t want to be restricted by certain styles that don’t allow for movement.

Other Yoga Clothes

For those who are looking to completely kit themselves out in comfortable yoga gear, there are even more options for clothing. Women especially might find comfort with extra support in the form of yoga sports bras, but you need to find one suited to this exercise.

Woman Wearing Yoga Sport Bra

Because yoga is a low-impact exercise, there’s no need to spend a lot of money on sports bras designed for running or other high-impact activities. The best yoga bras should be comfortable above all else, without worrying too much about a high level of support.

Yoga shoes are another relatively recent addition to the yoga gear market, replacing the popular barefoot fashion that many choose to follow. The purpose of yoga shoes is to help you keep your grip during difficult poses and also to provide hygienic coverage for your feet as you exercise.

Yoga Equipment

When you look back at the history of yoga, you’ll probably notice that yoga equipment and props weren’t really pictured. Traditional yogis practiced with very little, sometimes a basic mat made from animal fur, but generally on the hard earth. However, as this discipline has progressed with modern times there is now a range of yoga equipment available.

Yoga Gear Shop

Depending on your personal preference and the preferences of the studio or group you practice with, there can be any number of props required. The most common being your yoga mat, and leading right up to more complicated devices such as yoga straps and yoga pillows.

Those who favor a traditional approach to yoga and prefer to stick as close to the original forms as possible may forego their equipment, however, there’s no shame these days in using certain props to help you better your form.

How Yoga Equipment And Props Can Help

The main purpose of using yoga equipment and props is to enable you to achieve more during your session. As yoga requires ongoing training and attention to be able to master certain poses, it’s sometimes helpful to use an accessory to help us better ourselves.

Woman Exercising Yoga on Beach with Yoga Straps

Each piece of yoga equipment has its own unique benefits to the user, and those who practice should feel free to use as many or as few of these props as they wish. Although it may not have been popular when yoga was first invented thousands of years ago, most people are happy to rely on equipment these days to help them improve their practice.

Yoga Mat

What Is It? A yoga mat is the most common piece of equipment used in this exercise, and the only accessory that can date back to traditional yoga practices. The purpose of a yoga mat is to provide comfort from the ground and give the user their own personal space to work in.

Colorful Yoga Mats on Stack

The most common type of yoga mat found today is made from PVC, as this high-density material allows you to practice on a comfortable surface but also maintain your stability. There are varying degrees of thickness available, and this all comes down to personal preference.

Yoga mats gained popularity once yoga studios opened, as they allowed each participant their own space to practice. There are some different varieties including organic cotton or animal skin, however, the PVC variety is most common in western practice.

Benefits of Yoga Mat

Hygiene

As mats are sometimes shared in yoga studios, having your own has great benefits for your personal hygiene. With your own mat, you’re able to stay clear from other people’s sweat and bacteria, and you can easily keep it clean at home.

Private Space

One of the main reasons for practicing on a yoga mat is so we can have a clear and defined personal space to work in. These mats often act as an island and can help the user to feel as though they are isolated in their own personal haven as they perform their poses.

Safety

Particularly in the hotter types of yoga, sweat is a common issue. With a non-slip map you have a greater grip in wet conditions, and even when it’s dry you’re able to hold on firmer than you would if you were on the floor.

Portability

With your own yoga mat, you can take the yoga studio wherever you want. These mats are lightweight and portable so you can carry them to work, the park, or even on a flight, giving you true freedom in where you practice.

How to Use It

Using your yoga mat is quite simple, regardless of what type you own. Simply find a space that’s big enough and will give you adequate room to practice and lay down your mat. Ensure the edges aren’t tucked under or placed anywhere that might pose a tripping hazard.

Exercising Yoga on Yoga Mat in The Park

How to Find a Quality Product

When searching for a yoga mat, you’ll need to have an idea of your personal preference first. The material and thickness should be your main concern, with the most popular choice being PVC. A standard thickness of yoga mats is 1/8 to ¼ inch, but there is the option to go with a thicker ½ inch variety. This will all depend on what you find most comfortable, so don’t be afraid to try some assortments out.

Yoga Straps

What Is It? A yoga strap is a simple device, with the main purpose of acting as a stretching aid. These straps are made from cotton or nylon usually and they vary in length. The most common sizes are about 8 to 10 feet, and they have an adjustable D-ring or another mechanism on them.

Green Yoga Mat Strap

Yoga straps are one of the most underutilized pieces of equipment, but one with some of the biggest benefits to the user. Many people shy away from them as they don’t want to appear inflexible, but these straps can actually help you build up your physical skills and give you a far deeper stretch into your poses.

Straps are a common piece of equipment in yoga studios, but it’s also beneficial to have your own. With your own strap, there’s no need to share and you can use it for other things such as physical rehabilitation and improving flexibility in the privacy of your own home.

Benefits of Yoga Straps

Support And Safety

Especially for beginners, some of the poses required for yoga can be extremely hard to achieve. Those with a tendency to push themselves too hard and overreach might find they strain themselves when just starting out. A yoga strap provides you with the support you need to achieve a hard reach so that you’re doing so in a safe way.

Flexibility

Unfortunately, not everyone is flexible, and using a simple device such as a yoga strap can help you change your ways. These straps take a slow and steady approach to training your body, or they can be used as a permanent prop to allow you to perform certain poses.

Carrying Your Mat

A handy feature of the yoga is strap is that it can double as a mat carrier. Simply wrap it around your mat and you can sling it over your shoulder, giving it more use than just an exercise prop.

How to Use It

There are three main ways you can use a yoga strap: to extend your limbs, perform a bind, or twist deeply into a move. These straps allow you to get a feel for a move even if you’re not flexible enough to achieve it. Think of it as an extension of your limbs and listen to your instructor on how specific moves can be complemented with a strap.

Woman Doing Yoga with Yoga Straps

How to Find a Quality Product

While you might be tempted to use any old strap or piece of material for yoga, it’s best to stick with a product made specifically for this discipline. Choose a nylon or cotton strap that will give you a good grip, and avoid the cheaper varieties that might be vulnerable to snapping.

Yoga Blocks

What Is It? Yoga blocks are an extremely useful device for both beginners and experts. These simple blocks usually come in a rectangular shape and with curved edges, allowing the user to place their hands, feet, or other body parts on the blocks for support.

Three Pink Yoga Block

Yoga blocks usually come in three varieties: foam, cork, and wood. Each offers their own benefits so it depends on the user and what they find most comfortable. The foam variety is softer on your hands but doesn’t offer the density of a wooden block. Whereas the wood style can take some getting used to in terms of comfort, but it offers the most stability.

The most common uses for a yoga block is to aid with stretching, but they’re also ideal for building strength too. A yoga block can be implemented in just about any move where there’s a need for a difficult reach or stretch.

Benefits of Yoga Blocks

Concentration on Breath

As one of the most important elements of yoga practice, using a block during your poses can actually help you focus more on your breathing. Too often we are worried about achieving the physical pose and we forget about the importance of breathing, so a yoga block can offer you support.

Flexibility

For beginners especially, it can be daunting trying to achieve some poses. With a block, you can bring the ground closer to you so that there’s no need to reach as far. This is great for building your own flexibility.

Strength Training

Yoga blocks are a great way to improve your strength, as they can provide resistance during certain exercises.

How to Use It

There are three main ways to use your yoga blocks: by bringing the ground closer to you, finding your alignment, and allowing you to rest in restorative poses. Some moves may require a reach that you can’t perform, so your block can help fill the space. This allows you to get the full effect of the move and focus on your breathing, without worrying too much about your own flexibility.

Woman Doing Yoga with Yoga Blocks

How to Find a Quality Product

Before purchasing your blocks you should get a feel for each material to see what suits you. Beginners usually prefer the foam blocks for their comfort level, but as you get into harder poses cork or wood can give you the extra stability required. Always look for a non-slip product with rounded edges for your own safety.

Yoga Towels

What Is It? A yoga towel isn’t quite as simple as the name suggests. While you may be confused in thinking you can use any old towel for your yoga practice, there are far more advantages to using a specially designed yoga mat towel.

Blue Yoga Towel on Floor

These towels are usually the same size as a yoga mat, with the intention of being laid on top and covering the mat. They’re made from absorbent materials and usually feature microfibers so that they can easily wick away the moisture from sweat. Some designs feature a sticky bottom that helps them stay attached to your mat.

Yoga mats have been proven to host a range of harmful germs and bacteria, so using a mat towel is extremely important if you plan on sharing. If you don’t like to lug around your mat during the day just to make a class at night, you can simply place your towel into your bag for a simple solution.

Benefits of Yoga Towels

Cleanliness

Considering all of the germs found on a shared yoga mat, it’s great to have an added layer of protection. These towels are easier to carry around that a bulky mat so they’re great for using in yoga studios when you don’t have your own mat.

Stability

A dry towel underneath your body as you practice means you’re less likely to slip due to the moisture. Thanks to their material, they can absorb sweat quickly and easily. These towels provide a better grip than just a standard mat on its own.

Comfort

Using a yoga towel on your mat gives a nice padding, and the dryness they provide adds even further comfort. You can also use your towel to dry off your own sweat from your body so that there’s no need to bring another bulky item to class.

How to Use It

As soon as you arrive to class or set up your yoga mat, you can place the towel directly over the top. Ensure that you have the sticky bottom face down so that it can attach to your mat and prevent you from slipping. Most towels are machine washable so you should clean them after every use.

Woman Doing Yoga on Yoga Towel

How to Find a Quality Product

The best yoga towels will be made from microfiber, giving them the ability to wick away moisture and feel soft against your skin too. Although not necessary, it’s best to choose one with a sticky bottom such as silicone so that you can have a better grip. These towels come in many colorful designs so you can have a lot of fun in choosing one that suits your style.

Yoga Ball

What Is It? Although commonly referred to as a yoga ball, these devices are actually used for a whole range of exercises and physical activity. When used for yoga specifically, these help to improve your balance and can even be used like a yoga ball chair that you sit on to perform poses.

30 Inch Colorful Yoga Balls

These balls are generally made from a soft elastic material that gives them quite a flexible feel. The better brands offer anti-burst designs so that they can withstand quite a bit of weight and pressure before having any effect.

Yoga balls come in a few different sizes varying from 14 to 35 inches. As the main purpose is to provide a supportive base for you to perform exercises on, something bigger is always better. These exercise balls have a variety of uses so they’re great for more than just yoga as well.

Benefits of Yoga Balls


Improves Posture

As alignment and posture are important factors in yoga, using balls such as this can help to improve these skills. Even when you’re not practicing, a yoga ball can act as a chair that will improve your posture each time you sit on it.

Muscle Engagement

These balls are popular for all forms of fitness and physical rehabilitation for their ability to keep more of your muscles engaged that sitting or standing alone. When added to your yoga routine, you’re improving the use of your muscles and strengthening your body.

Comfort

For some, practicing yoga on the floor may be bad for existing medical conditions. These exercise balls can act as a softer surface for you to work with, provided you’re able to keep a steady balance.

How to Use It

Using a yoga ball is simple, and its main purpose is to replace a chair or floor during exercise. You can rest any part of your body against them to give a different range of motion during a workout, or even use them as a resting space.

Woman Exercising Yoga with Yoga Ball

How to Find a Quality Product

The best yoga balls are made from soft plastic, PVC, or elastic, so it will depend on what you find most comfortable. Always opt for materials with no hazardous ingredients to ensure the health of the environment and yourself. Choose a quality brand that offers anti-burst technology so you can stay safe as you work out.

Yoga Wheels

What Is It? A yoga wheel is a relatively new piece of equipment to the world of yoga, but one that has amazing potential to change the way some people practice. These wheels have been designed for people of all ages and with all skill levels, so they’re great for beginners and experts.

Yoga Wheel on Floor

A yoga wheel is a simple design made from thermoplastic rubbers or wood, and they come in a variety of sizes. These wheels are intended to help you achieve different poses, open up your chest and back, and offer support and stability as you practice.

Benefits of Yoga Wheels


Ease of Backbends

For many, their backbends are some of the trickiest poses to do. With yoga wheels, you can get much-needed support so that you can perform these safely and effectively.

Improving Core

When you use the yoga wheel with balancing poses, it can work with your body to improve your core and strengthen it. You can even add it to simpler poses to add a level of challenge and improve your strength further.

How to Use It

This device is truly versatile, so there are a number of ways you can use it. Whether it’s to support your back from behind, or laid down flat for you to rest on, there are literally hundreds of variations available with a yoga wheel.

Woman Exercising Yoga with Yoga Wheel

How to Find a Quality Product

Still a relatively new product, there are some larger brands with a solid reputation already behind their yoga wheels. Whether you choose wood or rubber, you need to ensure you are shopping for your body size and height.

Yoga Gear – A Personal Choice

One of the best things about yoga is its versatility, with everything from the different styles you can practice to where you choose to perform being completely unique for each individual. As there are no hard and fast rules to how you practice this ancient discipline, it can be varied to suit your needs.

Three Girls Doing Yoga

The yoga clothes we wear and the equipment we use will all come down to this personal choice, as each individual is going to find some things more useful than others. The purpose of yoga is to find quietness and clarity in your body and mind, so there’s not going to be one strict way to achieve this for everyone.

Regardless of what props you decide to use or how you like to dress for the occasion, there are so many amazing benefits with yoga. Using the right yoga gear to help you better yourself and feel comfortable as you practice ensures you get the most satisfying results from this ancient discipline.

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