A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga Equipment Essentials

Yoga, which has been practiced in some forms for thousands of years, is a relaxing strength training style of exercise that has many health benefits. From relieving stress and increasing flexibility to improving your mental and muscular acuity, yoga is seen by some as the fountain of youth.

If you’re new to the practice of yoga, you may be wondering exactly where to start. Whether you’re looking for the hatha yoga body-mind experience or just an excellent low-impact workout, you will need an assortment of yoga equipment to get the most out of your sessions.

As you develop your personal style of practice, you will discover which equipment suits you the best. In the beginning, though, you just need a handful of items to get you going. Read on to discover how to get started!

Yoga Mat

Perhaps the most fundamental piece of equipment for practicing yoga, a mat will serve you well in every session. Mats give you a bit of padding as well as grip, as yoga is typically practiced with bare feet. A mat also keeps your face away from the ground and helps you have a more hygienic experience.

Mats come in a variety of materials, the most common are made from a springy natural rubber or foam material. Cotton mats, often considered the first types of yoga mats, are soft and absorbent. Other available styles are made from hemp or grass, which can have a great natural woven feel.

Towel and Water Bottle

Yoga, though slow and deliberate, is a cardiovascular exercise that will get you sweating. To help keep the sweat at bay, a towel is essential. A common bath towel is perfectly fine, but you can also use special yoga towels that fit along the length of your mat.

Staying hydrated during your session is very important as well. Make sure to keep a spill-proof water bottle to replenish what you sweat out.

Yoga Clothes

Wearing the correct attire is important to make sure you can utilize your entire range of motion. Loose or ill-fitting items can get in the way during certain stretches, so choose athletic wear that fits closely but comfortably.

Pick items that are breathable and can stretch with your body. Moisture-wicking fabric is beneficial here. Shoes aren’t necessary, but arch support bands and gripping socks are options if you need them.

If you are taking yoga classes in a facility, consider bringing an extra layer that is easy to remove. While you will quickly warm during a session, the initial temperature may not be comfortable depending on their climate control.

Yoga Blocks

Especially for new practitioners of yoga, blocks are an extremely helpful tool. These over-sized foam bricks are lightweight, but versatile for ensuring you have a firm place to plant a hand or foot. A yoga block can be a stepping stone to complete a pose while you work on extending your flexibility.

Depending on the help you need, a yoga block can be turned to one of its many sides to give a few (or several!) extra inches of support. It can also help lengthen certain stretches or poses and push you a little further, when you are more seasoned, depending on where you place them.

Yoga Bands

Bands are also a useful tool to either lower or raise the difficulty, depending on how you use them. A band can support your body and help you hold your balance for the early days of your yoga journey, but can also be used for resistance to increase the level of a pose.

You may want to pick a lightweight band in the beginning and increase to higher resistance bands as your skill improves. Packs with multiple levels of resistance are a great way to get a variety of resistance bands for one price.

Yoga Bag

In order to carry your yoga supplies, you’ll need a bag. Totes are available that can accommodate the oblong shape of a rolled yoga mat, or include straps to affix it to the outside. With a good bag, you can carry your block, bands, mat, water, and even a change of clothes.

Alternatively, you can also get a strap for your mat for a separate and low-profile carrying system.

Extra Credit: Whale Back Bender

Yoga back benders are curved spinal supports that help you extend your spinal column. The shape of this piece of equipment resembles the curve of a whale’s back, hence the name.

Bending backward over it can help loosen back muscles and compression issues, as well as elongate the spine. Not only can this help alleviate back pain, but can improve your yoga (and daily) posture. The back bender also assists with several different yoga poses.

Yoga Equipment Can Heighten Your Experience

Yoga’s health benefits can be maximized with a few simple yoga supplies. While you may find that a few basic essentials are all you require in the beginning, you can add extra yoga equipment to suit your practice style as you progress in your poses. There are even smartphone apps you can use to kick your routine to the next level!

With regular sessions, you’ll experience better stamina, strength, flexibility, and yoga skills. You’ll also gain a better understanding of what equipment can help take your self-development to new heights.

Do you have your own favorite yoga essentials that really improve the quality of your sessions? Leave us a comment below! And check our blog for more in the latest fitness technology and lifestyle tips.

Check Out the 10 Best Apple Watch Bands of 2018

If you’re the kind of person that understands the impact a good pair of shoes or an accessory can have on your look, you probably have a wide variety of both in your wardrobe.

Why shouldn’t you have a few different bands for your Apple Watch then too?

Below are our top picks for the best Apple Watch bands of 2018.

1. Southern Straps – Apple Watch Straps

Whether you’re looking for a leather or nylon strap for your Apple Watch, Southern Straps offers many different options so you can make your watch more individual with a simple swap.

For the NATO-style fans out there, the ballistic nylon option gives you the style you’re looking for in multiple colorways at a very affordable price.

Looking to splurge a bit more? Southern Straps’ Italian leather bands feature leather from some of the finest tanneries in Milan and are well worth the $75 price tag.

Did we mention that each watch band is hand built in the United States?

2. Apple – Sport Band

If you lead an active lifestyle, the Apple Sport Band is an inexpensive option which features a simple, bold design that’s both easy to wear and even easier to keep clean.

For just $49, it’s one of the more affordable Apple Watch wristbands on the market – making it a great option if you want to stick with the Apple brand, but don’t want to spend a small fortune.

And the wide range of colors available doesn’t hurt, either.

3. Casetify – Saffiano Leather Watch Band Collection

If you’re a leather lover with a penchant for vibrant hues, the Saffiano leather watch band collection from Casetify is right up your alley.

The quality of the watch bands is similar to those sold directly by Apple, but there’s a lot more variety to choose from as far as colors and prints go.

Whether you’re feeling a simple stripe or something a little more bold like a tropical print, Casetify has plenty of options for you.

4. Apple – Nike Sport Band

Are you a fitness fanatic with a flair for fashion?

If you are, the Nike sport band from Apple is a collaboration you won’t want to miss. Like any other product, Nike releases new sport bands regularly, so if you’re fond of this design, you’ll want to check back every now and then to see if there’s another colorway that excites you.

Design wise, the Nike sport band is similar to Apple’s classic sport band, but the Nike version features cutouts which not only make the design more unique, but the band itself is more breathable too.

What makes this collaboration even better is that it’s the same price point as the classic Apple sport band.

5. Clockwork Synergy – Classic NATO Nylon Watch Band

If you’re looking to add a little class to your wardrobe in seconds, the Classic NATO nylon watch band from Clockwork Synergy is an easy and inexpensive way you can do exactly that.

The Clockwork Synergy nylon band is just as aesthetically pleasing as the Apple version, but for half the cost.

If a simple, understated design and function are more important to you than finding the best luxury Apple Watch bands, then a nylon band could be just what you’re looking for. They’re light, comfortable, and feature a simple and clean design that pairs effortlessly with just about everything in your closet.

And for the $24.95 price tag, you can even snag a few different colors without worrying about breaking the bank.

6. Hoco – Stainless Steel Apple Watch Band

Are you loving the look of the Apple Link Bracelet, but can’t justify dropping $449 on one?

The stainless steel Apple Watch band from Hoco is about to be your new best friend. With customizable links, a sleek design reminiscent of the Apple watch band, and a $68 price tag on Amazon, this Hoco watch band is the ultimate steal.

7. Grovemade – The Leather Apple Watch Band

If you’re looking for an American-made vegetable-tanned leather band that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, Grovemade is the brand for you.

Their minimalist look is reminiscent of many designer Apple Watch bands, but will only run you a cool $79.

8. Carterjett – Tire Tread Rubber Watch Band

If you’re the ultimate outdoor fan and are looking for a watch band that will hold up during just about any activity, the Tire Tread band from Carterjett is a clear choice.

It’s waterproof, hypoallergenic, and features a cool tire tread design that’ll definitely make a statement.

And guess what? It’s only $15.99 on Amazon right now.

9. V-Moro – Vintage Crazy Horse Leather Watch Band

Lusting for leather but on a tight budget?

V-Moro’s Vintage Crazy Horse watch band is under $20 and features a super-chic double-wrap design. And what’s more? It comes in several different neutral colors, so it’s easy to rock no matter what kind of look you’re going for.

10. Apple – Classic Buckle Band

If you’re looking for a classic, distinguished band and have a little more money at your disposal, Apple’s Classic Buckle band will fit the bill.

It’s polished enough for the office, but sleek and minimalist enough for everyday wear too. It’s a combination of fashion-forward design and function that you can’t go wrong with.

Get Your Hands on One of the Best Apple Watch Bands of 2018 Today

When it comes to Apple Watch bands, the number of options on the market today can be overwhelming, to say the least.

To make your decision easier, we decided to round up our top picks for the best Apple Watch bands of 2018. With this list, all of the bases are covered, so deciding what watch bands you want to purchase will be the least of your worries.

Want more great Apple Watch tips, like the 10 best apps you need to download? Check out the rest of our website for them, and more!