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So, you have finally taken the plunge and decided to start doing yoga. It has so many health benefits, and you can do it anywhere, anytime with the help of a teacher, or one of the many apps and videos available online.
However, you will probably find when you get started that yoga is not the “no equipment needed” practice you may have imagined. In order to do the sequences and get into the positions properly, you actually need quite a few things.
Setting yourself up with a yoga kit does not need to be expensive or challenging. You can buy ready-made kits, or, if you are just missing one or two pieces, you can easily put your own together.
Today we are going to go through exactly what should be in your yoga starter kit, and we’ll share with you some of the best yoga kits available in the UK today. If you prefer, we’ll also recommend some individual pieces so you can make your own.
We love this 6-piece yoga kit by Sivan!
Yoga Kit Essentials
When we talk about a yoga kit or a yoga starter kit, what exactly are we talking about?
In my experience, there are four essential pieces to any yoga beginners kit, and some other bits and pieces that can be helpful extras as well.
Do you really need a yoga mat, when you can do yoga pretty much anywhere? The answer is yes. Yoga mats are specifically designed to improve your practice.
They are designed to let you grip the ground better, which can be important when getting into certain poses. A yoga mat also provides light cushioning, so that you don’t feel like your knees, elbows or hands are digging into the ground.
Of course, it also acts as a barrier between you and a potentially dirty floor. Your yoga mat should come with a yoga mat strap or a yoga mat bag, making it easy to transport to classes or wherever you like to practice, or these can be bought separately.
If you do hot yoga, or you sweat a lot, you will also want a yoga towel to cover your mat. Otherwise, not only can your mat get slippery, but it can start to smell. And while you should be cleaning your yoga mat regularly, the more sweat it soaks, the more it will hold onto that smell. That usually means getting a new yoga mat more frequently.
A good yoga towel is the same size as your yoga mat, and will have some kind of grip on the underside to let it cling to the mat. It should be made from a microfiber material that captures moisture, and also is not slippery under foot.
Yoga bricks, (sometimes called yoga blocks) can help beginners get into positions that are otherwise inaccessible, and they can help experienced yogis to get deeper into positions and evolve their practice.
With yoga blocks, you can get into the positions while maintaining the right alignment, rather than pushing your body out of line in order to get your hands down. This allows you to benefit from yoga practice without putting stress and strain on your body.
You can use your yoga bricks to modify poses to make them easier or harder. For example, when in front splits, you can use the blocks under your hands if you can’t reach the ground. Equally, you can put a block under your front foot to extend the stretch beyond 180 degrees.
Remember, you will probably need two, as there are many poses where you will likely want one under each hand.
Yoga straps are another tool that can be used either to make difficult poses accessible, or to deepen your practice. These are different from many of the other exercise straps you see, in that yoga straps are not stretchy. They are designed to support your body into certain positions, rather than provide weight resistance like other exercise straps.
How do you use a yoga strap? If you can’t reach your foot while lifting it into the air, you can use the yoga stretch strap to lengthen your reach. When you go into a backbend, you can use the strap to keep your feet close together, and not let them turn out, making the move more challenging and beneficial.
You should be able to put your yoga strap into an adjustable loop for different techniques, and it should also be durable, grippable, and not hurt your hands if it was accidentally to slide through your fingers.
A yoga kit can help you get into some otherwise difficult positions!
While that is a complete list of what I would consider essential, there are a few other options you might want in your yoga kit.
Knee Pads – Some of us have knobblier knees than others, and we can really feel it as we push weight through them into the ground. In these cases, a knee pad that adds just a little bit of extra cushioning is a good idea.
Stability Ball – Like many of the other items on this list, a stability ball can be used to make some challenging poses more accessible, but also supercharge your practice, as adding the challenge of balance to some postures will engage your muscles more.
Hand and Face Towel – Because sweatiness happens. It can be uncomfortable, irritating if it’s dripping into your eyes, and also dangerous if things start to become slippery.
3 Best Yoga Starter Kits
If you are keen to get everything that you need in one spot to get started as quickly as you can, then there are a few complete yoga starter kits on the market that will serve you well.
Clever Yoga Complete Yoga Set for Beginners
This set comes with everything I would consider essential for a new yogi.
It starts with the yoga mat, which is a bit bigger than standard size and has non-slip features which will ensure that you can grip your mat, and that your mat can grip the floor. At 0.6 cm, the mat is a bit thicker than I generally like to use, but may offer welcome additional cushioning for beginners.
There is a mat towel and a hand towel made from top quality material that soaks up sweat without becoming slippery. It has a durable and adjustable strap made from 100 percent premium cotton, which is machine washable. Finally, there are two standard-size yoga blocks made from sturdy high-density foam that will easily take your full weight.
The set comes in three different colour options and is available for under £80, which is good considering how much is in the kit, which also comes with a yoga kit bag to keep it all together. That mat is not perfect, but for a beginner it should suit just fine.
- Yoga Mat (183 cm by 63.5 cm by 0.6 cm)
- Two yoga blocks
- Yoga mat towel and hand towel
- Yoga Strap
Avisa Yoga Starter Kit
For an affordable option, consider this set from Aviva, which comes with everything you could need.
It starts with a mat, which is another thick mat at 0.6 cm, which is great for beginners, though many yogis prefer a thinner 0.3 cm mat. It comes with a microfiber towel perfectly measured to sit on top. The material is absorbent, and has non-stick bubbles to ensure that there is no sliding around.
The kit also comes with tow standard yoga blocks made from durable EVA foam, a standard strap, plus both a bag and a mat carry strap for transporting all of your gear between classes, or just inspiring locations.
The kit is currently only available in purple, which is a bit disappointing, but considering you can get all of this for only £55, it is a great starter kit if you don’t want to invest too much.
- Yoga Mat (183 cm by 61 cm by 0.6 cm)
- Yoga Mat towel
- Two blocks
- Carry bag and mat carry strap
Sivan Health and Fitness Yoga Set
If you are looking for a premium yoga kit, and you are willing to pay for it, then this option from Sivan is of the highest quality.
Its starts with a yoga mat, which is standard size and ¼ inch thick. While we personally prefer a slimmer mat, this one is made from memory foam and still feels firm. It has non grip features on both sides to ensure that your mat stays in place on the floor, and you stay in place on top of it.
With the mat, you get both a mat towel and a hand towel made from microfiber, which is both highly absorbent and non-slip. It comes with two durable standard yoga blocks and a 200 cm strap for body extension work. There is also a strap to transport your mat.
Everything in the kit is marked with the Sivan Health & Fitness Brand, which may or may not appeal, and it only comes in its signature teal. But you can be sure that everything in this kit will last. Considering the price tag, we wouldn’t expect anything less!
- Yoga Mat (180 cm by 61 cm by 0.6 cm)
- Mat and hand towels microfiber
- Two blocks
- 6200 cm strap
- Mat carrier strap
Make Your Own Kit
If you already have a mat you love, and are just looking for the extra bits to enhance your practice, you can easily buy everything separately, and at affordable prices.
If you don’t already have a mat you love, check out our review of the 8 Best Yoga Mats for 2020.
IUGA Yoga Towel Set
You can get this quality microfiber yoga mat towel with hand towel from IUGA for less than £20. It is super absorbent, dries quickly, and comes with corner pockets that let you fit the towel over your mat for an even sturdier grip.
- Absorbs 5 times its weight in water and air dries quickly
- Non-slip silicone bottom
- Corner pocket to secure the towel to your mat
- Six colours
- Less than £20
Yogabum Classic Collection Non-Slip Yoga Mat
If you want a more premium option, check out this attractive and comfortable mat from Yogabum. The grip dots which help the towel stick to the mat are made from recycled plastic bottles, so it is also an environmentally friendly option!
- 100 percent microfiber
- Absorbent and quick-drying
- Grip dot non-slip design
- Six colours
- Less than £30
Yogibato Cork Blocks
These unusual cork yoga blocks not only look cool, but are good for the environment. They are made from 100 percent natural and renewable cork, and are biodegradable. They are just as durable and easy to grip as their EVA foam counterparts.
- 22.5 cm by 12 cm by 7.5 cm
- 100 percent natural cork
- Biodegradable and environmentally friendly
- Non-slip easy-grip surface
- Less than £25 for two
IUGA Yoga Block Set
These more traditional EVA foam blocks are both good quality and affordable. They are designed not to absorb sweat, and so shouldn’t build up bacteria no matter how much you use them. Plus, you get both the blacks and a yoga strap for less than £20.
- 23 cm by 15 cm by 7.5 cm
- EVA foam
- Yoga Strap included
- Five colours
- Less than £20
Tumaz Yoga Strap
This yoga strap is so tough that it has been tested to take more than one ton of weight, so there is no question of it breaking. But the tight knit provides smooth texture, so it won’t feel heavy duty on the skin. It comes in different size options for different yogis.
- 180 cm, 245 cm or 305 cm lengths
- 38 cm thick
- 4mm welded D-ring buckles
- 13 different colour options
- Less than £10
Voidbiov D-Ring Buckle Yoga Strap
This similar option from Voidbiov is also a great choice, made from 98 percent cotton and two percent polyester, it is both durable and soft. Choose between two different sizes, and easily adjust as needed with its double D-ring buckle design.
- 185 or 250 cm long
- 98 percent cotton
- Double D-Ring fastening
- Eight colours
- Less than £10
Yoga Knee Pads
Sargoby Fitness Yoga Knee Cushions
This simple knee pad offers 15mm of foamy padding goodness for your knees, and you can just pull it on and off your mat as needed without any fuss. You can also use it for forearm balances or to elevate yourself a little when opening the hips.
Sunspeed Yoga Knee Pads
These work slightly differently in that you get two separate pads, letting you position them wherever you need them. Made by PU foam, they are non-slip, and add 2cm of padding for comfortable knees.
How often should a beginner do yoga?
While yoga might look relaxing and restorative for your body, when you first start out you can find yourself feeling sore afterwards as you engage muscles that you are not accustomed to using. When just starting out, try to do two yoga sessions a week for 60 to 90 minutes. You should quickly build up your strength, and can eventually start doing yoga every day if you wish.
Always start with traditional yoga before diving into hot yoga varieties.
Can I teach myself yoga?
There are so many fantastic resources out there that allow you to learn a lot of yoga on your own. You can find online guides about the poses, moving between them, breathing, and much more. While these videos will do the best they can to explain correct alignment in each of the poses, it is not the same as an experienced teacher being able to see what you are doing.
So, while you can do a lot of yoga on your own, it is recommended that you go to some classes with an experienced teacher to touch base and make sure you are doing everything properly.
Can you lose weight with yoga?
Yes, yoga can help you to lose weight. Yoga improves how our bodies work in general, with better blood circulation, which will make your body better able to use and breakdown fats. There are also some styles of yoga, such as Ashtanga and Vinyasa, that are very energetic, and therefore burn calories just like aerobic exercises.
Yoga helps you develop muscle tone, which boost your metabolism, and yoga also helps us to be more mindful of our bodies, so you might find yourself making better food choices without really thinking about it.
Yoga is a fantastic form of exercise, and one of the things that is fantastic about it is that you can do it anywhere, and any time (even while social distancing!) But yoga is not “equipment-free”. While dropping into a few yoga poses doesn’t require much more than your body, a serious yoga practice in which you are expanding your limits benefits from a few essential pieces of equipment. The yoga kits we’ve discussed here should give you everything you need!
Last update on 2021-01-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API