Interview conducted by Catalina Margulis.

Perfecting your downward dog doesn’t need to be done in a class—with the proper equipment, you can nail your yoga poses at home. From basics, like a mat, to post-yoga personal care items, these yoga essentials for beginners will help you stay on top of your practice in the comfort of your very own home yoga studio.

Thanks to holistic lifestyle expert and registered yoga instructor Jenn Pike, we’ve also got useful tips on how to optimize yoga fitness workouts so you can be the most zen version of yourself.

Download a full list of what you need for yoga in your home to check off on your next wellness-inspired shopping trip.

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Home Yoga Tips

Read on for helpful tips on practicing yoga at home.

Starting a yoga practice at home

  • Build your confidence: “Yoga is the perfect exercise to do at home,” says Pike. “It’s accessible, it’s portable [and] there are great apps—like YogaGlo—you can download.” There are also many yoga DVDs and online yoga classes you can take part in, sans the anxiety of falling out of a pose in front of a room of people.
  • Go at your own pace: The best part of doing yoga in your home? You don’t necessarily need to go through an entire flow each time you show up to the mat. If all you have time for is a few yoga poses for a few minutes, that’s fine, too. It may be better to start out small—around 10 to 15 minutes a day (when you have time) until you master each pose. Go at your own pace and, most importantly, listen to what feels right for your body.

Setting up your space

  • A place to unwind: The fun part is creating your very own home yoga studio. It’s important to establish a quiet, uncluttered space where you can unwind and get into your practice time and again. No matter the size of the space, it should feel sacred and be filled with all your essential yoga props. Just like in a studio, there should be enough room to move around your mat freely and, for first timers especially, a mirror will allow you to watch your poses and perfect them.
  • Create calm: When creating a mood, tranquility should be the aim. Accomplish this by adding calming elements into your space that will help put your mind at ease—think incense, essential oils, music and even plants. If you want to make yoga a regular practice, you’ll want to make your space feel extra cozy.

Equipment

  • Hold that pose: In yoga, maintaining your pose is key. Now imagine yourself in plank position on your mat when your hands and feet begin to slip beneath you. According to Pike, low-quality mats typically cause sliding. “They break apart and wear down quickly,” she adds. For this reason, Pike recommends that new yogis opt for a grippy mat with at least a 2mm to 4mm of cushioning, which has the potential to last two to three years.
  • Secure and supported: For positions (like triangle pose) that require a bit more flexibility, or for early beginners and moms who feel a bit tight, blocks can go under the hands, so you don’t need to reach to the ground. They’re also useful if you’re in a sitting posture. “[If] you don’t have flexibility, you can sit on the block to help ease the legs down,” says Pike. Yoga straps also give yourself something to ground into. They help to secure hands and feet in various poses, both sitting and standing, when looped around the foot. Other items like yoga wheels and foam rollers help to release tension and increase flexibility, while yoga bolsters help keep your chest open during deep breathing exercises while supporting your spine at the same time.

Clothing

  • The right fit and fabric: No number of leggings and sports tops will feel like enough once you get into your daily yoga flow—and fabric matters. For that ‘second skin’ feel, try buttery soft, weightless leggings, sports bras and tops. Ideally, they should be breathable and stretch with you from pose to pose—think spandex and lycra material. High rise leggings that feel suctioned to your body without feeling too tight will also help you move freely around your mat. Or you can opt for harem pants that fit your body loosely so you can feel the flow of each pose and movement.

Best time to do yoga

  • Any time’s a good time: The simple answer is when you have time. Between cooking meals and cleaning up after the kids, free time can feel like a distant dream. “The beautiful thing about yoga is that if you have your body with you, you have your equipment with you; you can do it anywhere, with whatever time you have,” says Pike.
  • Let your body lead the way: That said, it’s important to consider how your body will feel at different times of the day. If you’re doing an evening flow, Pike recommends a gentle and restorative practice that won’t counteract a good night’s sleep. Doing a more vigorous practice earlier in the day can help energize your body and get you moving. You may even find an afternoon session between work beneficial for your stress levels.
  • Every minute counts: Don’t worry about how much time you have for your practice. “Learn how to create movement in your moment,” says Pike. “The beauty of yoga is that if you have 60 seconds to breathe deeply, you’re in a practice.”

Print this Yoga Essentials Checklist

It will help you keep track of what you need for your home yoga practice

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Home Yoga Essentials Checklist

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