As far as workouts go, yoga is one of the best ways to increase your balance, improve flexibility and build your endurance. But in order to get the most out of this ancient and beautiful practice, it helps to have the right gear on and off the mat. This holiday season, if you plan on getting a yoga gift for someone in your life who practically lives in their leggings, here's some advice from the pros on what are some of the essentials (as well as the gifts yogis would actually like to receive).
- Annelise Piers, Hatha and Yin yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance USA, and an NLP Master Practitioner and Traine
- Farah Jaffrey, Farah Jaffrey is a certified yoga teacher.
- Jacqui Kingswell, Celebrity Pilates Instructor and Co-Founder of The Pilates Class
- Kiera Missanelli, Yoga Teacher at The Yoga Garden
- Tara Zinnamon, yoga teacher at Open Studio
Of course, every yoga practicer needs a good yoga mat, which is usually one that has a thick surface to support your knees and can provide stability. But it's also equally important to have comfortable clothing (i.e lightweight and breathable fabrics, low-impact and unrestrictive bras, and comfortable leggings). For yoga teacher at Open studio Tara Zinnamon, this is a must-have. "When I have to spend time worrying about my top or adjusting my waistband over my belly during my practice, it really takes me out of the movement and the moment," says Zinnamon. But that's not all. Other items in her yoga gym bag include a water bottle that she uses to stay hydrated and to enhance her practice.
Plus, other yoga-adjacent gifts are always appreciated (think nail polish for those exposed toes and high-quality towels for hot yoga). And while this checklist may vary from person to person, some things are truly non-negotiable. For some inspo on what to get the yogi in your life, take a look at some popular and some expert-approved yoga items below.
No matter if you’re a beginner or an advanced yoga student, this mat from Jade covers all the bases. “Jade Yoga’s Harmony Yoga Mat is lightweight and has great grip, but most importantly it’s eco-friendly,” says Zinnamon. “Their mats are made from natural rubber, which is a renewable and sustainable resource—rubber trees. The company also plants a tree for every mat sold.”
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly buy, this Retrospec Solana Yoga Mat is one the delivers both in quality and in performance. Its one-inch thick surface helps maintain your balance, while the ribbed texture prevents slipping during more intense yoga sequences.
Another Manduka mat that the yoga teachers love is the eKO. In fact, yoga instructor at the Yoga Garden Kiera Missanelli called it “the best mat” to use—and for good reason. Made with all-natural tree rubber, this mat has a sturdy non-slip surface to keep you stable when trying more intermediate moves, like Side Plank Pose. Even better? It’s PVC-free and without any “harmful plasticizers.”
Beloved by many yoga teachers, the Alo Mat is one of the few mats on the market that really level up your yoga sesh. Part of the reason is the extra cushion and durability. “I was a long time user of the Alo mat and kept coming back to it because of its durability and grip,” says celebrity pilates instructor and co-founder of The Pilates Class, Jacqui Kingswell.
“In my practice, I spend a lot of time on my hands for specific full body moves and if I were to slide around the mat that would compromise the workout as well as potentially injure me. The Alo mats are all around very high quality, making them distinguishable from others, and this is what kept me a loyal user of the mats for years and what continues to impress me about their mats.”
This mat is kind of like a jack of all trades. You can use it to anchor you for different types of practices, including vinyasa and restorative. It also provides great support for your regular gym workouts. Not to mention, it’s 100 percent OEKO-TEX certified (aka, free of harmful chemicals).
No shocker here. There has been a lot of praise about the Align pants over the years (including from W+G), and for good reason. They’re the epitome of the “everyday legging.” Their seamless design and ultra-lightweight fabric make them feel like a second layer of skin, so you can comfortably wear them from the couch to the studio. “Lululemon’s Align leggings have been my go-to for years,” says Zinnamon. “I prefer leggings that feel as if I’m wearing nothing at all as opposed to compression, so the barely-there material is a dream.”
“Beyond Yoga’s leggings are also so, so soft and move well with the body,” says Zinnamon. “Both [Beyond Yoga and Lululemon leggings] have wide and high waistbands that are flattering, comfortable and secure. Neither fall down while I fold forward [nor] cut into my skin.”
Originally $45, now $32
If you’re looking for leggings that you can wear both to yoga and to a HIIT class, these Crossover pants are a safe bet. Their buttery soft fabric and universally flattering silhouette makes them a regular fan favorite. They also have little to no compression so you can easily move around in them when you do headstands and more advanced movements like Plow Pose.
For hot yoga fans, the Alo Yoga 3″ High Waist Airlift Shorts are a dream come true. They provide great breathability and contour your booty. Additionally, they’re made from the brand’s signature micro-performance, double-knit fabric, which famously has a second-skin feel.
What’s great about these biker-style shorts is the super high-ribbed waistband. It provides great coverage for your stomach and is soft to the touch. The shorts also don’t have any side seams so you can really move freely from the start of your workout to the end.
For the days when you skip yoga or need something extra breathable to work out in, these biker shorts are a perfect fit. They’re specially designed with mesh material at the crotch to keep your vagina ventilated. And thanks to the bodycon feel, you can even wear these under a dress.
Like the brand’s best-selling Spacedye leggings, the racerback tank is buttery soft and feels like a second layer of skin the moment you put it on. It even provides support for your boobs, thanks to the built-in shelf bra.
Made with breathable organic cotton and nylon, this bra is one of the most versatile bras on the market. Similar to a bralette in its style, it’s lightweight and comfortable enough to wear for activities beyond the studio. In fact, you can wear it under a dress shirt while you’re on-the-go, or pair it with some shorts for your hot yoga class.
Originally $44, now $34
If you want more coverage in the front while you work out, add this Lululemon Cool Racerback Short Tank Top Nulu ASAP. It’s soft like the Align pants, and feels super smooth to the touch. Plus, you don’t have to worry about it rising up since it has a compressive style fit.
Originally $54, now $41
Another bra designed for floor practice is this Warrior style form Athleta. The extremely buttery soft Powervita™ fabric is like a “gentle hug” and allows you to move without compression on your boobs. Even better? It has UPF 50+ protection for those who love to work out outdoors.
For hot yoga fans, consider bringing this towel to your next class. It stretches the entire length of your mat and licks up every drop of moisture to keep you from slipping during and after your session.”I personally use the Manduka Yogitoes Towels—they absorb wild amounts of sweat and the underside has silicone nubs that grip to your mat and keep the towel in place,” yoga instructor at Los Angeles’ Hot 8 Yoga Sami Houston previously told W+G.
Never underestimate the power of having a quality water bottle during a workout. And this 32-oz Hydroflask is worth every penny. Its stainless steel interior and double-wall insulation keeps drinks icy cold for 24 hours and hot drinks scolding—even in a hot, humid studio. Plus, the lid straw provides easy sipping when you want to sneak in a swig of water between poses.
No time to get a mani and pedi before you next yoga class? Fear not! Do it at home using one of these super cute nail polishes from Olive and June. The set includes a lovely assortment of dark browns, creamy tans and milky pastels all inspired by the sweet color palette of your favorite coffee order. If your giftee isn’t the best manicurist, get them the Mani System—this includes tools like The Poppy, a handle that makes applying paint to nails a lot easier, a clean-up brush that hides outside-the-lines polish, a salon-worthy buffer, and more.
The yoga studio isn’t the only place you can create a peaceful environment. Bring the calmness and relaxation home with the Vivitest Aromatherapy Diffuser. Pour in your favorite essential oil and this diffuser will fill up any room with its fragrance. The battery lasts up to five hours and runs on stealth mode (aka, it’s super quiet).
Originally $68, now $65
Does your giftee like to do yoga on chilly fall and winter mornings? They may deal with cold toes, but wearing regular socks during yoga isn’t usually an option (less grip, and you’re more prone to lose your balance). Not only do these socks help keep your feet warm, they also keep you anchored to slippery wood surfaces. The stay-put grips at the bottom help prevent you from sliding, while the cushioned footbed provides additional support for your soles when you’re in the middle of your bar exercises and Warrior’s pose.
In between yoga sessions, help keep your mind active by working your way through a puzzle. This one from Jiggy Puzzles is 800 pieces and features a lovely illustration from Slovenian artist Alja Horvat. The puzzle also comes with a glass jar and glue to preserve the puzzle pieces when you’ve completed it.
Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned yogi, insert a little fun into your yoga routine with the set of Yoga Dice. Each die contains different poses on each side including standing, twisting and balancing movements. Just roll and see what exercises you’ll have to do for the next five minutes.
Keep up your mindfulness routine outside of your yoga practice by meditating on the many blessings in your life. And this journal is a great place to jumpstart your brainstorm. It features dozens of daily prompts, activities, and encouraging messages to help cultivate positivity as a foundation in your everyday life.
In order to extend the life of your mat, it’s important to clean it regularly. And this mat cleaner allows you to do just that, thanks to its organic combo of ingredients. “I like the mat cleaner because it’s non-toxic and safe to use on my mat,” yoga instructor Farah Jaffrey previously told W+G. “It has natural ingredients so it’s not harsh and won’t ruin my mat’s texture. It’s well-balanced so it won’t leave your mat oily.”
Though pricey at $85, this buckwheat- and cotton-fill bolster pillow gets an A+ for its use of eco-friendly materials and ability to enhance your yoga exercises. “Some of my students have this and love the way it supports their practice,” says MyYogaTeacher yoga instructor Annelise Piers. “It might not be as firm as a one built to Iyengar yoga bolsters specs, but they meet so many other sustainability standards.” Just place it on your lower back to rest your spine or use it as a way to lift up your torso. FYI: Bolster pillows are often used as a support accessory in restorative yoga to help relax the body.
“A must-have in a yogi’s gentle armory is a regular myofascial self-massage. [It] can do wonders for one’s more active practice by releasing knots and breaking down sticky restrictions to our muscles,” says Piers. And this massage ball does exactly that. The different grooves help to loosen up knots, reduce tightness and increase blood circulation to sore muscles. Plus, it fits right in the palm of your hand so you can easily carry it with you on-the-go.
Originally $34, now $25
If you want to experience a little spa treatment at home, try using this Bucky Therapeutic thermal therapy neck wrap to help relax your muscles. Put it in the freezer to turn it into a cold compress or toss it into the microwave to help remove the tensions from your shoulders. “In my yin practice, I find that sandbags help get deeper into a target area,” says Piers. “This one has the bonus of being warming, or cooling, to the tissues. I have a student who uses this on different parts of her body in practice.”
If you’re having trouble landing more difficult poses, blocks like these help to provide more stability and reduce stress on your joints. They can also be a great way to add difficulty to a move, optimize the alignment of your pose, and provide additional support.
This carrier comes with everything you need to travel with your mat, including a large pocket to stash your water bottle, socks or other personal belongings. The bag measures around 26 inches in length, which is big enough to carry most standard size mats from Manduka, Gaiam, and BalanceForm. The fabric is also water-repellent to help keep away moisture and odors, which will be handy after hot yoga.
If you like to start your session with a few minutes of mindfulness, this Walden cushion set can help enrich your practice. What makes it worth the extra coin is the use of hypoallergenic buckwheat-hull packing and soft memory foam that makes it feel like you’re setting on a cloud. The cushion also shapes to your body and has antimicrobial properties to help fight against bacteria.
There’s nothing like the smell of nature to awaken your senses. For those who love doing yoga outside but have to retire that practice until spring, these candles are the perfect gift. And these Boy Smells candle bring the great outdoors to you in the form of two classic scents: Park Life and Aqua De Jardin. Each candle has a mix of floral and zesty notes to help make your home smell like a lush forest. It’s the closest you’ll get to park yoga in your living room.
To tap into the spiritual side of your yoga practice, consider adding this Ohm singing bowl to your home studio. It helps promote a calming environment by creating a distinct bell sound. The vibrations of this sound help to positively impact the nervous system and stimulate relaxation. You can also modify and deepen the sound by adding water to the bowl.
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