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7 must-have yoga props that will bring your practice to the next level

If you think getting started with yoga is as simple as grabbing a mat from Target and queuing up YouTube, you might want to reconsider your position. Sure, you can get a good class armed with only a book of poses and a mat, but you are a lot more likely to keep on coming back if you have the right props. Now, obviously, any newbie needs blocks, a strap and a mat. But here are seven other yoga accessories that will make your class more comfortable and keep you coming back to the mat again and again.

1.) A blanket

This can be used to prop your hips so your knees point down in easy seated poses. It can also be used as a pillow in savasana or a blanket depending on the temperature. Manduka has my favorite blanket. It is strong and sturdy and will help support any posture from pigeon to corpse pose.

2.) A good headband

Nothing will be more important if you are in a hot yoga class. It’s a fast road from discomfort to misery if your hair is in your eyes. It’s best to go for a wide band and one that won’t make your head any hotter. Think lightweight cotton.

3.) A warm shirt for savasana

Even in a hot studio, the abrupt change from moving to lying still can cause the body temperature to drop. If you have a thin shirt, preferably a little stylish, you will avoid ruining your last pose with the shivers.

4.) An exotic block

Two blocks are just a part of any practice, but Manduka makes a special curved block that, unlike a traditional flat-sided block, helps create ease in postures. It’s worth a try, right? There is no shame in blocks, and if your practice is better because of them, you will never regret using them.

5.) A mat bag with pockets

Toting the mat from home to studio and back again isn’t always fun. It’s nice to have a zip-up bag that doubles as a purse so everything is accessible and easy to carry. Again, Manduka makes some great ones, but other companies have pretty patterns and textures, so shop around for the one that best suits you.

6.) A good pair of studio shoes

Two words: slip on. When the rush of students piles out of class, you will be so happy you had a pair of shoes that you could easily slip on and off. Think Uggs or flip-flips or Birkenstocks. All have served me well for a quick arrival and exit.

7.) A hand towel

People get really into hot yoga, and the mat can quickly become a slip and slide. I don’t love mat towels, as I feel they get just as slippery, but a good hand towel or washcloth can make the difference between tolerance and misery.

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