Starting a new yoga practice can be a daunting experience. These five yoga essentials will have you ready and on your way to a new flexible, balanced, de-stressed, and more peaceful you!

 
1. You
 
The first step for any yoga practice is to show up and be present. While this might seem like a silly essential, it is a necessary one. You simply unroll you mat, let go, and begin. Being truly present requires you to take mental shift from the past and the future, even for a brief period of time. Make this a regular part of your yoga practice and you will begin to notice the different in you attitude, temperament, and overall feeling of wellbeing.
 
2. Yoga Mat
 
Take the time to investigate the right mat for your body. You might like a thinner mat if you travel often. A thicker mat will provide extra cushioning for your knees, and underneath your spine when you are lying on the floor. Always buy your own mat and bring it to your yoga class. Mats are personal items and are often unwashed in yoga studios, which can present a hygiene problem. Clean your mat often with white vinegar, sea salt, and a day in the sun.  Experiment with different lengths, sizes, and levels of thickness to find your favorite mat.
 
3. Blocks
 
While you might be thinking a block is only used to modify poses, blocks are very versatile and useful yoga props. Block can be used for going deeper in a stretch, restorative poses, balance poses, and much more. Two blocks can sometimes be very beneficial in a yoga practice, by placing blocks under both hands or feet, or they can be used to support various parts of the body. Blocks can be made of wood or foam. When purchasing a block think about what type of support you need in your practice.
 
4. Strap or Belt
 
Strap or belts are essential yoga tools if you have tighter muscles. These props enable you to reach your feet in poses where the leg might be raised. Straps also allow you to reach and do deeper in forward bends. Straps can be used in a restorative practice as well with a loop to keep the legs together.
 
5. Blankets
 
Having a couple firm blankets on hand will allow you to dive deeper into your practice. Most yogis use firm and flat style blankets that fold into clean and even edges. If you have any pain in the knees or bones of the hip while doing postures simply place the folded blanket on your mat for comfort. Blankets can be used for simple seated meditations, restorative poses, forward bends, and can keep you warm in savasana. Invest in at least 2 blankets for optimal support and comfort.      
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