Using yoga accessories benefits yogis of all skill levels, whether it’s to deepen certain poses or to stay in a safe alignment.
Using a thicker yoga mat, an adjustable strap, or a supportive bolster can minimize injury when an instructor isn’t there to make hands-on adjustments.
Our top yoga accessory picks include a long and thick yoga mat from Manduka, a Rumi Earth bamboo yoga block, and wearable weights from Bala Bangles.
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Starting a yoga practice or deepening your existing one has long been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, and even improve one’s mental health. It’s an incredibly accessible form of challenging your muscles, moving your body through its natural range-of-motion, and, with the right flow, getting your heart rate up.
There are few better options for those who want to improve their health without taking up an intense activity, too. Studies show that having a regular yoga practice actually reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and blood cholesterol. It may not feel as hard as a HIIT workout but it still gets your blood flowing and your body moving – and lets you reap similar benefits.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit access to gyms and yoga studios, practicing at home has become increasingly popular. But outside of a standard yoga mat, there are plenty of other accessories designed to help improve sessions, no matter your skill level or preferred class type. Maybe you follow a virtual flow or you just enjoy moving through a few asanas on your own – either way, having props like a strap or a bolster at home helps replicate the challenge and safety of an in-person class.
As a 200RYT Hatha yoga teacher unable to teach or take classes at in-person yoga studios, I’ve learned to cultivate my own practice at home. I offer online classes via Zoom to beginner and intermediate yogis and found that students who have items like straps and blocks are able to deepen poses and reduce the risk of injury. Even the addition of some simple hand weights is capable of enhancing a session.
But since the growing yoga industry continues to churn out new brands, pieces of equipment, and accessories, it’s hard to know if what you’re picking is right for you and your body. To help, I’ve tested dozens of yoga mats and accessories during my decades’-long yoga practice, and this guide includes a selection of my favorites that I continue to turn to for daily use.
At the bottom of this guide, I offer a few additional accessories for consideration and include a list of what you need to look for when purchasing yoga accessories. I also detail how I tested each yoga accessory listed, and why choosing accessories that are right for you is important.
Here are our top picks for the best yoga accessories:
Best yoga mat
The Manduka PRO is thicker and longer than your average mat, making it a great choice not just for newbies and seasoned yogis, but for taller users and those who need extra padding.
Pros: Extra dense and padded, available in two sizes (85-inch variety is ideal for taller yogis), lifetime guarantee, great for yogis of all levels
Cons: Heavy, expensive, may need a towel for hot yoga or if you sweat a lot
Finding the perfect yoga mat can be a frustrating experience for many. Not only does it take time, practice, and patience to break it in, but trying out different mats can end up being a big investment. Lucky for you, my decades-long practice (including an intensive 200RYT teacher training) has allowed me to test out several different mats at varying price points and quality levels. Only one brand continues to come out on top: Manduka.
While a standard yoga mat is 3mm thick, Manduka’s PRO Yoga Mat is 6mm, providing ideal cushioning for your knees and joints, allowing practitioners such as myself extra comfort when practicing with chronic knee pain or when rolling the mat out on hard surfaces like concrete and tile. The mats come in two lengths, a standard at 71 inches and a long at 85 inches. Yogis over 6-feet-tall will benefit from the space that the 85-inch mat provides.
The PVC-mat is made using an emissions-free process and has a closed-cell design, creating a non-porous surface that lengthens its life span. This prevents moisture and bacteria from being absorbed into the mat; however, closed-cell mats can get slippery and are not great on their own for hot yoga or if you sweat a lot (though this is easily solved by throwing a yoga towel on top).
Perhaps best of all, Manduka’s lifetime guarantee for its PRO series makes the mat a worthwhile long-term investment. If you do experience flaking or peeling of your yoga mat, which happened to my first Manduka mat, they’ll send you a replacement at no cost.
Best budget alternative: For a more affordable mat, I recommend the Manduka Eko Lite. It’s a standard length, but at 4mm, provides enough thickness for most yogis. It’s also made from natural rubber not harvested from the Amazon rainforest, making it a biodegradable and sustainable pick.
Best yoga strap
By adding Rumi Earth’s 100% cotton yoga strap to your daily practice, you can safely deepen your forward folds, open up your shoulders and hips, and stretch tight hamstrings.
Pros: 100% cotton, affordable, longer than other straps
Straps allow yogis to safely stretch out hamstrings, adductors, and IT bands while reducing stress on the neck and shoulders, said Nancy Hoi Wong, doctor of occupational therapy and RYT200 yoga teacher at LA-based Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy. She recommended using straps when in supine yoga positions (that’s on your back), such as setu bandhasana (bridge pose) and reclining dandasana (staff pose), as well as for yogis with a restricted range-of-motion from past injury or inflexibility.
As someone with a short torso, tight hips, and tight hamstrings, I use a yoga strap in my daily practice. It’s allowed me to remain in proper alignment according to my body structure.
I love Rumi Earth’s yoga strap for three reasons. First, the presence of D-rings at the end — not all yoga straps come with this option — means the strap is easily adjustable based on the posture in question, as well as your height. Secondly, at 8-feet in length, the strap is also an excellent choice for taller yogis. Wong added that longer yoga straps with metal D-rings are easier to adjust in the middle of a pose.
And finally, Rumi Earth yoga straps are made from 100% cotton, so it’s soft and comfortable on your skin, yet durable. You can also easily throw it in the washer in between classes.
Best yoga block
With a naturally-grippy texture and wide shape, Rumi Earth’s bamboo yoga blocks are sturdy, eco-friendly, and incredibly long-lasting.
Pros: Eco-friendly made from bamboo, better grip than cork or foam blocks, supportive, lightweight compared to other wood and cork yoga blocks
Cons: Too hard for some positions such as supported bridge, too small for taller yogis
Both beginner yogis and seasoned practitioners alike can benefit significantly from the use of yoga blocks to keep elongation in the spine in poses such as trikonasana (triangle pose) and an anjaneyasana twist (twisted low lunge pose). Blocks help prevent your muscles from straining, ensure proper alignment in poses, and can even deepen stretches during restorative yoga sessions.
According to Wong, blocks can also be useful tools to help someone reach the floor during a yoga stretch when they otherwise might not be able to because of flexibility, lack of range-of-motion, or genetics. She recommends her clients use them “to help hands, knees, or parts of the body which would otherwise be ‘floating in space’ to ground into a yoga block.”
Made from bamboo, Rumi Earth’s yoga blocks are both firm and durable — something Wong recommends her practitioners choose for item longevity — compared to those made from foam. At just 1.7lbs, the blocks are surprisingly lightweight and offer a naturally-grippy texture, providing much-needed stability for yogis looking to work on their arm balances and handstands. At 4-inches in width, this block is on the wider side, providing more stability in each pose, especially for beginners who aren’t used to balancing on narrower surfaces.
Best yoga bolster
Hugger Mugger’s Standard Yoga Bolster is great for yogis of all flexibility levels, providing support as you learn to deepen your practice.
Pros: Has handles for easy carrying around, durable, made in the USA
Commonly used in Iyengar yoga, restorative practices, and prenatal yoga classes, yoga bolsters come in several different shapes and sizes depending on your skill and need. For Wong, bolsters are beneficial in helping her clients relax into stretches for a longer length of time.
She also recommends adding a bolster to your in-home studio no matter what type of yoga you choose to practice, as they can help down train your nervous systems and reach deeper relaxation levels in poses such as supta badha konasana (reclined bound angle pose) and savasana (corpse pose).
A rectangular bolster, like Hugger Mugger’s standard yoga bolster, is ideal for yogis of all levels and can be used as a form of support in seated forward-folds and supine twists.
Hugger Mugger’s standard yoga bolster is 11″ long, 25″ wide, and 6″ tall. Its bolsters aren’t cheap. But each is handmade in Salt Lake City, features gorgeous prints or rich color, and contains a cotton filling and foam core, making it soft and moldable yet at the same time stable and supportive in each pose.
Best budget alternative: For a more affordable bolster, the Anja Yoga Bolster is a great eco-friendly option made from vegan suede and a recycled foam interior.
Best yoga wearable weights
The Shark Tank-featured Bala Bangles offer a chic addition of resistance and muscle-building to your at-home yoga workout.
Pros: Added wearable resistance adds a strength training component to your yoga practice, fashion-forward aesthetic, fun colors, multiple sizes
Cons: May slide around if you sweat a lot, need to be cleaned often, not recommended for cardio
Since at-home workouts have become the new normal, switching things up is key for not just overcoming the boredom of being indoors, but also to keep challenging your body. One easy way to do so is by adding in a strength training component in the form of wearable weights. Wearable weights can further enhance all the benefits of a typical yoga workout, increasing your body’s ability to improve muscle awareness, cardiovascular health, and overall muscle flexibility.
The one-pound Bala Bangles have been the perfect addition to my daily yoga practice, primarily when I’m focusing on poses that build upper-body strength, such as plank pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog pose).
Wrapped in ultra-soft silicone, each bracelet is made of a recycled stainless steel interior. Bala Bangles also come in a wide variety of shades, including limited edition colors for pride and celebrity partnerships.
I find these wearable weights — which you can use on the wrists or ankles — much more comfortable on the skin than those made of neoprene, which has always left my skin itchy and excessively sweaty. What I like best is the velcro closure and elastic bands between the weights, allowing them to custom fit every body type.
Available in half-pound, 1-pound, or 2-pound weights, Bala Bangles are stylish options of resistance that can be worn either on your wrist or ankles. However, if you have back or joint issues, Harvard Health Publishing recommends talking to your doctor before adding wearable weights to your workout routine as they can cause muscle imbalances and increase your risk of ligament and tendon injuries.
Best yoga towel
Whether you’re a yogi wiping sweat off your brow after a vigorous vinyasa flow or in need of extra traction during a hot yoga class, Nabaji’s quick-drying microfiber towels are a must-have yoga accessory.
Pros: Quick-drying, lightweight, highly absorbent, anti-slip, compact
Yoga towels are an incredibly versatile yoga accessory. You can use it to wipe the sweat off your brow during a challenging sequence or to make your mat more grippy during hot yoga. When folded up, they can also add extra padding for your knees or the crown of your head during headstands.
Nabaji’s microfiber towel comes in four different sizes for different-sized bodies and needs, and each is highly absorbent. The XL, being the largest of the four at 43.3″ x 68.9″, will comfortably fit atop a standard yoga mat. And, it’s material is a blend of 88% polyester cationic and 12% Polyamide, ensuring an anti-slip surface that allows you to move from one asana to the next effortlessly.
I always bring my towel when I have to borrow a yoga mat at a studio, as these communal mats tend to harbor harmful bacteria and viruses if not cleaned frequently enough. Placing my it over the communal mat gives me peace-of-mind, and I don’t have to worry about a more worn mat not having enough grip for me. These towels are easy to wash, quick to dry, and are incredibly light and compact.
Best yoga bottle
A pioneer of vacuum insulated reusable bottles, the 18oz Standard Mouth Hydro Flask is guaranteed to provide you with refreshingly cold water for hours on end.
Pros: Keeps water cold or hot for hours, variety of sizes and colors, eco-friendly
Cons: Hand-wash only, expensive
If you’re moving through a vigorous flow, staying hydrated is important. A small 2017 study in the International Journal of Yoga found that yogis who drank water both before and during hot yoga classes were less likely to experience symptoms of dehydration than those that didn’t. Even if you’re doing a low-key flow, rehydrating can keep your muscles and your brain happy.
Having a large reliable, reusable water bottle is a great way to make sure you’re hydrating throughout the day. We love Hydro Flask, which has made durable, reusable water bottles since the company was first founded in Bend, Oregon a little over a decade ago. Even though its bottles are pricey, the technology, size, and ergonomic design features of the brand allow a single bottle to serve pretty much every drink need you may have and it’ll last for years.
Available in various sizes and colors — even customizable — these stainless-steel bottles are ideal to throw in your bag while running errands, carry with you traveling, or take along on any workout, indoor or outdoor.
For yoga specifically, its proprietary TempShield tech is great for keeping water cold for over 24 hours regardless of how warm your house or class is. You can also keep tea hot in the same bottle for 12 hours. We particularly love adding on one of the brand’s Small Flex Boots, which is a silicone cover that nestles onto the bottom of your bottle so it won’t make that jarring Clink! when you set it back on the ground, or slip around on the flow.
What else we tested
Being a 200 RYT Hatha yoga teacher since 2017 and a practitioner of yoga for over a decade allowed me to test multiple brands and types of yoga accessories to find the best for daily practice. The addition of yoga bolsters, blocks, and a strap to my daily practice not only helped me to maintain my alignment, but they’ve also allowed me to safely stretch and strengthen my muscles. Here are some other yoga accessories I use, albeit less frequently:
Liforme Travel Mat ($115): When it comes to favorite yoga mats to practice on, Liforme’s yoga mats come in a close second—their PVC-free mats have a natural rubber base and an eco-polyurethane top that is anti-slip and extra grippy. The alignment guide that’s etched onto the top of each mat makes Liforme mats great for beginners. I especially love the compactness and quality of their travel mats, as well as the fact that they all come with their own yoga mat bag. However, these are not great for yogis looking for extra length or cushioning in their mats; the standard Liforme mat is only 4mm thick.
Carolina Morning Buckwheat Yoga Block ($33.50): For the eco-conscious yogi, these yoga blocks by Carolina Morning are stuffed with buckwheat hulls — grown locally in North Carolina—and have an organic cotton removable cover with a handle for easy cleaning and transport. These low carbon footprint blocks are soft enough to sit on in lotus pose but stable enough for triangle pose or supported fish pose. I recommend them more for intermediate to advanced yogis, who have enough muscle stability and core strength to properly use less firm blocks such as this.
Manduka yogitoes Yoga Towel ($58): Patented Skidless Technology, highly absorbent, and the moisture-wicking qualities all make Manduka’s yogitoes towel a well-worth-it splurge — but at nearly $60, it’s certainly a splurge. But if you sweat a lot or practice hot yoga regularly. And, with each towel being made from approximately four recycled plastic bottles and requiring 66% less energy to produce, they are a solid option for the eco-conscious practitioner. However, they are expensive, and there are much cheaper options available that are just as good, especially if you intend to buy several.
What to look for when buying yoga accessories
Whether you’re looking for a yoga mat that’s right for your body type or yoga bolsters and blocks to provide assistance to you in challenging poses, comfort is key.
Having accessories made from materials that are not only comfortable but stable and durable will allow you to gain the most each time you step on your mat to practice. Apart from recommendations by yoga teachers or reading reviews of yoga accessories on Amazon, the best way to find a yoga accessory that’s right for you is through consistent use while you practice.
Value: While pricing does play an important role in determining whether or not you want to buy a yoga accessory, what’s equally as important is the durability and quality of the item in question. While a budget item might seem to be the more favorable pick, if you have to replace it more frequently, you’ll end up spending more money in the long run. Take, for example, the Manduka PRO® mats, which I have been using daily—unless I’m traveling—since 2014. Their lifetime guarantee (I received a replacement in 2018) and durability have made the initial investment worth it.
Comfort: As a yoga teacher with chondromalacia patellae in both knees, modifying poses has always been part of my yoga practice, even before my Hatha yoga teacher training. Finding a yoga mat that’s thick enough to provide cushioning to your knees and joints, as well as accessories that are gentle on your body, is an important factor to consider. Whether you’re a beginner learning the asanas or an advanced pro, the safety of your body and staying in proper alignment should always come first.
Easy-to-clean: It’s easy for your yoga accessories to get dirty if you’re a yogi that practices daily. And, this is especially true if you practice hot yoga or sweat a lot. Yoga accessories that are moisture/or sweat-wicking, easy to wash, and dry quickly are all ideal items to have in your yoga stash.
Choosing the right yoga accessories for you
Assistive devices like blocks, bolsters, blankets, and straps can help provide support in poses that are challenging or help you work on improving your flexibility. They’re commonly part of Iyengar-style yoga, though instructors that teach other styles like Hatha or Vinyasa often use them in their classes, too. And when you practice at home, the “rules” of each yoga style go out the window, and you can use whatever accessories you want, regardless of the yoga you’re practicing.
Some people may view props as ego-bruising assistance but the right yoga equipment actually helps minimize the incidence of injury, especially when practicing at home without hands-on adjustments from instructors.
Nancy Hoi Wong, doctor of occupational therapy and RYT200 yoga teacher at LA-based Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy, told Insider that yoga accessories are a fantastic way to achieve good alignment so the proper muscle groups are stretching or strengthening in a particular pose. Studies show that the use of yoga props such as straps and blocks enables people of all ages to practice yoga by carefully stretching out muscles, improving flexibility, creating space, and relieving tension in the body.
They’re especially helpful if you’re a beginner getting started in yoga, too. “Straps can help you access stretches when your range-of-motion is restricted,” Wong said. “I like to use them when teaching lower extremity stretches for those that may not be able to, say, touch their toes when coming down to a forward fold.”
Everyone’s anatomy, range of motion, and level of fitness are different when they first start practicing yoga — these are all different even if you’re years into yoga, too. As a yogi with chondromalacia patellae in both knees myself, I’m continually modifying yoga poses to best suit my body and pain points. Wong recommends adding accessories such as bolsters or straps to help deepen your practice and levels of relaxation whether you’re a seasoned yogi or beginner, as “props are very helpful when building joint and core stability.”
How we tested yoga accessories
When evaluating each of the yoga accessories considered for inclusion here, we looked at the materials used, moisture-wicking qualities, anti-slip surfaces, and durability. I looked at whether the accessories are easy to use in-the-moment, and if each could withstand daily, hourlong practices.
Most of the yoga accessories I included have been part of my practice for several years. I’ve found a dependable and durable set of yoga accessories to not only furnish my at-home studio space but to recommend to my students, no matter their level of practice. Others, like the Bala Bangles, I tested several times a week for a three-week period.
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