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How to Get Started With Yoga

How to Get Started With Yoga

Yoga is a popular workout practice that is great for people looking to get started in an exercise discipline. What makes yoga such an approachable and beneficial workout routine is that very little is needed to begin. You don’t need specific items to get going with yoga, although as you progress, you might want to upgrade your yoga equipment and clothing collections. More than anything, you can do yoga at home, so no membership fees need to be paid, and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own living space!

When you are ready to begin your yoga journey, shop Kohl’s to find all the basics you need to get started. With top brands of yoga clothing, yoga equipment, and other active items, Kohl’s is sure to be your one-stop shop for all exercise essentials to get you up and moving.

Essential Yoga Items for Beginners

While it is true that you don’t absolutely have to buy any specific gear to get going in yoga, there are some items that will make starting in the practice much easier and more enjoyable.

Yoga Mat

One of the first things you think of when considering what items are needed for yoga, a yoga mat is likely at the top of the list. A proper yoga mat keeps you upright and safe, while other options like rugs, towels, or gym cushions and pads can slip and slide.

When deciding on the right yoga mat for you, the first thing to consider is the thickness of the mat. Lots of thickness options are available, but the standard thickness tends to be 1/8-inch.

Thinner mats help increase stability for more active poses, and are also lightweight and easy to transport. If you do opt to go with a thinner mat, look for an option that features a textured surface to add more traction and grip as you complete poses

Thicker mats provide extra cushioning. These options are ideal for those who take on fewer poses that require longer hold times. Thicker mats also offer extra comfort when doing poses that put pressure directly on spots that require padding, like the knees, elbows, forearms, and more.

After determining the thickness of mat you need, you can consider the material the mat is made of. Two of the most common materials used to make yoga mats are PVC and TPE.

PVC is highly durable, easy to clean and offers a secure grip. It’s also a very inexpensive material, so it’s ideal for entry-level yoga practitioners. PVC mats can become slippery when wet, so you will have to make sure it’s wiped off if it gets damp with moisture or sweat.

TPE, which is short for thermoplastic elastomer, is a blend of plastic and rubber polymers. TPE mats tend to be generally less durable than PVC mats, but still deliver good traction. They can also be recycled in many cases.

Lastly, consider the length of the mat. There is some variance in the dimensions of yoga mats, but most are 24 inches wide and somewhere between 68 to 72 inches long. If you’re a bit on the taller side, look for mats that reach that 72-inch length.

Resistance Bands & Yoga Straps

Straps are mainly used for stretching to achieve a wide range of motion. These straps can be put to use in so many ways, between standing poses, sitting poses, or even light stretching!

Also, yoga mats and blocks can be used with straps so that users change their positions more easily and have gentler contacts with the floor. Having a strap handy with using a mat and block makes for the complete yoga practice.

The strap is used in upright poses. Arms also benefit from this strap. A deep stretch is achieved by pulling it in opposite directions. Users should change their arms a number of times and hold poses for several seconds on every side.

Yoga straps can be used at different lengths to give versatility you might need. When the exercise level increases in difficulty, the strap becomes more useful. Challenging yoga poses are obtained by holding the straps and trying to stretch them longer. The straps help people reach the most difficult yoga levels, so these straps are thoroughly rewarding devices.

Resistance bands add extra tension and resistance to any movement in your workout. This requires your muscles to work a bit harder, adding a strength training component to your yoga session.

Yoga straps and resistance bands are simple to store and can easily be packed into bags for all kinds of travel. You can use straps and bands as part of your yoga session at home or at the studio. Due to their versatility and added benefits, having a yoga strap or resistance band available is a great idea for anyone getting into yoga.

Yoga Blocks

Another piece of equipment that can assist in your yoga practice is the yoga block. Yoga blocks are especially helpful for beginners, as one of their main benefits is to assist a user in achieving more difficult poses.

Yoga blocks are used to help yoga practitioners in several ways. First, they can help make yoga poses more accessible. Second, they can provide support throughout your yoga session. Third, they can increase the challenge of some posts, helping to develop strength for more seasoned yoga practitioners.

So how does a yoga block do all this? Blocks make poses more accessible by supporting your range of motion, as they shorten the distance between you and the floor. In terms of support, yoga blocks assist in establishing correct alignment, allowing you to feel balanced and in control of your pose.

They also bring awareness of how to properly engage muscles in a specific pose, giving you a better understanding of exactly what area a pose is focusing on. Blocks can be moved and adjusted to provide several levels of flexibility, which helps accommodate more or less support based on your level of experience and ability.

Exercise Balls

While they’re not specifically designed for use only with yoga, exercise balls can fit into your yoga routine to increase some interest and provide additional support. Using an exercise ball while doing yoga is like adding in a yoga block. However, the ball can roll a bit, extending the range of motion and getting additional benefits from the pose.

If you do decide to use an exercise ball as part of your practice, it can take some getting used to when you first start. When you start with the exercise ball, take your time with the moves. It might also be a good idea to place the ball against a sturdy surface when you begin, eventually moving away from the surface once you get a feel for posing and moving with the exercise ball.

Foam Rollers

If you incorporate a foam roller into your yoga workout, you can essentially give yourself a deep-tissue massage! Sounds pretty nice, huh? 

Technically known as a “self-administered myofascial release” (SMR), the process of using a foam roller lets you use your own body weight to help stimulate and relax your muscles when performing poses and moves you’d normally do during your workout anyway.

If you want to incorporate a foam roller into your yoga session, look for one that has a softer density, at least at the start. Going to a firmer, harder option right off the bat might be a bit too intense on your muscles, so start soft and work your way up.

Rollers also come in a variety of texture types. Beginners should choose a smooth roller, pretty much for the same reason as they should choose a roller with a softer density. A textured roller will add more intensity and pressure, which you can incorporate into your workouts later. But at first, a smooth roller might be your best option.

For those just starting out, look for a longer roller – one that’s about 36 inches in length. A beginner roller should also be about 5-6 inches in diameter. The length and diameter is ideal for giving you total control.

Water Bottles

Keeping hydrated during any workout is a must. A durable, reusable water bottle should be always at your side as you get ready to step onto the mat for your next yoga session. 

A great option for hydration during yoga is a water bottle with a vacuum-insulated stainless-steel lining. This helps keep your water cold for a longer duration of time, so from the first drink to the last drop, you’re refreshed and hydrated.

Water bottles come in lots of different styles and sizes, so choose the one that fits your needs.

Yoga Towels

You already have a yoga mat, so why should you also consider adding a yoga towel into the mix? Using a yoga towel helps absorb sweat and increases grip so you don’t slide around. Yoga towels can also prevent your mat from moving because it prevents sweat from soaking into it.

If you don’t sweat very much when you do yoga, you may not need a towel. However, if you’re into hot yoga, you’ll want this extra layer of absorption and stability as the temperatures rise.

Massage Guns

Once your workout is complete, you’ll want to cool down and relax, giving your muscles a break from all that stretching and straining. Massage guns are portable, handheld devices that are typically wireless, using a rechargeable battery to remain powered up.

When powered on, the massage gun vibrates. This vibration, when applied to your muscles, is designed to promote recovery and reduce soreness in areas that get worked during your yoga session. To get the most out of the massage gun, turn it on and apply it to sore or tight muscle areas with slight pressure. Depending on the tightness of your muscle, you can apply the vibration to one very tight spot for 15 seconds, or move the gun around a more broad, less tense area for up to two minutes.

How to Create a Home Yoga Space

Being able to practice yoga at home, or really anywhere, is one of the major benefits to the discipline. You can create a yoga studio in your own living space, letting you perform poses comfortably in your own time and in a location set up just the way you want it!

The key to building an at-home studio is to decorate it and furnish it with items that set the tone for a calm, relaxing space that gets you in the right state of mind to start your session. Because setting the stage for yoga is important, it’s a good idea to dedicate a room or spot that’s solely used for yoga practice. By doing this, you can be calm and focused when you enter your yoga spot, fully focusing on the workout and leaving the rest of your worries behind.

When picking that perfect spot for yoga, consider an area or room that offers lots of natural light. Natural light helps encourage the release of serotonin, which offers feelings of happiness and relaxation. Sounds and scents can also help you get in the right frame of mind for yoga. A sound machine can help produce a relaxing atmosphere that also works to drown out other distracting noises from both inside and outside your home. As for scents, consider essential oils and diffusers that can boost your focus and reduce fatigue. A popular scent that could help with this is peppermint essential oil.

Another way to ensure your space is welcoming and calming is to keep it organized. Incorporating storage furniture into your yoga space allows you to keep your yoga tools and equipment neatly organized and stored away when not in use. Great options for storing yoga items are storage ottomans, bookshelves, bins and baskets, and cabinets. Using these storage furniture pieces to hold your yoga mats, your foam rollers, and your yoga blocks gives you a “home” for your essentials, making the space feel even more comfortable and welcoming each time you enter it.

Lastly, decorate your space with accents and décor options that help facilitate that feeling of relaxation and calm. Wall art, potted plants, table decorations, and more can be used to build that personalized space you need to get into the proper frame of mind for yoga.

Essential Yoga Apparel

As you practice yoga, you need to feel comfortable and be able to move and stretch with ease. Thankfully, there are lots of options, styles, fits, and looks of yoga clothing, so there will definitely be attire out there that suits your personal style!

But even before you start to choose yoga clothing based on how it looks, there are some other factors to consider which will come into play in terms of how the clothing feels during your workouts.

Comfort is a major factor in yoga clothing, as you need to feel your best to perform at your best! Choose yoga apparel with tag-free designs, flat seams, and soft fabric.

Breathability is another key factor when it comes to picking out pieces of a yoga outfit. This means that the materials that make up your yoga apparel allow proper ventilation. Breathable materials also wick moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry.

Stretch and flexibility is important, too! As you bend and move to successfully achieve various poses, look for yoga clothing that offers at least some stretchy fabric, like spandex.

Now that you know the features to look for in yoga clothing, you can start to decide which styles of yoga apparel work best for you. Yoga essentials include leggings, shorts, tank tops, sports bras, socks, and hoodies/sweatshirts and more.

Yoga Pants/Leggings 

Some of the most popular yoga clothing items include leggings, also known as yoga pants. Leggings with high waists are great bottoms for yoga, as they offer total coverage as you bend and stretch.

You can also choose a looser fitting pair of bottoms, if that’s more comfortable for you.

Yoga Shorts

Aside from pants or leggings, shorts are another option to consider as yoga bottoms that keep you comfortable during a workout. Yoga shorts are available for both men and women, and some yoga shorts for guys offer built-in liners for additional comfort and support.

You can also find yoga shorts that offer additional length, typically hitting at or below the knee, for more complete coverage.

Yoga Tops

Yoga shirts can be found in the form of tees, tanks, and hoodies. No matter which top you pick, look for one that offers breathable, wicking fabric, as well as a narrow fit at the waist, to ensure coverage throughout your workout. To determine if a shirt works for you and your yoga routine, try to bend and touch your toes when you try the top on at the store. If it’s too loose, causing the extra material to interfere with your pose, look for a more narrow-fitting option.

Additionally, some women’s yoga tops and tanks feature built-in sports bras, too, adding to their functionality.

Sports Bras

Don’t forget about the benefits of a great fitting sports bra! The major factor to consider when shopping for a yoga sports bra is the level of support they provide.

If you plan on taking part in power vinyasa classes, or other sessions that ramp up the intensity, look for sports bras that offer maximum support. If you take part in lower-intensity yoga, then bras that offer lower levels of support are all you need.

Hair Ties & Headbands

If you have longer hair, keeping it in place and out of your face is a must during any workout, including yoga. Basic hair ties and headbands work fine, but there are also options designed specifically for active wear. These items can be found made of durable materials like silicone.

Some also feature adjustable cinch bands that are easy to use. Based on the intensity of your workout and the frequency of your exercise schedule, these elevated bands might be the best bet for you.

Yoga Socks & Leg Warmers

To offer additional traction and comfort on a yoga mat, consider wearing a pair of yoga socks during your workout. Most yoga socks have treads on the bottom to prevent slipping and sliding around.

There are also leg warmers that can be worn to ensure your muscles and joints are warm and ready for a workout. This helps prevent injury and keeps you going at peak performance all session long.

When you’re starting off a brand new yoga routine, shop Kohl’s and find all the active apparel and yoga gear you need to get started! We offer all the top brand names in yoga equipment and clothing, like Gaiam, adidas, and Nike. You can also find essentials like yoga mats, yoga blocks, and yoga straps that enhance your workout. With all these must-haves in one place, Kohl’s is your destination for all your active needs!