You’ve made the decision — you’re starting yoga! You’ve seen the toys out there, but you’re skeptical. “What do I need for yoga class? I mean really need?” you ask.

Just the basics! A mat, a strap and a block (or two). Keep it simple and affordable.

What Do I Need for Yoga Class - middle aged woman sitting on yoga mat has questions - Shutterstock


Why do I need it?

Unless your joints and appendages are accustomed to rolling around on the floor, you’re going to need some padding. And grip! No face-plants for you!


I suggest you go basic. No fancy cork necessary. There are two decisions to make:

  1. Size. There’s Standard, Longer or Wider, and Kids. Unless you can think of a good reason for larger dimensions (and you aren’t a kid), I recommend Standard. Besides, it will fit more easily in your yoga bag (not that you need that bag ? ).
  2. Thickness. This an important one. If you go thicker (6 millimeters), your knees and tailbone will thank you. Go thinner (4 millimeters) and you’ll experience greater stability in balancing postures. That said, either will do. You can always double-fold a thinner mat for more comfort in kneeling poses. Going with a thicker mat? Simply step off for balancing poses.
Which brand?

I prefer Gaiam brand products. They aren’t dirt cheap like Walmart, but they won’t take you a year to pay off, like Lulu Lemon.

And honestly, I am so anti-branding anyway. Really. I hate the “oh, if you’re a real yogi you’ll buy Lulu or Hugger Mugger. If you’re hardcore … ” There’s a whole yoga merchandise culture that really turns my stomach. ? Advertising in general is manipulative on so many levels, but that’s a topic for another day.

The link you’ve been waiting for!

Looking for a thicker mat? Then I recommend Gaiam’s 6 millimeter mat. This is the exact one that I use, and after teaching and yoga-ing for years now, it’s still my go-to. And, it’s reversible! Very fun.

Looking for standard thickness? I also use Gaiam’s 4 millimeter mat (though the thicker one really is my favorite). Upon visiting this link, be sure to select the thickness you desire.



What Do I Need for Yoga Class - the Strap - woman using yoga strap - Shutterstock

Why do I need it?

Since you’re a yoga newbie, you’ll likely need help maintaining postural alignment during class. Let’s say you can’t reach your toes while sitting in Staff Position. That’s totally fine. Because — tada! You have a strap!

Placing that strap around your feet will help you ever-so-gently draw forward while breathing into the stretch.

When I started doing yoga I was very inflexible. Using a strap has really helped take me deeper, over time, into some of these gentle stretches.

The link you’ve been waiting for!

Going with Gaiam again, here’s a link to your basic strap. Pretty simple. You don’t need an extra long one. The standard length (6 feet) will be fine. And if you’re really pinching pennies, here’s a little secret — you can use a tie, belt, or even pantyhose instead. No purchase required.



What Do I Need for Yoga Class - Blocks - woman holds two yoga blocks - Shutterstock

Why do I need it?

Good question. This may be the hardest one to explain to beginners, but it has made a tremendous impact on my practice, and I continue to use blocks even today.

What does a block do? Two things:

  1. A block brings the floor closer to you in upright stretching poses. (You know, when you’re trying to touch the floor with your fingers but it’s just so far away!) This lightweight foam brick provides stability. It’s a great assist for completing postures such as Extended Side Angle and Standing Forward Fold safely and effectively. Reach for the block instead of the floor, and lengthen your spine while you’re at it.
  2. A block provides extra padding and lift for seated poses. Do you feel like you’re tipping backwards while in Crisscross Apple Sauce ? (also known as Easy Pose)? Try sitting on a block! It will support your body’s proper alignment. And, as anybody who has taken a class from me knows, this is paramount. Additionally, you can slide the block under your lower back while in Legs Up the Wall. This simple modification transforms an engaging asana into one that’s pure relaxation.
The link you’ve been waiting for!

Going with Gaiam, here’s the link for standard yoga blocks. Varying sizes are available for purchase. However, you can create these yourself simply by stacking two of the regular (9-inch by 6-inch by 3-inch) blocks. I recommend buying a pair. Your reach will thank you.



Now let’s get you a class to go with those supplies! And it’s on me.

As a Holy Yoga instructor, I’ve been teaching beginner’s classes for several years. I love it. These practices are basic, foundational, and grounding. And now they’re available on YouTube!

So, grab your gear and click the following link to experience a free full-length introductory Holy Yoga class.

Enter a space of relaxation, focus, and spiritual awareness.

Enjoy! Breathe. Be blessed. – Ali ?


I’d love to field any questions or hear your point of view. What are your yoga basics? Share your thoughts below.


  1. This is all great information! Especially the one about the block:) I’ve always wondered what that’s for. Thank you for this amazing information, I can utilize this on a daily basis now!

  2. Ali – this post is perfect for beginning yogis! It’s just like sitting in one of your classes! Any chance you’ll be putting more of your classes on YouTube?

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