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10 Must Have Yoga Accessories

10 Must Have Yoga Accessories

From the outside, yoga seems like some impossible superhuman carnival trick. Once you dive into the yogic world, however, you begin to realize that anyone is capable of performing these feats of contortion. Yoga is about breathing. When you focus on your breath, everything else is just bending. Since it requires no equipment to participate, you can practice yoga anywhere and at any time. No matter where you’re at in your yoga practice, here are a few accessories that can enhance your experience.

1. Manduka Shade Eko Mat Lite – $40.80

Manduka Shade Yoga Mat - Lifehack

    I love Manduka yoga mats. Seriously. I even used their mats to remodel a van I was living in a few months ago. Shade is the coolest new color. Manduka Eko mats are fully recyclable, sturdy, durable, and have a great grip for hot and Bikram sessions. Manduka keeps their mats collectible by alternating colors like Converse Chucks. The Lite mat is a great intro mat for a beginner, but you’ll eventually wanna go pro.

    2. Gaiam Strength and Flexibility Kit – $14.99

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    Gaiam Strength and Flexibility Kit Lifehack

      Yoga tests the limits of your strength and flexibility. Unless you’re a devotee, there’s a good chance you’re not showing up 6 days a week every week without a break. Even if you are a full time yogi, every so often (such as during the full and new moon) you need to take a break to give your body a chance to rest. If you take time off for vacation, illness, or any other reason life throws at us, this kit from Gaiam will help you keep up your workout without yoga. Personally I recommend at least performing a set of sun salutations just to get your blood flowing every day.

      3. Shambala Rosewood Mala Beads – $19.95

      Mala Beads Lifehack

        Mala beads are a necessity for a rounded yoga practice. Aside from being a fashion statement to proudly show of your commitment to your yoga practice, the beads assist you in counting chants and meditations without breaking your stream of consciousness. You close your eyes, start at the big bead and work your way around the circle one bead at a time until you return to your starting point. I wear mine everywhere around my neck, and I’ve seen people (both men and women) successfully pull them off on their wrists and ankles. How you sport the beads is up to you, but get some now.

        4. The Power of Ashtanga Yoga by Kino MacGregor – $21.95 ($14.95 w/ Prime)

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        Kino Power of Ashtanga Yoga Lifehack

          I had a chance to meet Kino and speak with her on several occasions. When she offered me an advanced press copy of her new book, The Power of Ashtanga Yoga, I happily accepted. Kino is a legendary Ashtangi, and this book is the best yoga guide I’ve ever read. Whether you’re just starting your yoga journey or reading this in a personalized version of Vrschikasana, Power is a necessary book for your yoga library.

          5. Prana Malibu (Women) – $85 and Sutra (Men) Pants – $70

          Prana Yoga Bottoms Lifehack

            You want a comfortable pair of pants for yoga. Jeans won’t do, and sweats can overheat you very quickly. It feels like every woman is sporting spandex and men are wearing basketball clothes. Switch it up a bit with Prana’s ridiculously comfortable pants. The Sutra pants are my favorite pair of pants ever! I wear them pretty much everywhere. The Malibu for women give flexibility to wear to work with a frilly blouse or whatever you people do… ;)

            6. Gaiam Rattan Meditation Chair – $299.00

            Gaiam Meditation Chair Lifehack

              This piece of furniture is a bit pricey for yoga, but so much more than just a yoga accessory. This is a place in your home in which you can be completely comfortable, relaxed, and alert. This is your safe place. This is your wind down. If you’re looking to reap the full benefits of a yoga practice beyond just the workout, the Rattan Meditation Chair is a must have for relaxing like a yogi.
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              7. Tazo Organic Chai Tea – $6.95 per 2 oz bag

              Tazo Chai Tea Lifehack

                Chai tea is something you’ll eventually encounter on your yogic journey to spiritual oneness. Hydration is important in yoga, and tea is just as good as water at accomplishing this. Tazo makes an amazing fresh organic Chai blend. Add milk, honey, and a vanilla bean for an amazing vanilla chai latte. If you love any type of tea you’ll definitely want a decorative pot to brew it in. Use a different pot for green and black teas to produce the best flavor from your blends.

                8. Matisyahu – Spark Seeker – $5 Digital Download/$9.99 CD

                Matisyahu - spark seeker

                   

                  Over time, your yoga practice can start to feel stale. The same routine that brings tranquility and relaxation to your life can at times become a burden in your schedule. Music is a great way to revive your motivation and add some much needed spice to the mix. Soft acoustic music can assist in creating a meditative atmosphere, but I like something more upbeat. I lean towards hip-hop while many yogi’s I know like to play rock music. Matisyahu is a great choice for lovers of any genre. He blends reggae, rock, and hip-hop into an upbeat, evenly paced, and positive sonic experience. There’s no better feeling than pushing through your 10th downward dog of the day while Matisyahu encourages you to tap into your inner fire and fight like a warrior.

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                  9. Manduka Soothing Citrus Mat Renew Spray – $5

                  Manduka Mat Spray Lifehack

                    Keeping your mat clean is essential to a yoga practice. You sometimes have to practice in small and crowded rooms. If you want to stay hygienic (and you should), you need to clean your mat regularly. Manduka’s mat spray cleans your mat without robbing it of its stickiness. It comes in a variety of scents, but citrus is my favorite for getting rid of that new mat smell without compromising the mat’s integrity. Citrus also mixes well with the flowery smells that permeate many yoga studios.

                    10. Nag Champa Incense Sticks – $7.85 (100 Pack)

                    Nag Champa Incense Lifehack

                      Whether you’re working out, cooling down, or just meditating, incense transforms your mat and room into another dimension. Engaging your sense of smell helps bring you into the present moment, which is the main goal of a yoga practice. Nag Champa is my favorite utility incense, but add in your favorite scents, colors, and flavors to intensify your yogic experience. Incense turns a good practice into a transcendent one.

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                      Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                      Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                      1. Exercise Daily

                      It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                      If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                      Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                      If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                      2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                      Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                      One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                      This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                      3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                      Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                      Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                      Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                      4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                      Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                      The basic nutritional advice includes:

                      • Eat unprocessed foods
                      • Eat more veggies
                      • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                      • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                      Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                        5. Watch Out for Travel

                        Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                        This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                        If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                        6. Start Slow

                        Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                        If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                        7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                        Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                        My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                        If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                        I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                        Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                        More Tips on Getting in Shape

                        Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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