Ashtanga Yoga Equipment And Accessories (Beginners, Home and Travel)

Ashtanga Yoga Equipment And Accessories (Beginners, Home and Travel)

There are certain key pieces of accessories and equipment you may want to own whether you are a beginner to Ashtanga yoga, a home practitioner or you are a traveling Ashtangi.

I remember as I complete beginner I practiced in my local studio on a cheap mat I had found online, wearing my gym clothes. It wasn’t long till I realized that I needed to invest in some more comfortable yoga clothes and a better quality mat.

Many years have gone by since then and I am now a home practitioner. Over the years I have purchased some key items that I feel help me with my practice, especially as I practice without a teacher.

I also travel a lot to practice with my teachers that are located in various countries around the world, and so I have also had to purchase some key items that are more travel friendly.

So with all that said here are some of my favourite Ashtanga yoga accessories and equipment on the market. They are here for you to check them out further and see which ones are best for you.

Ashtanga Yoga Beginners

For anyone new to Ashtanga yoga, you may want to invest in a good quality yoga mat, Mysore rug, a set of practice cards to learn the poses and a practice book to learn more about this practice. Have a look and see my recommended options.

Yoga mat

The standard size for this mat is 2.5 kg – 185cm x 68cm – 4.2 mm thick.

The Liforme yoga mat is ideal for beginners as it uses an ‘AlignForMe’ system that works as a navigational tool for the asana practice. The combination of intelligent markers gives you as much, or as little, guidance as you need.

These mats use a natural rubber base with an added felt portion between the layers that help provide extra support, stability and cushioning. According to Lifeform: “We believe our revolutionary ‘GripForMe’ material is the grippiest Yoga mat material currently available on earth. It stays grippy even when ‘sweaty-wet’”

One reviewer mentioned how much they love their Liforme mat and went on to say how helpful the alignment cues are to both beginners and experienced practitioners.

Mysore rug

If you have even stepped in to an Ashtanga Mysore class you may have noticed that most practitioners in that class are not practicing on top of a yoga mat. Well, they are, however they have placed a cotton rug on top. This cotton rug is known as a ‘Mysore rug’.

Mysore rugs are cotton and are meant to be placed on top of the mat either at the start of the class or when we go into seating postures. It helps the yoga mat last longer and it is a healthy option especially for those who sweat a lot as the cotton absorbs the sweat and so you can simply wash it after each practice and that way you have a clean surface for your next practice.

If you want to know the benefits of using a Mysore rug in your Ashtanga practice, read this article: 12 Benefits To Using A Mysore Yoga Rug (Updated 2019)

Ashtanga yoga practice cards

The Ashtanga Yoga Practice Cards: The Primary Series is a set of Ashtanga yoga practice cards that are ideal for those starting off on their Ashtanga yoga journey.

Each card contains a demonstration of each asana, along with instructions, the drishti, and the benefits of that asana.

These cards could be used instead of a cheat sheet, for those starting practicing in a Mysore style class, or for those practicing at home.

Ashtanga yoga practice book

The Ashtanga Yoga The Primary Series Practice Manual is a beautifully illustrated book that offers a clear and precise layout of the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series.

Petri Räisänen provides a detailed guide on all of the elements of the asana practice: correct vinyasa count, bandhas and dristhi.

Interestingly, Petri Räisänen also provides a detailed history both of his path within Ashtanga Yoga, and of how Ashtanga changed and adapted by Sri K Pattabhi Jois.

For more information on recommended Ashtanga yoga books, read my article: The 23 Best Ashtanga Yoga Books 2020 (Beginners & Home Practitioners)

Ashtanga Yoga Home Practice

For anyone starting a home practice, you may want to invest in a good quality yoga mat, blocks, a strap, a blanket for savasana and a wheel. Have a look and see my recommended options.

Yoga mat

As a home practitioner, it is worthwhile investing in a good quality mat. Aim for a thick mat (6mm) such as the Manduka Pro which comes with a Lifetime Guarantee!

The standard size for this mat is 3.4 kgs – 180cm x 66cm – 6 mm thick. You can eve get it extra long: 4.3 kgs – 215cm x 66cm – 6 mm thick. 

This is a very popular yoga mat amongst Ashtanga yoga practitioners. It is ultra-dense with comfort and cushioning. It has a closed-cell surface keeps moisture and bacteria at bay, increasing longevity and making cleaning very easy.

Additionally, this mat is guaranteed to never wear out. According to Maduka: “If your PRO wears out from regular use and is no longer able to perform as intended, we will replace it under the Lifetime Guarantee.”

One reviewer mentioned how tough and durable this yoga mat is and consequently how more grounded he feels practicing on this mat when compared to softer and thinner mats.

For more information on how to find your ideal yoga mat, here is How To Choose the BEST Yoga Mat in 8 Steps.

Yoga blocks

Some Ashtanga yoga teachers prefer not to use blocks in class, while others do. I like to use blocks for either:

  • Helping with my alignment (e.g. block between the legs for Marichyasana A)
  • Back opening exercises (e.g. one block under the shoulder blades and another under the head)

Yoga strap

I like using a strap when I do my backbends. One strap is for just above my elbows so as to keep my hands and elbows shoulder width.

Yoga wheel

A yoga wheel can be a really good investment for your Ashtanga yoga practice. I love using my wheel when I am working on backbends. I also like to sometimes do a little extra core work and this is something the yoga wheel can also offer.

One reviewer went on to mention how helpful yoga wheels are, especially for those who have tight shoulders and neck from sitting at a desk all day. They went on to say that the yoga wheel helps as it offers a very stable and supported stretch and that it is a very relaxing way to end the day after a long and stressful day in front of a computer screen.

Yoga blanket

Especially for the colder months, there is nothing quite like covering up in savasana after your practice. It can also be used under the knees for those with sensitive knees.

A nice example is the Mexican Blanket Hand Woven Yoga Blanket. One reviewer mentioned how comfortable and beautiful this particular blanket is and how great it is for yoga and for relaxation in particular.

Yoga eye pillow

Yoga eye pillows can be used in savasana, for that extra bit of luxury and relaxation.

These particular eye pillows have an organic lavender and flaxseed insert. The sleeve is machine washable and it was hand-knitted in the USA.

One reviewer who loved this eye pillow went on to mention that the use of fennel makes it feel warm and cool at the same time and that the weight of the eye pillow was just perfect to help calm an active mind and also to help with tense forehead muscles.

Traveling Ashtangis

For anyone traveling, you may want to invest in a lighter yoga mat and a yoga mat bag. Have a look and see my recommended options.

Travel friendly yoga mat

If you are traveling, it is worth while buying a good quality mat that is thinner and lighter than your normal mat. Aim for at least 4mm thickness such as the Manduka Prolite which comes with a Lifetime Guarantee!

The standard size for this mat is 1.8 kgs – 180cm x 61cm – 4.7 mm thick.

The PROlite yoga mat is perfect for those looking for a lightweight yoga mat with superior quality and comfort. It is a light, zero-waste yoga mat for the studio and on the go.

Additionally, this mat is guaranteed to never wear out. According to Maduka: “If your PRO wears out from regular use and is no longer able to perform as intended, we will replace it under the Lifetime Guarantee.”

One reviewer who loved this mat mentioned how good the grip was, even when wearing socks. They mentioned that it is thick and has good enough cushioning to help protect sensitive joints and also that the lifetime guarantee makes it a very good choice, both financially and also environmentally as there is no need to buy a second yoga mat.

Travel yoga mat

For anyone traveling, especially when you have limited weight allowance, it is worth buying a good quality travel mat, such as the Manduka travel mat.

The standard size for this mat is 1 kg – 180cm x 61cm – 1.5 mm thick.

This mat is a ‘Fold + go’ mat that offers ultimate portability. Fold it and place it in your laptop bag or place it over your yoga studio’s yoga mat. It’s surface texture offers superior dry grip. It is made from biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber with non-toxic foaming agents.

One reviewer who purchased this mat for travelling mentioned how easy it is to simply fold it or roll it and place it in a backpack or at the bottom of a suitcase. They even use it on top of the used mat in yoga studios. This particular reviewer uses their travel mat on top of the carpet at home and they mentioned how having the mat at home really does motivate him to dedicate to the practice.

Yoga bag

There are two most commonly used options for yoga mat bags. One option is an actual bag, in which you place your yoga mat. The other option is simply a strap that you use to keep your mat in place. Depending on your preferences, both types of bags are commonly used.

This particular bag is waterproof and has internal pockets, which always come in handy.

One reviewer who uses this yoga mat bag mentioned how easy it is to fit his yoga mat plus a towel. They went on to mention the fact that as the strap is thick, it means that the strap doesn’t dig into his shoulder and that this is a big advantage for anyone looking to transport their yoga mat on a regular basis.

Another option is a yoga strap bag.

The advantage of a yoga strap as a bag is that it can be used on mats of all sizes, plus it can double as a yoga strap during practice.

One reviewer mentioned that they use this strap bag both as a yoga mat nag, but also as a yoga strap during practice. Win-win!

Yoga book

Whilst traveling, if you want to get lost in a beautiful yoga story book, I could recommend this one:

How Yoga Works may not be an Ashtanga yoga, it is, however, a book I purchased in Mysore after a fellow practitioner recommended it.

Very different to all the books presented above, this book is in the form of a story. Beyond asanas, anatomy and alignment, this book presents a story of how the teachings of yoga reached Tibet from their home in India, over a thousand years ago.

Yoga philosophy is unfolded and there are a couple of yoga philosophy themes threaded through the story that tie all the lessons together.

Beautiful book if you want something different to the standard yoga books.

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