2012 Yoga Essentials

Yoga is a fantastic way to increase your flexibility, gain strength, work on concentration, improve posture, build balance, and reduce stress. Yoga is a way to forget about the outside world and focus on you. You're able to let go of stress and just breathe. While yoga calls for minimal gear, here are some yoga essentials that you might want to add to your yoga bag.

Yoga Mats

What's the difference between a thin and a thick mat? A mat's a mat right? You need to consider what kind of yoga you'll be doing and what's comfortable for you. If you're constantly traveling, you may want to pick up a mat that's thin for easy travel. Gaiam's Travel Yoga Mat is a nice one and is reasonably priced.  If portability is not an issue for you, a thick mat might be up your alley. A thick mat offers comfort and is easy on your knees when you're in certain postures. Gaiam's Premium Sticky Yoga Mat offers extra cushion and a nonslip surface.  

Editor's Pick: The Align Ultra Mat from lululemon is great to help you find your center. With a vertical line drawn down the middle; the mat helps you find your center. A horizontal line drawn at the top and bottom helps you find your hand and feet placements. This mat helps you practice with ease. It's light, portable and comfortable. Plus, there's a great selection of colors to choose from.

More: Find your center and stay balanced with the right mat.

Yoga Pants

Yoga pants are usually made with fabrics that allow your body to breathe and move easily. One thing many people don't think about is the thickness of yoga pants. While you may have workout clothes that can be worn for multiple sports, sometimes the fabric becomes see-through when you are in a forward fold or downward dog. Running tights might be too thin for yoga or slippery to hold an inversion.

Certain fabrics during exercise are better for certain sports. Material gets worn out from sweat or just standard wear and tear. A great pant to purchase is the Body Pose Legging from alo. These pants fit like a glove allowing you to flow with ease. Plus, they are super cute. If you enjoy your practice in shorts, the Vata Short from Athleta comes in a variety of colors and is extremely flattering. Bonus: they are moisture wicking, breathable and UPF 50. The Power Yoga Short from lululemon is an excellent short for any man. It's designed with an athletic cut, yet enough room for flexibility so you can hold any pose with ease.

Editor's Pick: Hot 'N Sweaty Short from lululemon. These shorts are perfect if you want to turn up the heat and take hot yoga. Clinchable drawstrings help create a custom fit so you can move through class with no sweat.

More: 6 Yoga Tips for Beginners

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