Did you know that 56 percent of yogis in the United States are complete beginners?

That number says a lot about where yoga is beginning to stand in everyday life. The practice can travel as deep as you want it to go, but it’s up to you to decide where you want to take it.

There are things you’ll need on your journey though, no matter your experience level. Keep reading for the 8 great yoga essentials for any beginner who wants to achieve mindfulness.

1. Yoga Mat

If you’re new to yoga, a mat is essential. If you’ve been practicing for a long time, it could be time to treat yourself to a new one.

This article by MySweatSpace says it all. Yoga studios usually have mats for rent when you come to class, but it can be hard to relax into Extended Child’s Pose when you’re worried about the mat’s hygiene.

Investing a personalized yoga mat takes the worry away while giving you something to love as much as your practice.

Don’t forget a strap to transport your mat around! Some mats even come with their own straps.

2. Yoga Mat Towel

Things can get slippery during practice. Depending on the material of your yoga mat, a mat towel may be necessary for your stability.

If you aren’t getting sweaty during that day’s practice, it can serve as a cozy surface to lay across your mat to make things that much softer.

Microfiber towels with silicone grips on the bottom work best, but there are lots of options to choose from on the market.

3. Your Breath

The breath, or Pranayama, is the base of any yoga pose. Breathing into the process allows you to dip down into your psyche, and focus wholly on what you’re doing.

Your breath has a great effect on your internal systems, including the mind. You move with the breath in yoga, and your practice will quickly teach you the importance of deep breathing.

4. Yoga Block

The beautiful thing about the yoga block is that it can help ease you into your practice, but it can also help you achieve a deep stretch when you need it to.

It brings the floor up to your head when you need it, or gives a little extra length when you’re contemplating in Paschimottanasana, or a seated forward bend. When starting your practice, it can be a little difficult to sit up completely straight with your shoulders back.

In yoga, you’ll learn that the body is one moving part, and lifting your hips by sitting on a yoga block can help you sit up a bit taller with your shoulders back. It’s one of the “building blocks” of your practice. (Get it?)

5. Something Comfy

Yoga pants and a comfortable top — whether it’s a cute sports bra or a plain t-shirt — are great to help center yourself. Something that keeps everything from budging in any pose you attempt is preferred, but it’s also OK to practice in sweat pants and a t-shirt if you feel like it.

As long as you can move and don’t mind sweating in them, you’re set.

6. Mat Cleaner

If you’ve been using the mats from your yoga studio, they’ve more than likely been cleaned, but have you paid attention to your own mat?

Luckily, a DIY mat cleaner is easy enough to make yourself, and it ensures chemicals don’t pour all over your mat. However, if this isn’t a concern, there are lots of yoga mat cleaners available on the market, and they don’t all have chemicals in them.

7. Water Bottle

While it may be a bit tough to reach for your water bottle while you’re in Downward Dog, you’ll appreciate having it once your session is done.

If your practice is more restorative and slow that day, you can reach for it at any point. No matter how much you’re moving, it’s important to stay hydrated.

Whether you’re at home or in class, a reusable water bottle is not only better for the environment, but it’s better for you. You can even get a personalized reusable water bottle to match your personalized yoga mat if you’d like.

8. An Open Mind

You might be nervous to begin practicing yoga. That’s completely understandable and even good. It can be beneficial to run toward the things we fear most, and yoga is here to help you do just that.

The important thing to remember is that you won’t be perfect from the get-go. Even if you feel like you are succeeding, there may be days when you just don’t feel up to snuff.

That’s part of the practice, and it is always willing to accept you as you are.

You’re Also Part of These Yoga Essentials

While you don’t have to run out to the store and immediately buy these yoga essentials to start your yoga journey, it makes things easier in the long run. Practicing yoga provides not only a good stretch but a clear mind.

Yoga is here to help you accept things — and yourself — as they are. It’s easier to get better with time, just as it’s easier to purchase something you know you will get years of use from.

Remember, it’s always possible to use items around your home as a substitute until you’re ready. The intention behind these items is what makes them special. Keep reading our blog to learn more about health, fitness, and overall wellbeing.