yoga essentials
Hit the mat. Travis Rathbone

Yoga’s original south asian practitioners realized what the regimen can do for the mind millennia ago. In ­modern life, studies prove that the practice boosts attention and focus, reduces stress, and helps curb anxiety. (It’s okay that ­weightlifters and linebackers use it to build strength and increase flexibility too.) No matter why you’re there, the mat can give you a short break from your smartphone and its continuous flow of push notifications. Use these four essentials to help it all fade away. 1. Mat The Jade Harmony pad uses a layer of natural rubber on top to soak up slippery perspiration and improve traction. At three-sixteenths of an inch thick, it’s the perfect Goldilocks depth—comfortably squishy without sacrificing stability. 2. Garment The Lululemon women’s In Movement Tights have an inner, nylon-based fabric layer that spreads out sweat for rapid evaporation. It pulls moisture away from the skin to a quick-drying outer layer. 3. Block Yoga should stretch, not strain, your muscles. The Yoga Design Labs Block acts like a spotter to help you into poses outside your range. It has a textured surface for grip, and offers 4, 6, or 9 inches of assistance.

4. Wheel

Hunching over a ­keyboard can leave you too stiff to achieve basic poses. Rolling the 13-inch Gaiam Cork Yoga Wheel on the floor beneath your back eases your creaky muscles into place.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2018 Intelligence issue of Popular Science.