Yoga really doesn’t require much – adequate space, a mat, comfortable clothing – and you’re good to go! But, there are some essentials that can make your time in the yoga studio easier, more comfortable, and ultimately more stress-free. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for at yoga? These items are actually so useful and universal, that we would call them essential. Don’t leave home without them!
- Yoga mat - This might be an obvious one. I mean …you certainly COULD do yoga without a mat. But the mat does so much to cushion your bones against the floor. They are so thin, it’s surprising, but they really are a requirement for a great class. You can find yoga mats in all sizes and colors – extra-long, patterned, solids, extra-cushy – whatever works for you.
- Water bottle - In some yoga practices, they encourage you NOT to drink water (ahem, BIKRAM, ahem). If you’ve ever been to a Bikram class, you know, this is pure insanity. The rationale is that you should ALREADY be hydrated enough to get through a 115 degree class without water. Even if you follow that edict religiously, you’ll still want a bottle of water at your side for when class ends. After sweating buckets for 90 minutes, rehydration is key. In other heated or non-heated classes, it’s just really nice to take a drink of ice cold H20 every once in a while.
- Towel - Especially for hot yoga classes, you’ll need a towel. But even in regular yoga classes, it’s nice to wipe that sweat off of your brow before it drips into your eyes (or up your nose …you know this has happened to you in downward dog, don’t lie to yourself). The towel serves multiple purposes – sweat rag, slip-proofing your mat, pillow or eye cover for savasana – so many uses, it is the real workhorse of the yoga studio (other than you, of course).
- Comfortable clothing - The most important thing about what you wear is being able to move in your yoga apparel. The materials should be performance fabrications that wick moisture away from the body and keep you as dry and comfortable as possible. For heated classes, you may want to don a sports bra and shorties to make sure you don’t overheat. For other classes, we typically wear legging and a comfortable tank top.
- Acceptance and curiosity - These may be the most important essential to bring with you to yoga class. Stepping on to the mat, remember that yoga is not about touching your toes, but what you learn on the way down there.
Yoga can be practiced anywhere with the most minimal of gear. But, these five essentials are really critical to make your yoga class as enjoyable, stress-free, comfortable, and healthy as possible. Namaste, yogis.