Are you new to yoga, or thinking about starting? There are just a few essentials that you will need to help get you on your way.
Thankfully, yoga is a minimalist activity. The most crucial part is dedicating yourself to your practice and showing up on the mat. In fact, most studios will offer mat rentals in case you forget yours, and will provide basic props for free. So what’s left in the yoga starter kit?
- Yoga Mat
- Yoga Towel
- Active Clothing with Stretch
- Water Bottle
- optional: Block
- optional: Strap
- optional: Mat Bag
The yoga mat is the foundation to your practice (literally), so this should be your first investment. Some mats require a “break-in” period to develop their grip, which is good to keep in mind before heading out to your first class. Determine what type of thickness you prefer, and go from there. Note: If you have sensitive joints, a thicker mat is better (5mm+).
Towels are great to have to keep you (and your mat) dry. You can opt for a smaller hand towel or go for a full-length mat towel, depending on you preference. If you tend to sweat easily, a full-length mat towel will keep you grounded and from slipping all over your mat.
So now that you have a mat under your toes, what about clothes? A fitted tank or tee works best for the ladies, especially if you plan on taking your practice upside down. You can find an active tank with a built-in-bra, or you can wear your own bralette with a tank layered over. Yoga is a low-impact sport, so a bra with light to moderate support works well.
For guys, a slim-fit performance fabric tee or tank works best. If your top is too loose, you’ll find yourself distracted by your wardrobe during your practice, or even getting snagged on the loose clothing. A lot of guys, you’ll notice, also practice shirtless. (Whether you like it or not.)
What do you wear on the bottom? Leggings are hands down the most popular bottom for women (on and off the mat). The best leggings for yoga have four-way stretch for easy mobility and moderate to light compression for comfort.
Men on the other hand tend to wear active shorts. Running shorts or “workout” shorts work the best. We don’t recommend board shorts, simply because they don’t offer enough stretch and feel restrictive during your asana.
Most yoga studios will have blocks and straps available for students to use, but you may want to invest in your own if you plan to practice at home. If you have tight hamstrings, blocks give you a little extra boost to help deepen your practice. Similarly, straps give you extra length in the arms for holding a pose. You may think that props are for more advanced students but its actually the other way around. Props help beginners reach certain poses.
Taking your yoga on the go? A mat bag (totally optional) can be a lifesaver when you’re traveling to practice. Heading to the studio right after work? Stick all of your essentials inside the bag and keep it packed and ready to go.
Last, but certainly not least, we highly recommend a water bottle. Like any activity, we cannot emphasize the importance of staying hydrated enough before, during and after. A lot of yogis carry water bottles into class with them.