If you have ever wondered what all of those items labeled "Yoga" in the stores are used for you have come to the right place. We have separated them in to two categories what you need and what you might want. If you don't see a product listed here email us and we'll help explain it for you.
To practice Yoga all you need are clothes and a mat.
Your Yoga mat should suit your needs, your body type, and what you want to get out of your Yoga practice. If the mat is too thin it might make poses on your knees more difficult and if it is too thick it will make balancing poses very difficult or impossible to hold. Typically 3mm- 5mm thick works for most people. (We typically have a limited number of spare mats for new students to use free of charge before they buy their own. It is recommended to call in advance to reserve one.)
Thickness: Most of the cheaper mats that are sold at discount stores are 3mm thick or are extremely thick. The super thick foam mats are great for Pilate's, but do not work well with Yoga. Just because the mat says "Yoga Mat" does not always mean it was designed by someone familiar with Yoga or what actually works during your practice.
Length & Width: The length and width of the mat depends on your body shape and how tall you are. Unless you are considered a tall person you shouldn't have to worry too much about the length of the mat.
If the mat is on the cheaper end, looks a little thin, and doesn't mention the thickness it is typically 3mm. Which will work fine for most people.
You don't need fancy Yoga clothing. All you need is something comfortable. You want to make sure it fits loosely, but not too loose that your shirt will slip across your body to your neck or over your face when in an inverted or partially inverted pose. Your pants should cover your knees for comfort, but it's not necessary.
These are additional accessories that some students might prefer, but are not necessary for class. Be careful and do your research when buying yoga accessories. A lot of companies will say it's a "Yoga" item, when it in fact it is not something that can be used in Yoga. A mistake partially due to corporate marketing departments not having an understanding of what Yoga actually is. It is recommended that you speak to your Yoga Instructor prior to purchasing additional accessories to find out if it is something that can be used in your classes.
Yoga blocks are designed to help you in poses that you can't quite get completely in to. (i.e. Forward Bend pose, if you can't touch your toes bending forward you would put a block in front of you to touch. It will help you to reach your goal of touching your toes or putting your hands completely flat on the ground.)
Straps will help you get a complete stretch when you can't quite touch your toes, hands, etc. in certain poses. You can also use the straps to pull you further into a pose. An 8 foot strap will work for most people.
Eye pillows are nice when relaxing in Shavasana (also known as Savasana or corpse pose). If you choose an eye pillow it is recommended to choose one that can be washed.
A cloth headband will help keep your hair out of your face and should not damage your hair.
Blankets are good for a variety of reasons. When lying on your back it might not be comfortable on your lower back or other areas of your body. Sometimes placing a blanket rolled up under your knees makes lying down more comfortable. You can also use it folded up under your bottom when in some sitting forward bend poses. When practicing poses up against the wall sometimes it is easier on your knees to place a blanket down for cushioning.
Hand towels can be useful if you sweat during Yoga classes and would prefer to remove some of this sweat. They can also be used for support under a knee or the top of your foot for comfort.
Yoga socks and gloves can be handy on hardwood floors when you don't have a mat available, like when you are traveling.
Most of these can also double as a mat if you are traveling or don't have the space to carry a standard Yoga mat. You can also use a mat towel to keep your mat clean or to soak up sweat that may drip during class.
There are two different opinions about mat cleaners. It is best to find your personal preference. The two opinions out there are:
Pro Mat cleaners -your mat gets dirty and should be cleaned for health reasons. (Even though I have yet to meet someone that got sick due to not cleaning their mat.)
Con Mat cleaners -the natural dirt & scratches on your mat make it more difficult to slide around and injure yourself. You should never use chemicals on items that you place your skin /face on.
Many students just carry their rolled up mat in their arm to class. It is not necessary to wrap your mat in straps or carry it in a bag… with that said if you want to use straps or a bag for your own comfort then you should pick one you like. Some of the bags might have additional pockets for things like straps or a change of clothes. Be sure to pick something that meets your needs.
Our Favorite Yoga Mat