While the only thing you really can’t do without when practicing yoga is the simple willpower, good gear can make a huge difference. Comfort, fit, and freedom of movement are essential when picking out what to wear, and there are a few other things that you should grab if you want to make the whole routine easier and more enjoyable. If you’re just getting into yoga and aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got a few suggestions about which essential things you’ll need to reap all the benefits from your workout.
A roll-up mat
One of the most important pieces is a yoga mat, also called the sticky mat. Most yoga studios will offer to lend you one if you’re just starting out, but since they are used every day by many people, it’s simply more hygienic to get your own and carry it with you. They provide traction for your hands and feet, which is really important given that yoga is usually done barefoot and if you keep slipping and sliding around the room it’ll only lead to injury. It also defines your personal space and separates it from the rest of the practitioners, and since these mats are so thin and weightless they can easily be rolled up and placed into your bag without taking up much space.
Yoga pants and shirts
Most people prefer slimmer fits for their yoga gear because it generally allows for greater flexibility. However, loose sweatpants are totally okay if that’s what you prefer, so only get leggings or shorts if you are comfortable in them. Bear in mind that yoga will require various different poses, so pick clothes that won’t hinder your movements. For your upper body, you can apply the same principle: crop tops, tees, or whatever else works as long as it gives you a freedom of movement and doesn’t make you feel self-conscious.
A good bra
This bit is absolutely essential for women who are doing any sort of physical activity at all. Trust us, a good bra makes all the difference, especially if you want to avoid premature sagginess and the feeling of discomfort as you exercise. You need something that will keep your breasts in place so they don’t ache as you work out, so find a good yoga sports bra that offers full support and is made of elastic, breathable fabric. Going without good support can also cause back and shoulder injury. That’s why it’s key to find a garment that fits you well, doesn’t chafe, and helps you move around as it can significantly improve your workout performance and make you look good while you exercise.
While you won’t need anything for your first class, some yoga props could come in handy soon, especially for certain poses. A comfy, soft yoga block can help support your back while you’re lying down, but it could also be used for sitting and helping you rest your head on it when you need to. Another thing that can really help beginners are yoga straps, which are used to help you stretch your hamstrings and keep your body properly aligned as you go through your motions. The best thing about these is that you can really use them for almost every other type of exercise, none if it is really limited to yoga.
These kinds of sprays are used to keep your mat fresh because it will generally start getting soaked with sweat and smelling funny after a while. To avoid it, it’s best to use a spray to wipe down your mat gently after every use, and then let it air out for a bit until it’s dry. You can buy yoga mat sprays at the store, but you could also make a DIY version: mix ¾ distilled water with ¼ witch hazel, then add 5 drops of lavender essential oil. Put it all in a spray bottle and shake well before each use!
Yoga is a real joy both for our mind and our body. Use this gear to help you get into the mood to exercise, and you’ll soon feel eager for every new workout to begin!
Contributing Author: Claire Hastings is Australian designer, writer and regular contributor at ripped.me. She’s been writing as long as she can remember, and she is very passionate about fashion, running, other cultures, and her cat. Social media links: facebook, twitter