New to yoga? This list of yoga gear essentials will help you get started on the path to a safe, comfortable and yet challenging new fitness practice.
The one essential piece of gear you absolutely need is a yoga mat. This is a portable mat that has a slightly sticky or tacky feel to it. Yoga requires you to assume many different postures, several of which may be difficult for you to hold. The tacky mat helps you plant your hand or foot and keep it in place while you balance and shift positions. The mat also remains firmly in place on the floor so you won't have to worry about slippage as you shift your weight. It also cushions the floor so you can comfortably hold positions on your stomach or back. Yoga mats are easy to clean and are light and easy to transport.
You don't have to invest in official yoga wear if you don't want to, but you will want to purchase a comfortable pair of sweats and a comfortable, stretchy workout shirt. Don't buy anything too loose or overly big or you may find your clothing gets in the way as you glide from position to position. Buy a somewhat fitted, but stretchy, pair of yoga pants and shirt.
Make sure you stay hydrated, especially if you're taking a Bikram yoga class, which features a hot studio environment.
As you get into more challenging yoga classes, you may find you need the use of props such as blocks, straps, bolsters and sand bags to help you reach certain positions while maintaining proper form.
Advanced yoga equipment
If you get into truly challenging yoga classes, you may want to invest in a backbend table or bench, a chair, inversion slings and backbend boards. These pieces of yoga equipment will protect you against injury as you attempt difficult poses.
Depending on the types of yoga classes you attend, you may be exposed to varying degrees of yogic philosophy and spirituality in addition to what appears to be a deceptively simple workout. Regardless of which type of yoga you practice, learning yoga basics will help to improve your physical, as well as mental self.
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While breathing the 'essential breath' and returning to our natural rhythms is key to our journey of self-knowledge and vibrant good health, we need not ignore or turn away from the mundane and often gritty aspects of our basic selves.