Let’s begin with the basic question- what exactly is Yoga? Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj which roughly translates to “to bind” or “union”. There are various other phrases and words that you will learn along with your journey.
Yoga is not only a form of exercise, but it’s also a way to unwind which helps one to advance towards a better living. Do keep in mind that Yoga is not a religion, but a simple philosophy; one that is based on the idea of connecting the body and mind.
The fun thing about Yoga is that it is accessible to people of all levels and backgrounds despite whatever social media and current wear catalogs have to preach. Yoga sets a whole new lifestyle. It focuses mostly on breathing and mind relaxation, rather than refinement and balance.
Yoga novices are always full of never ending questions. Questions like, what to bring in class or how to get prepared for the first day- these are always occurring when someone new aspires to practice the art of Yoga. To be fair, it’s completely normal to have these questions popped up in your mind.
Yoga is not your average cup of Joe. It requires a great deal of commitment and enthusiasm. One must attain enough knowledge and information so that they feel comfortable enough to embrace this lifestyle. So don’t spend hours searching for the answers; in this article, we have done just the right amount of research for you! This guide will act as the basic checklist before you dive into the world of Yoga.
What Do I Need to Begin?
Yoga Clothing Buying Guide
Most basic yoga poses involve various arm movements. You should think about choosing apparels where you can be comfortable in and can move easily around without the garment constantly distracting you.
Stay away from clothes that have a reducing neckline. Yoga clothes should fit your body well so that when you bend or twist into a new position, it doesn’t leave you exposed and embarrassed.
Your clothes should be breezy and light. The last thing you want is to die of asphyxiation due to the heat that was stored in your cotton tank top. Your clothing essentials should include: Yoga Pants, Capri’s, Leggings, Shorts, Sports Bra, etc.
Try Target and Old Navy for affordable choices and other sports brands like Nike and Adidas. There are also more yoga-centric brands such as Lululemon and Yoga Smoga.
$12 – $125
Yoga Mat Buying Guide
Yoga mats are a must-have item for any class and have the power to either make or break your experience. Mats can be pricey that’s a given, but it’s a good investment as they good ones, such as the Manduka Black Mat, tend to stick till the end. Even if you practice less than twice a week, you want a mat that will remain clean.
The material of the product should be thick and solid enough to protect your bones from getting crushed in difficult poses, but at the same time, they should not be so foamy that you sink or feel unstable. Go for a branded one – JadeYoga and Hugger Mugger are well-known brands you can trust, and of course there are countless other brands you can choose from.
Yoga mats are like yoga poses; they vary in types and usage. There are mats that are very easy to carry and good for traveling. There are also some mats which are designed for a particular type of Yoga and also the amount you sweat! So make sure you try before you invest your hard-earned cash. We’ve reviewed The 10 Best Yoga Mats.
$10 – $100
Yoga Water Bottle Buying Guide
Water bottles are a necessary item for any physical activity. Staying hydrated is an imperative to your health, especially during Bikram or Vinyasa flow classes. Yoga requires breathing exercises and positions that causes the entire body to sweat.
No matter how simple a pose may seem, they are designed to get you breathing and your blood pumping. Without proper hydration, you might start having a falling out or worse, develop severe health issues. You can get a solid, insulated stainless steel model from CamelBak and brands like Kleen Kanteen and think the sport is also worth checking out.
$10 – $45
Yoga Towels Buying Guide
Just like a water bottle, towels are greatly important when you’re engaging in a workout. Yoga is a sweat generator! And the thing about perspiration is that it doesn’t do justice to all. Some of us tend to sweat more than others. So take into account if you need to have more than one towel in hand. But also remember that perspiration is healthy. It means you are doing something right.
You can use a bath or beach towels, but their microfibers tend to shed on the mat. You don’t need to purchase a super expensive towel, but pay attention to how much you sweat. Expensive brands like Yogitoes and Jade offer excellent models. Less expensive and affordable brands include Gaiam and SOJA.
$10 – $250
Yoga Blocks Buying Guide
When buying your first yoga block, you need to consider both size and material. Yoga blocks are made to better muscle flexibility, provide support, maintaining balance and provide comfort. For this, you need to be able to hold the block in your hand, so be sure to find the right size for you.
Average blocks are around 9 x 4.5 x 3 inches, but since none of us are exactly like the other, the sizes may vary. Blocks are made of materials such as wood, cork, and foam, and each has its texture and grip. For beginners, two blocks are considered to be beneficial to consider purchasing more than one to start with.
$10 – $25/block
Yoga Strap Buying Guide
Like blocks, yoga straps are vital to a beginner’s achievements. And like blocks, the straps help novice yogis perform poses with their bodies. If you feel intimidated by your surrounding students, just remember that this is what these tools are made for- TO HELP YOU! No one is born perfection and yoga is something that needs a tremendous amount of time and effort. You can’t just expect to be flawless on day one.
Some studios may provide straps, but it is beneficial to have your own for at-home practices or travel as well. Brands like Gaiam offer a block, and strap combo pack and other brands like ProSource, Hugger Mugger, and OPTP provide interesting and affordable choices.
$5 – $15
Yoga Bolster Buying Guide
A bolster is a simple pillow that is built to help you breathe deeper and achieve better alignment during yoga positions. They are available in a variety of shapes and styles including a cylinder, rectangular and crescent-shaped. A bolster can be used to intensify your practice, bring certain poses within reach, break limitations, or simply relax.
So basically the most important thing to think about before buying the right bolster is how you’ll be using it. Hugger Mugger, Manduka, YogaDirect & Bean Products are all brands that provide a variety of options. Make sure to purchase the best bolster for your specific needs and as always, check fabrics and labels for any allergy tendencies and washing instructions.
$30 – $70
Yoga Eye Pillow Buying Guide
Yes, believe it or not, an eye pillow is an essential for yoga beginners. But no, you will not be sleeping through the class! Mediation is a key component of yoga, and the class will usually conclude with a teacher’s segment called Savasana.
To maximize the results of your stress relief efforts during this meditation exercise, you should purchase (or make) an eye pillow. Don’t wait to discover the benefits, have one from the start. Some studios may offer pillows, but others do not. It’s best to use your pillow catered towards your own specifics needs.
$5 – $20
Clothing is really important if you want to have amazing yoga experience. Your clothing should be made from breathable fabric, e.g., cotton or bamboo that should improve your overall health and wellness while increasing strength and flexibility.
Even though Yoga is a low-impact activity compared to running or jogging and does not involve jostling of the breasts but there are poses where extra support and containment does make a significant difference.
For small breasts, compression bras are the best as they press the breast against the chest wall. But, for medium and large breasts, bras with both compression and encapsulation are required that comes with underwire support, zip-front closures, wide back and shoulder construction and wide ribbands.
As yoga involves a lot of bending, stretching and spreading, a lot of times people complain that their tops slide to the side in inappropriate areas. We recommend getting a form-fitting top that should handle serious sweat and doesn’t ride up, down or sideways and offer freedom of movement.
Not necessarily if you buy a yoga pant that has an extra panel around the private areas that should provide some flexibility, but it is always better to wear one as once the pants start absorbing sweat, it will reveal everything and you won’t be able to prevent the camel toe which is a pet peeve of many ladies out there.
This can be tricky as there are different types of Yoga pants you can buy, from cut and styles to material. Here is what you need to consider:
Style: Straight or flared leg vs. Legging, this is a personal preference and up to you which style you prefer.
Length: Full Length vs. Capri as if you are into hot yoga, you are better off wearing a Capri than a full-length yoga pant.
Fabric: Cotton vs. Synthetic as cotton is very absorbent and retains more water than a synthetic one.
Color: If you are buying anything other than black, then make sure to note that some colors show more moisture than others.
There are bazillion types of Yoga mats out there which comes in different material types of different size and thickness, here is what you need to consider:
Material: While the standard yoga mat is made up of PVC material, a new breed of yoga mats have entered the market which is made from more earth-friendly options including recycled rubber, jute, and organic cotton.
Thickness: The thickness of a yoga mat is directly related to how comfortable it is. Too thin, and your knee may get bruised. The only downside of getting a thicker mat is that it can make it harder for you to feel the connection with the floor.
Size: Standard yoga mats are 68” long, and longer mats are up to 74” long. Besides the standard size, there are manufacturers who have produced squared shape mats too so you can freely do it without having to adjust yourself to the mat again and again.
Yoga towel is an essential for the regular practitioners. The two basic types include mat-length and hand towel. Mat-length is the most useful as they cover the entire mat, improve stability and a great way to avoid any traction.
Yoga blocks are extremely useful if you are just starting out and your body isn’t flexible as they allow you to complete the yoga poses. There are numerous poses where you need that extra support while bending or stretching where the block will help you in finding better alignment and posture.
The common type of yoga blocks that are available in the market are Foam, Cork, Bamboo, and wood. They vary in price, so it comes down to personal preference if you want an eco-friendly block then bamboo or wood be a better choice.
Just like with the Yoga Blocks, if you are just starting out or lack flexibility then you need to get a yoga strap as there are poses where it becomes difficult to find the right alignment and the strap helps in supporting that pose. The purpose is to help you complete poses when flexibility isn’t there and also restrict your body so your yoga pose is exactly like it should be, this will train you well and build a strong foundation so you’d know where to keep your arms or legs when doing yoga without it.
Buying a yoga strap isn’t technical as the material is pretty much the same, the only difference is in the buckle as there are straps which come in metal and plastic buckle.
In simple words, Yoga Bolster is cushions that come in both cylindrical and rectangular shape stuffed with thick cotton batting or buckwheat. If you are a beginner or someone who has trouble doing advanced poses, a yoga bolster provides that support and relaxation till your body develops the flexibility. If you are just starting out, it is good to have these accessories that offer support.
Yoga eye pillow is a great way to unwind after practice; it is filled with natural ingredients like dried lavender, flax seeds & natural linseed that aids in relaxation. It is a soft and cooling eye pillow that is used as an antidepressant, remedy for a headache and a mood tonic. It is great to put on aching muscles or stiff neck for instant relaxation or used for relaxation during meditation or naps.