September is National Yoga Month, so I thought it would be fitting to share some of the essentials that every yogi should own if they’re really interested in delving into their own yoga practice.
If yoga has been on your to-do list, now is the time! Many yoga studios have discounted passes this month. If you’re ready to get started, here’s what you’ll need:
1. Yoga Mat
As if this isn’t the most obvious yoga essential! While many gyms and studios may have mats for members to use, if you’re really going to devote some time on the mat… it’s worth the investment to just buy your own. This way, you can practice at home, and when you aren’t at home you don’t have to worry about using a (potentially dirty) mat that’s been used countless times by others at your gym/yoga studio.
One yoga brand I really love is Gaiam. Gaiam has everything a yogi needs, for any and all levels of yoga or meditation.
Gaiam mats come in a wide variety of thickness, material, and patterns. Of course, you can just go for a basic mat, but again, if you’re going to start spending more time on a yoga mat, you might as well buy one that you like to look at! Mine is reversible: pink on one side and navy on the other. I’m very minimalistic in style, but a fun pop of color sold me on my mat. Gaiam also has lots of mats with beautiful designs.
Tip for beginners: the “basic” thickness of a yoga mat is ⅛ of an inch (2-3mm). However, the thicker the mat, the more comfort/cushion that you have. Consider this when purchasing. But also take into consideration that the thicker the mat, the harder some poses that require balance can be as the cushion can affect your equilibrium in certain asanas. If you’re looking for a little extra cushion go for a 4-5mm, but any higher than a 5 and you risk having too much cushion to successfully balance in your poses.
If there’s one awesome thing about yoga, it is that you really only need YOU and your mat. You just roll it on up and head to class. You don’t have to carry around a big gym back when you’re heading to yoga, you can simply opt for a sling to wrap around your mat so it doesn’t unroll when stored or when in transport.
However, if you’re like me, you could be ever-attached to your phone and need a little more than a sling. I just bought the Gaiam On-The-Go Mat bag, so I have an option outside of my gym bag to take to yoga class and yoga teacher training with me. It’s not a big bag, but more functional that a basic sling as it has a pocket for my keys, gym card, cell phone, etc.
Gaiam also offers gym bags with compartments to hold your yoga mat, depending on your needs.
3. Yoga Block
Yoga blocks are perfect for all levels of yogis! Yoga blocks have many different uses. They can be used as a seat for meditation, for stability purposes in standing poses, and can also be used as an extension of the floor when your flexibility just doesn’t allow you to touch the ground.
4. Yoga Strap
Yoga straps are used to increase flexibility and further your stretch into poses. They can also be used to aid in stamina, as you’ll be able to hold poses longer with the assistance of a strap. Check out this tutorial from YogiApproved to see how a yoga strap is used.
These are my four yoga must-haves!
Gaiam even put together their own Yoga for Beginners Set, where you can purchase a mat + block + strap + beginners yoga DVD for less than $25! Complete steal! Add in a sling/bag and you could be getting all four of my yoga essentials for less than $40!
OR — you can just do what I did and pull together all of your favorites and curate your own yoga kit. Right now, you can Save 20% Off All Yoga Mats & Accessories At Gaiam.com! THANK YOU NATIONAL YOGA MONTH! But, this sale ends 9/13 — so don’t pass up this chance for a great savings!
Are you a practicing yogi? What are your must-haves? If you’re just starting out, why are you starting yoga? I’d love to know! Let’s chat in the comments below.