Yoga Essentials For Beginners

At the beginning of each year, thousands of people (probably more) embark on their New Years resolutions.
One of the top New Years resolutions is to lose weight. Another is to become more fit. And with the growing popularity of yoga for fitness, yoga studios have grown to expect a flooded studio for the first month of the New Year.
And then, little by little, class numbers return to their normal size as people forget about their resolutions.
In my last post, I spoke about how I don’t like the idea of a “Resolution.” When we use words like that, we put pressure on ourselves that can often result in disappointment. And that disappointment leads to self-hatred, a practice that can be so detrimental to our physical and mental well-being. So instead of resolving to suddenly exercise six times a week and lose 20 pounds in a month, set yourself up for success by mentally preparing to make the changes you want. And from this point forward, let’s call it a “goal” instead of a resolution. Sound good?
If your goal is to start doing yoga, here are some things that you will need (and want) to succeed.
  1. A Yoga Mat
This one is obvious, but sometimes people don’t know where to start, or where they can get a good yoga mat.
If you’re a super beginner (have never taken a yoga class before) I recommend seeing if the studio you’re planning to visit offers mat rentals. This way, you can try a few classes and then decide if you want to invest in a yoga mat.
If you plan to do yoga in your home, you will definitely need to invest in a yoga mat. It’s important to do yoga with a mat because it alleviates pressure on your joints (particularly your knees and wrists). Gaiam makes really nice mats for beginners, and they’re only $20-$35. Here’s where you can get them:
If you plan to do hot yoga (or you’re just a sweaty person), be prepared to spend a little more $$$. I would suggest using a rental mat on your first visit, just so you can get an idea of the kind of mat you want. From there, you will either need to layer your yoga mat with a towel, or purchase a mat that can handle a hot and sweaty class.
The towel is a good idea if you’re emotionally attached to your mat and just want a quick fix. They’re also good because you can just toss them in the washer with your laundry. Here are some yoga towels I like and have used:
However in my personal opinion, if you plan on consistently doing heated classes, I would highly recommend investing in a mat that can withstand humidity. This way, you aren’t messing with your towel if it gets messed up on your mat, or lying on a soggy towel by the end of your practice. Here are some yoga mats that suck up moisture and make sure you aren’t sliding around your mat:
Lululemon (Mid-range, excellent grip, very durable)
Jade Yoga (Mid-range, natural material, fairly durable)
Liforme (This is the mat I use for my daily practice. Expensive, but made of natural material and very durable)
  1. A water bottle
Alright, I’m not going to claim that having a certain water bottle will make your practice sooooo much better, but it is important to have water when you take a yoga class. I highly recommend NOT using plastic bottles, because it’s 2018 and the earth is dying. Now that we’re past that, here are some water bottles I really like:
  1. Yoga clothes
I could do a whole post about my favorite brands of yoga clothes (let me know if you want a post on this!), but here are the basics for yoga clothes.
If you identify as a man, you will want something to hold your junk in. Sorry to be crude, but you’ll thank me. Aside from that you can wear whatever you want, as long as you can move in it (sweatpants, tshirt, shorts, leggings). And no, you don’t need to wear socks.
If you identify as a woman, I would recommend a sports bra, leggings, and a top you can move in. If you’re more comfortable in shorts or sweats, that’s fine too! It’s all about personal preference. If you have long hair (this goes for my guys too), don’t forget a hairtie!
  1. Props
This part of the post is for the at-home yogis. If you plan to practice exclusively in a studio, you can ignore this part because your studio will have the props you need for practice. But if you’re an at-home yogi, you will want at the very least some yoga blocks.
Yoga blocks work wonders to help you stretch when you are less than flexible (trust me, they really make it less painful). They also work really well to help engage and isolate muscles when you do body weight exercises. Here’s some blocks that are good:
Once you get more flexible and want to get into all those bendy poses you see on Instagram, you may want a strap. You can also use straps if you aren’t flexible and need a little help reaching where you need to go. Here are some good ones:
And finally, something that I will finally be purchasing for myself, a yoga blanket! If you do yoga for fitness, yoga blankets are not as essential. But yoga blankets are great for those yoga sessions where you really want to stretch out and relax, rather than break a sweat. Here’s a few I’m eyeing up:
There you have it, 3 (or 4 depending on if you’re and at-home yogi) essentials for your 2018 yoga practice! Feeling prepared for your yoga classes and getting excited about your yoga gear is a great way to get motivated for class. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask them in the comments, or DM me on instagram (@kiravoit)! Also, stay tuned on my yoga instagram for more posts and tutorials in 2018!

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