Yoga can be intimidating.
There’s no question about it. You see photos like these…
… and think there is no way you can do yoga.
Or, when you think of yoga, you picture people chanting in a room hazy with incense; or silent meditation when you’re obviously supposed to be feeling something but all you can think of is how terrifying the silence is and how much you need a milk shake; or you hear about strange things like “hot yoga” and “naked yoga.”
And if you get past all that stuff (which is super easy, btw), what on EARTH do you need???
Fortunately, yoga isn’t all strange and crazy. In fact, it’s quite beautiful and liberating and refreshing. The best part? It’s quite easy and inexpensive to start at home.
What you need:
• A mat.
This is, in fact, a bit more complicated and it sounds, as there are thousands upon thousands of yoga mats ranging from 15 to hundreds of dollars. I’ve had a Danskin mat like these for years. Not the greatest ever, but it has served me well.
Some things to consider:
• How thick do you need?
Mine is standard, about 3 mm. You can find thinner, usually for traveling, or you can get thicker. Personally, as I’m not carting my mat to classes, I am about to get a thicker mat. Just preference, and my knees have begun protesting on my new hardwood floors. If you have any knee or wrist pain, consider a thicker mat. Keep in mind, though, that thicker can mean less stability in balance postures.
• Read reviews. Obviously. Pay attention to people’s experience with the stickiness of a mat. Especially if you’re new to yoga (or tend to sweat a lot), you don’t want a mat that gets slick quickly.
• Here are some inexpensive ones on Amazon that have promising reviews:
1/4″ extra thick for $21 | 2-tone 1/4″, extra long w/ carry strap for $20 | Eco safe 1/4″ mat with icon for $35 | 3mm for $16-35
And that’s it! Yes, really. That’s all you need.
Now, there are a few other things that will help – but aren’t absolute necessities.
These are great to help keep your balance. I’ve items around the house instead of blocks… just make sure it’s not too hard. You don’t want to be using a brick or something and then fall on it. 🙂
Blocks can also help alleviate wrist pressure by using them in poses like Downward Dog
These allow you to get a full stretch with proper form in various postures:
I’ve just recently started using my strap more often; really helpful tool to have on hand.
• Mat wash
You can certainly wash your mat with soap and water (or even put in the washer) and let hang dry, but these has only preserved the stickiness of my mat so much. I haven’t tried a mat wash yet and I’m hoping it does a better job. The goal is to retain stickiness and get rid of odors on your mat.
If you sweat a lot, you may want to lay a towel over your mat. A long towel from home will work for this, but there are yoga towels to fit mats.
This one’s free. 🙂 Search for a yoga station or playlist on your favorite music service. Personally I’ve found better music on Pandora and Spotify. Instrumental mixes work great, too. Really, put on what you feel like that day. Sometimes it’ll be soothing music, other times you may be feeling a dance mix!
Good news, this one’s free too. Designate some space in your home for your new yoga practice. Ideally this is a place that stays clear so you don’t have to move things to lay your mat out. The less obstacles, the more likely you are to practice, right?
Notice that I haven’t said anything about pretty yoga attire. Just be comfortable! Leggings, sweats, shorts, tank, t-shirt. Cute attire is fabulous, of course. Just know that you don’t need to spend money here to have a successful yoga practice.
The last important thing you may need is video classes and instructors. That’s enough for a follow-up post, so stay tuned! Until then, this should have you well on your way to starting a home yoga practice.