When I was first introduced to yoga, all I had was my mat. I was at a different place in my practice, primarily taking yoga at gyms that did not offer additional tools, but overall I managed well. I was mystified some four years later when I decided to start yoga teacher training at a dedicated yoga studio. My fellow yogis had the coolest mats, totes, and accessories - I felt both overwhelmed and delighted at the sight.
I am a Taurus, which means I like all of the things, and I was immediately interested in how these tools could optimize my yoga experience. Gear are not necessities, but they do offer benefits to yogis at all levels.
These items come with wide price ranges. It can be tough to find the fine line between investing in a product or throwing your coins away. I've added a save or splurge element to this post to guide you along the way.
Yoga Mat - save, then splurge
Your mat is where you will spend nearly all of your time practicing! I would suggest that very new yogis spend $15 - $30 on their mat. Gaiam makes amazing ones that are often available at discount retailers, like T.J. Maxx.
After practicing yoga for nearly half a decade, I treated myself to my BMat. It is the grippiest, stickiest of mats and I love it! I (accidentally) purchased the extra long one, which works great for my lengthening limbs. They usually begin around $80, so this one is a splurge, but it is all well worth it once you're ready.
Yoga Mat Bag & Strap - save
Whether you opt for a bag, a strap or both, you need to find an effective way to tote around your mat. I love the strap for ease of use (i.e. when I'm running into the studio to take a class) and the bag for practicality (i.e. when I'm teaching a class and need to bring extra supplies). Both hold my bag in a way that makes my life easier. I have a bag from LUCKAYA that adore and a strap from YogaAccessories. Together they cost less than $50 and make transporting your mat a lot easier!
Mat towel - save
If you're a naturally sweaty person like myself, you NEED a yoga mat towel. Bikram, power yoga or an outdoor class are all way better with a mat towel. Your ordinarily slippery mat becomes the absorbent oasis you need. You can also get them in super cool colors, like this one I have from Yoga Mate.
Mat Cleansing Spray - save (or DIY)
Dirt, dust, sweat and other unwelcome guests tend to hitch rides on our mats. It is imperative that you keep your mat clean to improve your practice of saucha and for the longevity of your mat. I have one from Asutra that I like and there are plenty of DIY-recipes on Pinterest!
So there you have it - the bare bones of what you need to begin your yoga practice. I will be back with a part two to this series to cover all the other supplies you could use on your journey. Do you have a mat or accessory company that you adore? Let me know in the comments below!