“What kind of yoga mat should I buy?” “What do I wear to yoga?”
I’ve heard the questions often and I am here today to answer them! The cheap yoga mats at the grocery store are just that, cheap. You will slide on them with just a little sweat AND they will absorb it and start to smell.
I suggest purchasing a Manduka yoga mat (https://www.manduka.com/) or a Jade yoga mat (https://www.jadeyoga.com/). They are by far the best, if a bit more pricey. There are also different size options with Manduka. A nice yoga mat makes a great Christmas gift if your partner, mom, or friend doesn’t know what to get you. Tell them which color and what kind you desire. Ask and you shall receive.
Most manufacturers also sell a mat cleaner, for instance, Manduka sells a natural rub with which you can clean your mat periodically. I use a natural blend of apple cider vinegar, water, and essential oils. I recommend a quick wipe-down at least once a week, or more if you are doing more intense (sweaty) or outdoor sessions.
When deciding what to wear to a yoga class, remember that when you are upside down a loose fitting shirt will fall into your face. It is easier to get away with more voluminous pants, but you want your top to fit well. I prefer a stretchy moisture wicking material more so than cotton but in a pinch your favorite T-shirt will do fine. When I go to a class (especially outdoors) I always bring layers to ensure my comfort. You can always take off your long sleeve shirt or a light jacket once you start to heat up. When it comes to pants don’t wear jeans, corduroy or anything of the sort. You want something you can move and stretch in. Most workout clothes are suitable for yoga.
If you are taking a restorative yoga class or doing a meditation, you may not need your attire to be quite as athletic. Generally, you want to be comfortable and able to move easily. Clothes with buttons or zippers - anything that could poke into you if you lie on it - is probably good to leave at home.
If you would like to read a detailed guide on open cell vs closed cell yoga mats click here.
Now that the basics are covered, let’s talk about yoga toys! They aren’t really toys, they are correctly referred to as “props”. Which ones you use (if any) comes down to personal preference most of the time.
When it comes to blocks, I would advise sturdy. The most common are foam and cork; cork blocks are a little too sturdy to lie on, but for supporting you in standing postures they are great! Foam blocks are probably the most widely used and come in a number of shapes and sizes. Which ones to get depends on who you are, what your body is like, and the intended purpose. I use Hugger Mugger 4” foam blocks for tons of different things, they are always handy to have around. You can find them online for around $10- 15.
Yoga blankets are also one of those things you are always happy you brought with you. You can fold them up to support your body in various postures, or sit on them for meditation, or use them for picnics in a pinch! Also useful for a protective layer under your mat when doing yoga outdoors - with the blanket/mat combination you can do yoga just about anywhere.
When shopping for a yoga blanket you want something that is solid as opposed to soft and squishy so when you fold it up, it will support you and not compress under your weight. The cheapest and most colorful way to go is to buy a few traditional Mexican blankets and have them in your meditation spot, or the back seat of your car. You can get them online for $10.
You can also bring something more like a “blankie” you are going to cuddle up under for savasana. I have a Peruvian baby alpaca shawl that is my “blankie” for that exact purpose.
Useful for sitting on, or supporting your knees and back in many ways. I prefer firm, thicker bolsters opposed to cheaper flat ones; those are less helpful for most restorative postures. I use the Manduka bolster which is incredibly soft.
Used for a number of reclined stretching poses, support, body control, and sometimes for more advanced binds. The longer the yoga strap, the more you can do with it. Straps are an easy way to expand your range of postures at home. They are affordable, I've seen them for $6.
I hope this helps! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions. Or you can send me a message directly in the contact form.