So you're finally going to your first yoga class. Do you need to bring anything with you? Despite the plethora of yoga gear available, the only thing you NEED is clothing you can move in. Don't worry, no yoga pants or leggings required; a t-shirt and the sweatpants you stole from your college sweetheart are fine! However, it is advisable to bring a towel or yoga/exercise mat to practice on. There's no guarantee the class location will have enough mats for everyone. A water bottle is generally a good idea as well, for any form of exercise!
Beyond comfy clothes, there ARE a few yoga accessories that you might want to invest in as you continue your practice. Many studios and gyms will have some of these available for their clients, but some people like to bring their own. Before you go out and buy your own props however, let's look at what we use them for:
A yoga mat is the one piece of yoga gear that almost all yoga practitioners invest in. You can usually find basic mats for $10 (or sometimes less!) at big box stores. Mats are made from a slightly sticky, cellular material that helps to prevent you from slipping during poses. They also provide a bit of cushioning to your hands and knees during poses.
Yoga blocks help promote better balance, proper alignment, and deeper poses. They are usually made out of high density foam or cork and can be found almost anywhere sports equipment is sold, including Target and Walmart! These are a great option to attain a pose without pushing your body beyond it's safe point.
Straps are one of the most underutilized props in yoga; many students are fearful of not looking flexible, so they won't grab one. If you're serious about deepening your practice, it's time to get serious about trying a strap. Straps help you extend your legs, twist deeper and learn how to start moving into binds.