Vinyasa yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga, dynamic yoga ... Don't know what to bring?
Proper attire is essential in order to be comfortable and able to hold your asana, as well as basic equipment to ensure a smooth yoga session.
- Have you booked your first yoga class in London with a yoga instructor?
- Have you just registered for a yoga course?
No need to waste time on the Internet to find the necessary gear and clothing, Superprof has done all the research for you and gives you all the best tips!
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Yoga Mat: Essential for All Yoga Lessons!
First important piece of equipment: the mat, where you do your poses, body softening and other breathing exercises.
It also comes in handy for many other exercises: pranayama, prenatal yoga for pregnant women, bikram yoga, pilates, yoga meditation, hatha yoga ...
Initially, you can make use of the mats provided by the yoga school or yoga studio that you are attending. Note that some places will charge you £1 or £2 for renting mats. If you do yoga regularly, it may be worth investing in one, for several reasons:
- You will always be more comfortable on your own mat than a borrowed one. The foam thickness you need is specific to your body type and having the right one for you can make a world of difference.
- It's more hygienic! Imagine (if you can) the hours of use a mat at a yoga centre has endured and the hundreds of, perhaps not so clean, feet that has walked all over it...what a lovely thought!
- If you buy your own yoga mat you will actually save money in the long run compared to paying every week to rent one!
Having your own mat is a good idea if you intend to go to a yoga class frequently. Warning: be sure to go barefoot or wear socks on your mat so as not to dirty the mat with your shoes! Also think of others, there are disinfectant sprays you can use on your mat once your yoga session is over!
Read about the best music to listen to during yoga...
Four Criteria for Picking the Perfect Mat!
Once you've chosen the right yoga app, it's time to hunt down a mat!
Angie, a full time yoga instructor and creator of the blog sassyyogi, breaks down the main points to bear in mind when choosing a yoga mat:
- Thickness: it's not rocket science that the thicker it is, the more comfortable the mat is. BUT it can also be more slippery and this can be problematic, especially if you tend to sweat a lot too!
- Lightness: you will have to carry your mat from home to your yoga class, and perhaps bring it all the way to work if you don't go home afterwards. Be careful not to choose something cumbersome that would get in the way on public transport, especially if you're using the tube!
- The material used. An age-old discipline bringing together body and mind, the practice of yoga is in line with the principles of fair trade and organic farming. No wonder yoginis prefer to buy a mats made from recycled materials rather than a product derived from oil! Mats made from PVC generally work best but they are also the most toxic. If you search enough online, you can find 100% organic cotton or a mixture of plants (like a mixture of latex and hemp), that are guaranteed PVC free. Make sure your vinyasa yoga or dynamic yoga session is environmentally friendly!
- The price is, of course, an important factor. You will see down below that this yoga accessory is a seriously lucrative business which can cost up to £100.
To make sure you are buying a mat for yoga, they are often rectangular, measuring around 180cm long and 70cm wide with a thickness of about 5mm.
If you're on a budget, a few dozen pounds should get you a basic model. Expect to pay over £50 for a high-end ultralight mat, made from recycled and biodegradable silicone free rubber, with a water-based coating, like this Yuj model. A model that should appeal to your inner yogi!
What a successful hatha yoga or vinyasa yoga class! Discover the best yoga instructors to follow on social media.
The Must-Have Accessories for Yoga Class
Most of the time, schools or organisations offering yoga classes provide members/trainees with all the necessary accessories to carry out their yoga session. Here are some of the products you would need:
- A mat to lie down and do poses (asanas) on. Preferably well padded to avoid breaking your back or catching a cold lying on the tiles, for example.
- Cushions. These can both serve as bodily support in certain positions, such as the lotus pose, to prevent the pelvis and sacrum from being pressed on the ground.
- Oval shaped meditation cushions are particularly good for meditating when in a squat position, resting on your heels. They give you wide and stable support and are perfect for people who are not very flexible or tall. Expect to pay about fifty pounds for this type of product.
All these accessories will be vital when doing various online yoga classes such as:
- Hatha yoga, accessible to everyone (stretching was inspired by this discipline),
- Ashtanga yoga (very dynamic yoga),
- Vinyasa yoga (also known as Hatha Flow)
- Kundalini yoga ("The objective is decentralized and selfless - help people actualize their Higher Self" according to an article by The Huffington Post)
- Yoga Nidra (improving sleep)
Iyengar yoga uses supports such as straps, blocks, blankets and ropes to ensure good posture.
If your preferred position is knees bent and sitting on your heels, opt instead for a meditation bench, a kind of tiny wooden stool, to sit comfortably in this position and hold it for longer without any pain. The average price for this type of product is between £50 and £100.
Sage meditation has published a comprehensive article to help you choose between a yoga cushion or a meditation bench, with several product recommendations. It deserves a read, even if it's just a skim.
The yoga meditation bench, like a little stool, is placed under the bum so you're not resting on your heels.
Straps and blocks are also used in some types of yoga classes such as lyenga and vinyasa. Other yoga styles focusing on meditation may also use mala.
"Mala beads are a necessity for a rounded yoga practice...the beads assist you in counting chants and meditations without breaking your stream of consciousness." As explained in an article published by life hack.org on the 10 must have yoga accessories.
The Lotus pose (or padmasana) is a sitting pose, used in hatha-yoga. It is also used in meditation by Buddhists. Melissa Eisler tells us:
The first thing is simply to sit up straight—on the floor, on a cushion or in a chair—it doesn’t really matter where, but a straight spine will help you to stay alert for your meditations. You want to feel alive and energetic while you meditate—physically and mentally—and sitting in a physical position that is upright encourages that alert state of being.
The right accessory can enhance the benefits of yoga, increasing your ability to fully let go and allowing you to meditate longer.
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How to Choose the Right Yoga Clothes
You don't have to break the bank in order to do yoga.
Keep in mind that your outfit must be comfortable and breathable, so as not to restrict movement. In terms of what items of clothing to wear, everything depends on what type of yoga you prefer:
A weekly yoga session: you'll need just one outfit!
Do you enjoy dynamic yoga?
Are you trying a free yoga session to see if you like it?
There's need to invest in an expensive yoga outfit! Make use of what you already have:
- Rather wide jogging bottoms or leggings that are thick enough so you can move easily,
- A vest top or tight-fitting T-shirt to prevent it from slipping,
- And a comfortable sweater for warm-ups and final relaxation sections.
That's it, you're all set!
Several yoga classes per week: technical attire is recommended.
Do you practice Yoga at least once a week or more?
Are you tempted to start a yoga class?
Superprof recommends specialised sportswear:
- Sports leggings,
- Bra and/or vest top
- As well as more technical fabrics such as polyester, elastane (fiber gives fabrics more elasticity) and merino wool which has incredible thermo-regulating properties.
If you practice bikram (named after its creator Bikram Choudhury) or hot yoga, all you need is just a bra and shorts, to allow your body to perspire and cool down more easily, if you don't mind flaunting your body that is!
Yoga Practice at Home
Is it possible to do yoga exercises at home?
Absolutely! If you have a crazy work schedule, you can decide to do your dynamic yoga session, kundalini yoga, vinyasa yoga or ashtanga yoga at home by taking webcam lessons with a yoga instructor based in the UK. A great way to discover yoga!
If you live in the West Midlands, you could find a Superprof teacher for yoga Birmingham!
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