"To be content with what you have is to be rich." Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher.
300 million. This is the number of yoga practitioners in the world. Of these, 15 million are Americans, 15 million are Chinese and 1 million are from the UK.
The yoga industry is growing quickly, especially with the development of a whole range of sports yoga equipment for women and also for men.
Let's discover together the essential yoga equipment needed when you want to practice yoga regularly.
Women's Yoga: Which Outfit to Choose?
Whether you are doing a yoga session once a week or passionately practising all the time, the need to be comfortable in your sportswear is obvious. Practising yoga sometimes leads to acrobatic yoga postures and often stretching, but always in a smooth and gentle way.
An outfit for doing yoga exercises is composed of:
- A top: choose a close-fitting, sleeveless top to prevent sweat marks. Do you prefer to exercise on your yoga mat in a sports bra? Choose a yoga top with a good fit while ensuring high-level chest support.
- Bottoms: forget your sweatpants and opt for yoga leggings that are found in a sportswear store, and not the one you wear around the house (which may be transparent and not very long-lasting). Your yoga pants should have an elastic waist so that they don't slide from your hips when you are upside down.
- Undergarments: prioritize comfort! In boyshorts or panties, the most important quality is the freedom of movement. A sports bra is a good investment: choose one without underwire. It provides good support without compressing the chest.
Comfort is the keyword for any yoga outfit in whatever the chosen form of yoga: prenatal yoga, dynamic yoga, hot yoga, pilates yoga, yoga and meditation...
Pay attention to the following details:
- Choose a breathable fabric that will allow perspiration wicking
- Check the opacity of the garment to avoid thinking "Uh oh, are these see-through?" in the middle of class
- Choose a soft fabric to help you relax more easily
- Test your outfit in the store by performing some postures before buying. You must be able to move with ease, without embarrassment or needing constant adjustments.
I've seen, from the yoga classes near me, that yoga outfits can be colourful and tailored to each person's style!
Men's Yoga: What Should You Wear?
More and more men are starting yoga. Wanting to gently build up muscles, as a stress-relief, for meditation, and it doesn't hurt there are women everywhere, yoga is attracting more and more males to class.
But is the men's yoga fitness market developed? What men's yoga clothes should you wear to class?
It is necessary to choose clothes designed for the practice of different asanas. Men, of course, don't have bras to worry about, so they'll need to focus on the choice of their top and bottoms:
- T-shirt with sleeves or sleeveless? I recommend the sleeveless t-shirt to avoid sweat marks, with a close-fit to the body to avoid adjusting it during class
- Shorts or pants? You choose if you want to show your legs or not!
- Boxers or Briefs? The choice is yours but make sure they have a close-fit, you'll need support during class!
The only rule is to avoid loose clothing for two reasons:
- A loose t-shirt will constantly slip up and fall into your face in certain positions like downward-dog for example
- Loose shorts or wide-leg pants prevent the yoga instructor from checking your movements and this may also hinder your movements
Choose clothes suitable for yoga practice. Once again, prioritize the comfort and breathability of the garment. Pay attention to choosing the right size: neither too big nor too small so you're the most comfortable with your movements.
Even if the yoga choices for men are sometimes smaller at sports stores than that available for women, you will certainly be able to find a suitable outfit in the general sports section.
Before ordering on the internet, I advise you to try out an outfit or two first, to be sure that it is at the right size and that you can do the breathing exercises and some general yoga poses easily, without having to readjust a part of your outfit.
For both women and men, I advise you to have three yoga outfits: one in your gym bag to wear to your next class, one in your wardrobe and one that will definitely be in the dirty laundry basket.
What Are the Different Yoga Accessories I Will Need?
Beyond yoga clothes, the foundation of any good yogi involves, of course, the yoga mat! All are not created equal and while I leave to you the choice of colour and size, there are certain criteria not to be underestimated:
- Thickness: you must be isolated from the ground properly to protect your joints when your knees, ankles, wrists or elbows are in contact with it
- Lightness: especially if you want to carry it to all your group lessons or perhaps your next yoga intensive weekend
- The material: choose a non-slip material to avoid slipping during posture changes
Choosing your mat has never been so simple while at the same time complicated as there is now an infinite choice of fitness floor mats available on the market. YogaBliss offers a wide selection of yoga mats for all tastes and budgets. With or without a carrying bag, in various colours and patterns, you will find the right fit for your feet.
In yoga, you will quickly need other yoga accessories sometimes provided by the teacher/yoga studio and sometimes not:
- Straps (or resistance bands): to ensure better support and improve balance. The straps also allow you to go further in the stretches, but you don't necessarily think about this when you are in a yoga beginner
- Yoga Blocks (or yoga bolsters): they can serve as a meditation cushion but also a stabilizer during certain postures. You will find them made with cork, wood, or foam, the main thing is to be comfortable and use them efficiently
- A hand towel and yoga mat towel: because contrary to popular belief, traditional yoga is a sport, and like all sports, it makes you sweat! In terms of comfort and hygiene, remember to pack yoga towels with you to wipe yourself from time to time as well as your floor mat.
Other yoga gear and supplies are chosen by some people such as large yoga balls to balance and strengthen the abdominals. There are also yoga blankets, foam blocks, foam rollers, yoga bags, wedges, yoga dvds, pilates equipment, yoga gloves, a yoga mat cleaner, yoga hammocks and more! However, they are not necessary when you are starting out as a beginner. If you only buy one accessory, the main one will be your yoga mat!
The yoga classes near me all have studios full of such equipment, so maybe you will only have to buy a yoga mat...
Find classes near you, google yoga London, yoga Manchester, ...
How Much Does Yoga Equipment Cost?
Before you start yoga, think carefully about what you want to do: what is your level, what are your goals and what are your expectations. If you start yoga and a week later, you realize that it is not for you, there is no point in investing money in the latest equipment of the market.
Ask yourself what budget you want to put into your yoga mat, your clothes and other yoga accessories.
Your yoga budget will also depend on the quality and durability of the equipment you choose. Do you really need a yoga mat over £100? Of course, between the price range of £5 and £100, the quality, the material and the lightness vary enormously but it is possible to find a more affordable compromise in the middle that will still be of excellent quality.
Your mat is the only truly important accessory: you cannot do a yoga class without it.
Similarly, for a yoga block: if you use it occasionally, a £2 brick should be enough. You can even use a firm cushion that you have at home, or a small ottoman type stool.
A yoga strap can cost from £5 to £25 but a higher price does not always mean it will guarantee you a better resistance.
Keep an eye out for promotional offers that may occur from time to time at online yoga equipment sites.
Ultimately, yoga, beyond being a sport, is above all a way of life. The practice of yoga is a good opportunity to reflect on your personal consumption and limit it where you can, to respect the new values involved in yoga philosophy.
"Yoga Equipment" Definitions
When one embarks on a yogi path, one must also acquire a new vocabulary related to the practice of this sport.
What is pranayama?
It's the control of your breathing. To fully benefit from the positive aspects of yoga, you have to synchronize your breathing along with your movements and poses.
What is an asana?
This is the Sanskrit word for a yoga posture. It's a combination of stability, control and letting go.