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As a yoga teacher, I’m often asked by new students what they should bring to their first class.
Truth is, all you need to bring is you. That’s all it takes to begin and sustain your yoga practice, because yoga is a deeply personal journey into one’s inner self.
That said, we yogis like to be pragmatic. There are a few items that can be handy to keep in arm’s reach of your mat. Which leads me to item #1.
Most studios will have these on offer for rent or borrow, but if your practice is pretty regular you might want your own. Personally, I prefer mats made of non-PVC materials like jute that have solid grip, especially when I find myself with sweaty palms in downward dog.
Speaking of sweat, a small towel can be a godsend—especially during hot yoga. It’s nice to have something to wipe away the perspiration when your palms start slipping or your brow starts dripping. Not so essential for gentle or yin classes.
We tend to heat up as the blood gets pumping, but it can get chilly when it’s time to slow down. Savasana, or what I like to call the “most important pose”, is an opportunity for the body and mind to absorb the benefits of practice. Keeping the body warm allows the nervous system to relax completely, so it helps to throw a shawl over the feet or shoulders. Shawls are also great for meditation practice; wrap it around the lower back to keep the kidneys cozy.
Hydration is essential, but I’m going to suggest it with a caveat—wait until after your practice to drink. This allows the body to focus its energy on the internal processes that take place during practice without having the added task of digesting water at the same time. Bonus points if you drink it warm or at room temperature, because the digestion runs much more smoothly if you aren’t dousing it with ice water.
Other than that, all that’s required at a yoga class is your beautiful self. Happy om-ing!
(Photo Credit: Cpl. Michael Iams (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AUSMC-120711-M-QN491-016.jpg) , via Wikimedia Commons)
Author: I’m Crystal; like my name, I have many facets. I am a writer, poet, philosopher, yogini, world traveler, and just about everything in between.
I draw my practice and teaching from the ancient wisdom of the Hatha yoga tradition, striving to make yoga accessible and relevant for the modern practitioner. I believe that yoga is much more than a fitness practice, but a means of experiencing your self and life more fully.
I’m always juggling opposite extremes, straddling a chasm, and otherwise keeping my eggs in two baskets. This includes worldly life and spirituality, motherhood and selfhood, work and play, discipline and indulgence. I believe that at the meeting of opposites, we find ourselves.