Designer bags, specialized blocks, bolsters, blankets and meditation benches. If you have an interest in yoga, you’ll find people trying to sell you these things all the time. Here we look at how yoga equipment works, and what you actually need to perform well.
Do You Really Need All that Stuff?
Basic yoga wasn’t designed to require a lot of bells and whistles. The purpose of yoga is manifold and open to interpretation. To some, it is a form of meditation, to others its a peaceful way to gain inner and outer strength. To some, it is only an exercise program. No matter what you might think yoga’s purpose is, it can be agreed that it does not include burdening yourself with material possessions. Expert yoga practitioners often need nothing more than a quiet space to perform their routines. That being said, we are not all expert yoga practitioners. For those who use yoga as a way to positively affect their bodies and brains, some equipment can be helpful. The trick is to get only what you need to improve your session, and not be caught up in over-consumption.
Mats are the most used piece of equipment for people practicing yoga, beginner and advanced alike. They also might be the only piece of equipment that is unarguably necessary to successful beginner and intermediate yoga. With yoga mats, it is a good idea not to seek a cheaper substitution, such as a towel or a bed. The purpose of the mats are to allow you stability. They are designed to provide grip for your hands and feet, and the floor, to keep you from slipping. They also provide a perfect balance of firmness and cushion. These factors are very important when trying to accomplish the complicated poses of yoga.
Proper clothing is another important part of yoga. Some people practice yoga in the nude, which is a perfectly acceptable route to take. Clothing is worn because most people prefer to wear them, not because it improves yoga in any way. If you wear clothes while doing yoga, it is extremely necessary to strike the right balance in your attire. Clothing must be lose and stretchy–not baggy. Close fitting but flexible clothing allows you freedom of movement and allows your instructor to better observe and educate you. Many companies sell specific yoga clothing, often made from natural fibers. However, it isn’t necessary to spend big money on yoga clothes. Simple stretch pants and a well-sized t-shirt will work just as well.
Help for Beginners
While a yoga mat and proper apparel might be the only truly necessary things needed for yoga, there is other equipment available. Most of it is designed to help you, especially if you’re a beginner, with your poses. Some of the more basic helpers include a yoga strap, and a yoga cushion, or wedge. The strap is usually a long, flat cloth tape. It can be used to help pull your body into proper positions, and also helps accomplish deeper stretches. The yoga cushion is designed to help you with posture in sitting positions. It elevates your hips, a necessity for the lotus position, and helps keep your spine straight. Both of these things can be improvised, especially the cushion.
Yoga was designed to be simple. If you think extra equipment might help you in your yoga, go ahead and try it. Just be careful not to distract yourself from the mindfulness of the exercise with too many possessions.