Q: Your recent post on yoga interested me because I, too, have been under a lot of stress lately and think I’d like to try yoga for its calming benefits. Unfortunately, one of my stresses has to do with my finances and it seems as though yoga is fairly expensive, not only for the classes, but the equipment too. What would you say are “must haves” in terms of gear for someone just starting out in yoga? ~ Giselle – Parker, CO
A: Actually, Giselle, you’re in luck, because “essential” yoga gear is relatively minimal. And it makes sense – since yoga, after all, has been around for thousands of years, long before Lululemon was around. Yoga is an exercise for mind, body and spirit, so that’s really all you need. But if you can swing it financially, there are just a few items that will make learning yoga a little easier:
- Yoga Mat – one that’s around ¼ inch thick so that you have some cushioning on hard surfaces. Your mat will serve to define your space for poses as well as provide traction so that you don’t slip. Some studios provide mats, but for $20-$30 you can buy your own and not have to share perspiration with the yogi who was in class before you.
- Yoga Blocks – a helpful prop that will assist with correct alignment and for poses for which you can’t, as a beginner, reach the floor with your hands.
- Yoga Straps – which are especially helpful for beginners who aren’t yet terribly flexible. The straps assist with an assortment of poses for which your arms and legs aren’t long or limber enough.
- Comfortable, Breathable Clothing – nothing fancy, but the kind that allows for a full range of motion, without revealing “too much.” You’ll want to avoid super “slick” pants that are made of Lycra or similar fabrics, as these might cause you to slip.
The last thing in the world you’ll want to do is cause yourself more stress over expensive yoga gear. Most discount stores like Target and Walmart will have reasonably priced equipment and clothing that will fit your needs. Namaste, Giselle, and good luck!