I get it. You're falling in love with yoga and you want to make sure you have everything you're going to need, and maybe a few shiny things to spare.
Truth is, though, there's not much gear to get set up.
One of the many beauties of yoga.
Most folks practice with a mat and though even this is optional, you'll probably want one. If you come to OMA to practice with me, you may use a borrowed mat and block, but having your own for ongoing practice is advisable and usually quite affordable. They are portable ways to create a special space and get your attention focused on yoga.
Learning to practice sans mat is equally useful as having the option to use one. You'll discover a whole new level of core engagement and realize how much the mat really does. As you become more connected and stronger you'll discover exactly how to provide the same stability for yourself. Sometimes you'll find yourself without a mat, though, when you really want to break into a Down Dog or Cobra. Maybe you forgot to stash your mat in the trunk, which you realize on the way to class or it's in a suitcase that gets behind. You just don't always have a mat when you need to have some yoga.
Blocks are also optional, but make for a much more aligned seated posture for the grand majority of people. Blankets do just as well as blocks if you prefer them. The idea is to elevate your sitting bones - the bony projections on the bottom of your pelvis - so they are able to point straight down instead of forward due to tight hamstrings, inner thighs or even just bony anatomy. You always want your knees lower than your hips in seated postures.
Cushions, bolsters, eye pillows and blankets are helpful for optimal sitting position, feeling muscular engagement in poses, assisting with balance and setting up restorative and meditative postures. Straps are useful for connecting hands behind the back, for connecting hands to feet in balance postures while maintaining healthy alignment and also some restorative postures.
You may not always have Mom around to be your bolster in restorative backbends:
So here are some options to get you started. I'm not affiliated with any of these companies, but they are companies I source my own gear through.
REI has great mats you can get your hands on, if there's one in your area. They carry my personal fave (though it's the spendiest, too): Manduka Pro and Prolite. This is the mat I've practiced on for 11 years. There've been others along the way, but I always come back for comfort, no-nonsense surface, a little cushion and unparalleled durability. (The lifetime guarantee is no joke.) It's adjustable shoulder strapped carrying case with a little zip pocket is a welcome bonus, especially when hiking.
The best deals that I've found are on YogaDirect where I buy supplies for teaching and you can buy just one of anything.
Start with little things and remember its about how you feel and what you can feel, how you live in your body. What are your favorite sources and props? How do you use them? Leave a comment below and be entered into a drawing for a Half Hour Private Yoga Lesson at the end of August!