The popularity of yoga has given rise to an industry that specializes in yoga equipment, accessories and clothes. The internet is a true marketplace of things yoga and product lines are as varied and diverse as the many teachings and postures of yoga.
If you’ve ventured into your neighborhood sporting goods store, or even a department store, you’ve likely seen an array of yoga equipment that features very happy and peaceful looking people sitting on a yoga mat, or using a yoga towel. Indeed, for someone interested in yoga, this is like a kid in a candy store. There has never been a time in the marketplace where yoga equipment was so easy to find, and so affordable!
With that being said, it can be rather confusing as to which equipment does what. They all seem to have such happy looking people on the packaging; how do you know what’s worth investing your money on?
Well, ultimately, the answer to that important question will be determined by the kind of yoga that you want to experience, and also, your own preferences.
Some people, for example, don’t want to sit on a mat; they prefer the firmness of the floor. Other people find that sitting on the floor is painful and can lead to back and tailbone ache; and as such, a yoga mat is essential.
So, rather than prescribing here what you should buy and what you shouldn’t, let’s instead focus on the various neat things that you can easily buy, and you can use this information to help you make a wise decision.
Those who do a lot of yoga flexibility routines often opt for yoga straps. These straps help them stretch their limbs, and to hold poses longer.
Let’s start with the famous yoga mat. Now, as a general rule (to which there will always, of course, be exceptions): be careful with the supermarket version.
A good yoga mat has a good grip on the floor, which is important if you have to perform complicated maneuvers and postures. They typically measure about 2 feet in width, and are available in a slew of rainbow colors.
There are yoga mats to fit all levels from beginner to advanced, and you have a choice of thickness. Many yoga stores will provide mats with efficient cushioning. Yoga mats are also available for children.
Don’t forget your yoga towel. There are also skidless towels and some manufacturers make super absorbent ones – also, in what some retailers call, “chakra colors.”
These devices look like blocks, and have a mattress-feel to them. They’re great for body movement extensions.
Yoga bags look rectangular – almost tubular – they are designed to hold your yoga mat and towel and other accessories.
Most products have a shoulder strap and are made of different materials, nylon being a common one. There are low end yoga bags retailing for $12.00 and they go up to $50.00, depending on make and size.
Yoga Sandbags and Bolsters
There are also yoga sandbags and bolsters that help your body balance and provide support as you perform your poses, stretches and positions. They are also available in many colors.
Balls are good for building strength, achieve balance and tone muscles. These fun yoga balls sell for about $25.00, and many dancers and physical therapists use yoga balls for a variety of movements, including: backbends, restorative poses and hip openers. Many balls can hold up to 600 pounds of weight.
And…remember: don’t forget your air pump!
If you’re pressed for time, feel a bit shy about attending a public yoga class, or just want to have an idea of how yoga is practiced, yoga videos/DVDs are a great way to get initiated into yoga.
A great advantage of yoga videos is you can watch the clips over and over again until you’ve mastered the techniques correctly.
Consider trying yoga music to help you meditate better, breathe deeper, and hold those positions longer. One website, www.santosha.com, sells at least 4 dozen album titles for about $11.00-$18.00.
To name a few titles: Slow Music for Yoga, Tibetan Sacred Temple Music, Shiva Station, Nectar, Fragrance of the East, etc.
There is also yoga music for trance dance and yoga flow, chants and mantras and audio books.
Though not mandatory for class, many yoga participants want an all-yoga attire to complement their yoga practice. Most beginners however come in a loose-fitting cotton t-shirt and comfortable leggings.