New to Yoga? 4 Essential Items to Bring to Class

This entry was posted on May 12, 2022 by Charlotte Bell.

Are you thinking about trying a yoga class? Or have you just started attending a class? In either case, the yoga props you use to assist your practice can make or break it for you.

It’s true that many studios and health clubs provide yoga mats and props. But sometimes they don’t, or the community props may not be in fantastic shape. In this case, bringing your own can really make or break your practice. In addition, having your own props can inspire you to practice at home—the heart of asana practice.

Choosing a class that fits you can be overwhelming. If you’re feeling confused about how to start, read this post that shares tips about how to choose a yoga class.

The Right Stuff

Choosing the right tools for practice can also be overwhelming. There are so many choices. Here are a few suggestions I find essential to bring to a class. While there are other props such as yoga blocks, straps and bolsters, that are important for practice, many studios provide these. The items I list here are those that you have closest physical contact with. Having your own clean, comfy essentials makes practice more enjoyable.

4 Essential Yoga Props for the Studio

  1. Yoga Mat: Studio floors are composed of lots of different materials—hardwood, concrete, carpet and bamboo, to name a few. These floors vary in hardness, temperature and slickness. A yoga mat gives you a predictable, nonskid surface, no matter where you practice. Even if a studio provides mats, it’s really nice to have your own. Sometimes studio mats are worn or not so clean. Since the plethora of mat choices can be confusing, read this post about how to choose a yoga mat that fits your practice.
  2. Yoga Mat Carrier: If you plan to carry your own mat to and from the studio, a mat carrier is essential. Depending on what you choose and how many props you plan to bring, a carrier helps keep all your stuff together and provides a convenient way to transport it. Carriers vary from simple harnesses to duffels that will hold all your props. There are also medium-sized carriers that allow you to bring just your essentials.
  3. Eye Pillow: Savasana (Relaxation Pose) is arguably the most essential pose in asana practice. It’s really important to be comfortable when you lie down for your final relaxation. Depending on where you practice, the lighting may or may not be conducive to relaxation. The gentle pressure of an eye pillow will block out light and help your eyes—and therefore the rest of you—relax more deeply. As with everything else, there are choices for which eye pillow will best suit you. This post shares tips for choosing an eyebag.
  4. Yoga Blanket: When you practice Vinyasa (poses linked together in a “flow”), the surface of your yoga mat provides everything you need. But when you practice seated and supine poses, or if you practice more meditative form of Hatha Yoga, placing a blanket over your mat provides a soft, comfortable surface. Some people aren’t comfortable lying flat in Savasana. A rolled-up blanket under your knees can relax your low back. Also, a folded blanket under your head and neck feels nice. And of course, you can always place a blanket over your body as you lie in Savasana.

Beyond the Studio

Once you feel confident to start a home yoga practice, you may want to augment your yoga props with blocks, straps and bolsters, but that’s for a future post. Stay tuned!

About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

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