Updated: May 21, 2021
By Mollie Gillanders, Yes To Being Fit instructor
Firstly, congratulations on taking the first step towards trying yoga. We promise that you will not regret it. Secondly if you have nothing for your first class that is honestly fine, just go in with comfy, stretchy layers, you’ll find that you build up a bit of heat at the peak of class and will cool down again for shavasana, so layers are best. The clothes do not need to be tight fitting or even sports wear, just comfy and stretchy.
If you’re practising in a studio then chances are they will have mats and equipment for you to borrow for as long as you wish. If you’re practising at home then you do not actually need a mat but may wish to have a blanket to pop under your knees, back or wrists for any floor work. Please do not worry about buying one if it’s to much money as yoga mats only actually came around in the 1950’s, a long time after yoga and so therefor people have actually be practising for hundreds of years without them. I would just recommend a folded blanket or pillow for under your knees or butt for floor work.
If you wish to then you can buy a yoga mat, and honestly cheap and cheerful is brilliant until you know you want to do more yoga. My first mat was fantastic!! Lasted about 7 years and I bought it for next to nothing, once I’d completed my YTT I forked out on a well-known yoga brand mat but honestly it just wasn’t the same as my original. So don’t be fooled into spending more. If you suffer from joint pain you may wish to buy a thicker mat, if hot yoga is your thing, then you want to check to see if its slip proof.
I’ve known of yoga instructors who practised on tiny boats and I myself have practised on rocks, grass and in single room spaces. If your able to lie down flat and have a clear wall or bed beside you for balancing, then you’re laughing. A wall is a lovely luxury that you can use for some balancing poses. But please don’t get worked up about having the perfect yoga space. Most yoga teachers are used to teaching in cramped conditions and will always adjust poses accordingly. Also, yoga focuses on letting go of the things you can’t control, your environment may be one of those. In which case you work with what you have and focus on your mind and body. At the end of the day, it is better to practise half the poses in tight conditions then to have not practised at all because the environment wasn’t spacious enough.
For various stretches you may wish to have a strap, just to use as an extra hand. You can buy yoga straps or equally dressing gown belts, thin scarves, resistance bands or ties will also do the trick. If possible have one of these handy as you may want to use it for some forward folds etc. But do not worry about buying a strap unless you know yoga is your thing, I used a dressing gown belt for years and it worked wonderfully.
If you have a blanket at hand then you can use it for extra padding for your back, knees, wrists and head at any point during practise. You can also use them to have a good snuggle in the final relaxation. Handy tip, if you have a weighted blanket already, we highly recommend it for the final relaxation as apparently it feels amazing.
Blocks or Books
For some poses you may find using yoga blocks easier as they create a bit of extra height for you from the ground, however a sturdy book can replace a block until you know you wish to take the practise further. Equally when it does come to buying blocks there are plenty of affordable ones as well as the more expensive brands. I haven’t noticed a difference in quality between them so honestly go for what works for you. Also, you do not need to use anything, and for in person classes, most studios will provide them.
This last ones easy, but super simple. Make sure you have water to had before during and after your practice. It's important to stay hydrated when exercising, and the water will help to hydrate your body and flush toxins after your class.
Overall as you can see, the equipment that you could think of buying to help your practise you can also replace with household equipment or not worry about at all. Yoga is for everyone, you do not need to spend a lot or even any money, you just have to show up with an open mind, let go of the ego and prepare to have a laugh.