I started out doing yoga because I knew I needed to exercise. My energy levels were super low, no matter how much coffee I drank and by midday I was ready to crawl back into bed. The last straw was that my lower back and legs started to hurt more and more each time I leaned down to tie my shoes. Despite the fact that my body was functioning like I was 176 years old, I still wanted to find the lowest impact exercise I could, because lazy. That’s how I settled on yoga. I figured, I stretch and breathe every day already so yoga is totally in my wheelhouse. I was too embarrassed to actually go to a yoga class though. I chose an at-home yoga app, and in the privacy of my own living room, I began my yoga practice.
My very first full yoga routine was on New Year’s Day of last year and I’ve done a yoga routine every single day since then. I can’t begin to describe to you the difference it has made in my life. I have more energy than I’ve had in years and yoga is totally bringing my sexy back. Anyway, this last year has taught me some of the finer details of yoga—the things I wish I had known when I started that could’ve saved me from some aches and pains and other minor inconveniences. If you are just toying with the idea of starting on a healthier path, and you think yoga might be for you, here are some beginner essentials that you should totally invest in. Where applicable, I’ve also posted a link to a short video to show you how to use the particular item.
It pays off to invest in a good yoga mat. What makes a good yoga mat, you ask. One that doesn’t roll up or slip around when you’re moving from one pose into another. One that doesn’t get noticeably sticky when you start to sweat. Most of all, one that doesn’t wear out quickly and start to shed little pieces of mat all over the place. I really love Gaiam yoga mats (currently discounted here) and Manduka Prolite Mats (find them here).
If you naturally run a little bit hot when you exercise,or if you plan on doing hot yoga, yoga mat towels are a must. These towels are specifically designed to wick up sweat. You can use them in place of a yoga mat or lay them right on top of your yoga mat (especially useful if you’re using the ‘bowling shoe’ yoga mats that the gym lends you).
Yoga bolsters make it easier to get into and maintain poses that are a difficult for you. These are key when you’re trying to relax in a pose that you find a little bit strenuous. Here are some yoga poses that really benefit from the use of bolsters.
I didn’t know how great yoga straps were when I first started doing yoga, but these things are amazing. Yoga straps are so helpful when it comes to improving flexibility. Even if you’re not new to yoga, yoga straps can really help you sink deeper into a pose. Here’s how to use them.
Yoga blocks are also useful for improving flexibility, but they also assist in maintaining the proper alignment in a pose. Check out this intro to yoga blocks.
***Even if you don’t pick up all of these items, you can still get moving and start your daily yoga practice. Remember: this time next year, you’ll wish you’d started today. You can do this!!!