One of the appeals of yoga advertisement is that people who practice don’t seem to need much paraphernalia. There are videos of people doing yoga, whether indoors or outdoors with just a mat, or sometimes with no equipment at all, and it might make the viewer think that yoga is completely gear-free. That view is correct, to an extent. Yoga can indeed be done even without props at all, but practitioners might not get the whole experience. So why do something if you’re just going to do it halfway?The yoga industry is a lucrative business, earning as much as twenty billion dollars annually. For sure, that isn’t just based from class fees alone. Yogis are willing to spend money on equipments that make the practice easier and the activity a more well-rounded one. After all, half an hour lying on the hard floor (as compared to a mat) will take your focus off your breathing and make you notice how cold it is instead.
Unlike most competitive sports, it is usually practiced barefoot and does not need special shoes. The clothes worn should be form-fitting, or at the very least, not loose, since you don’t want your shirt and shorts sliding up and giving your classmate a view when you’re holding upside down poses. You also don’t need specific fabric in clothes worn; just make sure that they’re comfortable. It helps to dress in layers, so you can shed clothes when it becomes too hot, and it’s also easier to see more of your skin so you can see if your limbs are aligned during poses.
A more common material used, the mat helps create traction between you and the floor, helping you balance while simultaneously giving you support during your poses. A lot of mats are available, some with more emphasis on the thickness, others on the texture and some even on the material it is made. Find out what suits you best among the varied options online.A mat is a good thing to invest on if you plan to practice regularly. Some buy extra towels to put on top of it to help maintain the stickiness and prevent spread of bacteria from sweat. To clean your yoga mat, you may spray it daily with a solution of vinegar and water (or with added oil for the pleasing scent). To be thorough, you may opt to put in the washer for easy cleaning. Be careful not to do that too often though as it may hasten the wearing of the mat. You may manually wash it, in the bath, or outdoors with mild detergent solution and a hose, or a cleaning solution that can be bought online. Just remember to let it dry completely.
TOWELS AND BLANKETS
Though they are both put on top of the mat, they serve varied purposes. The towel is to absorb or wipe your sweat during the session. This could come in especially handy if you just borrow mats from the gym. Blankets are helpful for support in some poses, and may even cover you while lying down in your pose to keep a steady temperature in a cold room. Both fabrics can be put in the washer to clean, and it’s best to do so after every use. They may be considered optional, as you may use any that you already own.
BOLSTER AND FOAM BLOCK
These are helpful for beginners who need a boost in doing certain poses. They provide support for the body – the bolster by keeping you comfortable in your position, and the foam block by assisting with flexibility and alignment with additional height. It is not recommended to put the bolster in the machine, and will be best cleaned with cold water and detergent. The foam block will be fine to wash but if there are only a few spots, a washcloth and detergent will do.
STRAPS AND BELTS
Mostly made of cotton, these will be used to help you stretch and hold poses. They help when your hands do not reach each other or you need to hold your feet but your arms aren’t long enough. They provide length and support to help you deepen poses.
ESSENTIAL AND OPTIONAL
So which is necessary to buy, which may be availed at one’s option, and how do we differentiate? It’s easy to splurge money on new activities, with our mind set on broadening our horizons and imagining that we can commit to such for years to come. Realistically though, it’s better if we give it a try first to see if we actually like it. Once we buy it, we should also remember how to take care of it, to ensure its longevity. With this thought in mind, then we can start looking at the materials available with an objective point of view.