Since the Coronavirus pandemic hit our shores life as we know it has changed. Even when we come out of lockdown, the way we practice yoga will undoubtedly be different to how it was before. And having your own yoga kit is going to be essential. Many yoga studios had already stipulated that post-lockdown all students will be required to bring their own kit to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
At the moment, as many students practice yoga at home, they’ll also need to invest in some yoga kit to make the most of their online classes. As a yoga teacher myself, I know that the recent crisis has prompted many of my students to make the step to invest in their own yoga equipment so that they can join in fully with my online classes.
A senior yoga teacher once said to me, “If you were going to play tennis, you wouldn’t turn up without a racket, yoga should be the same.”
As yoga teachers it’s up to us to encourage our students to invest in proper kit so that their experience of doing yoga at home is as good as it can be, and also so that they have the tools to start a home yoga practice.
What is a yoga kit?
As an Iyengar yoga teacher, I have yoga props galore. However, if you’re on a budget, then a basic yoga kit list is:
- A mat
- Four blocks
- Two bricks
- One belt
These are the basic building blocks of a yoga practice. The mat gives you a surface that grips to your feet, preventing you from slipping in the poses. It also gives you a space in which to orientate the body.
The four blocks can be used to support the body for seated poses, can be used under the sacrum in supported Setubandha and under the shoulders in Sarvangasana.
The two bricks are like extensions of the arms in standing forward bends such as Uttanasana and Parsvottanasana, and can be used in all sorts of imaginative ways, like between the upper thighs to encourage the thighs to work.
The belt is again to allow those who are slightly stiffer to reach the feet in seated forward bends, to allow the hands to grip in Gomukhasana and can be used around the elbows in Pincha Mayurasana.
What products should I recommend?
There are so many fantastic yoga products out there. Yogamatters offers a wide range of well-designed, brightly coloured yoga props. They also do discounts for yoga teachers.
If you’d prefer to go for a more environmentally friendly yoga kit, then Manduka does a very high-quality range, including cork bricks and blocks, as well as recycled plastic blocks. Their Eko yoga mats are eco-friendly and biodegradable, harvested from non-Amazon rainforest rubber trees.
If these are too pricey, then encourage your students to look out for deals in their nearest cut-price supermarkets, such as Lidl and Aldi, and they occasionally sell yoga props in their ‘bargain’ aisle.
Once your students become committed yogis, you can encourage them to invest in more than the starter kit above. If restorative yoga is their thing then a bolster (or two) is essential. Bolsters’ rounded shape and supportive filling allow the body to open and relax while holding supine poses for long stretches of time.
A good-quality cotton blanket or two is also very useful for restorative yoga, as well as for use in general yoga classes as an extra level of height (with more give than the blocks), and for covering yourself for śavasana. Yogamatters do a large natural cotton blanket which is great for folding into various shapes for restorative poses – you need to wash it before use though as it’s very fluffy!
If you’re into hot yoga, then an absorbent yoga towel is a good investment to stop you slipping and sliding all over your mat. Manduka sells the yogitoes yoga towel, which is ultra-absorbent, lightweight, and quick-drying.
A yoga chair is also a worthwhile investment once your students become serious about their home practice. There are whole sequences you can do around the yoga chair, and it can be a way of accessing the more advanced poses, such as Kapotasana and Eka Pada Koundinyasana.
Part of a good yoga kit is also having the right clothes. If you’re not comfortable and supported, it can be distracting from the yoga.
Sweaty Betty has a brilliantly well-made range of yoga leggings, which survive endless washing and last for years. They’re not natural fabrics, but they’re breathable and designed to be super comfortable. I have five pairs…and don’t regret a single one.
Their tops are also sweat-wicking and made from a lightweight fabric and are both flattering and well-fitting. They also do a great discount for yoga teachers, that applies even in the sales (hence the five pairs of leggings…).
If you’re into cotton yoga wear then yogamatters do organic cotton ‘pune’ pants which are the traditional Iyengar yoga choice of yoga bottoms.
Again, these are quite pricey options for your students, so feel free to recommend that they buy some basic cotton leggings online, just as long as they feel comfortable and can move easily. The most important thing is yoga after all!
PS – none of the above links are generating any money for us, they’re honest-to-goodness, real recommendations 😉