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What to Bring to a Yoga Class

I field this question A LOT as a yoga teacher. I have always been an active person, so I sometimes forget that people just transitioning into this lifestyle have no clue what to expect. My first reaction usually is, “oh, that wasn’t obvious?” No, it’s not actually. This is a whole new world to some people. It can be really intimidating to even ask that question in the first place, so congratulations for taking that step and speaking up.

If you were to ask me what you should bring to your yoga class, I’d tell you that it's up to you. The answer to this question is neither simple nor complex. It just is - much like the rest of the yoga practice. You can bring everything, you can bring nothing. The beauty is, that’s up to YOU.

Here are some good options though, just in case you get lost.

Yoga Mat
First things first, you’ll need a yoga mat. A lot of yogis choose to bring and practice on their own mat. There is something to be said about the bond you form with your very own mat. I know that when I get to the studio and realize that I've forgotten my mat at home, I get a little sad. But the great thing is that most yoga studios have mats available for you. At Joy Yoga Center, we have our free mats that you can borrow for a class, and we also have premium mats you can rent. Just remember to clean them when your class is over. That goes for all mats, by the way. Keep your mat clean, and it will definitely last longer.

Water Bottle
More than half of the human body is made up of water, so it’s incredibly important to stay hydrated. While you may not actually end up drinking any water during your practice, make sure to drink lots of water before and after. If you’re in a higher intensity class, you may find your body craving a cooling swig. Or you may find yourself in Savasana having a coughing fit all of a sudden and need a quick drink of water to soothe your throat. In those moments having your own water bottle readily available comes in handy. You can bring your own bottle and fill it up in the studio, or you can buy a water when you come in.

Depending on what kind of class you’re taking, you may find that a towel really benefits your practice. Obviously, higher energy classes are going to make you sweat, especially if you’ve been good about hydrating. There are two main types of towels in yoga; hand towels and mat towels. A hand towel is smaller and is used for wiping sweat off your face and hands. A mat towel is the same length and width of your yoga mat, and is laid atop of your mat while you practice. Yogis sometimes do this to keep from slipping around on the mat once the palms and feet start getting sweaty. You'll probably need one in an Insanity or Power yoga class, but you’re definitely not going to need a towel in a Restorative Yoga class.

Yoga Bag
Honestly, it’s just great to have a bag to keep all your yoga stuff in. The less complicated, the easier it is to approach every day (or however often you choose to practice). There are some bags out there that can fit your yoga mat along with all your other stuff too. You can carry a change of clothes in your bag, a journal, or your keys and wallet. It just makes everything so much easier to have it all in one place - that way you won't be fumbling up and down the stairs trying to juggle all of your things in just two hands.

DON’T Bring
While the 'what to bring' part is up to you, there are definitely a few things you should avoid bringing to class. Try not to walk into the studio with your shoes on. This is a symbol of honoring the space, not just some hokey rule. You can have shoes on in the lobby or bathroom if you want, and there is even space in the dressing room/hallways to keep your shoes (and your yoga bag for that matter). If you’ve just got to have something on your feet, socks are fine. Also, avoid bringing your cell phone into class unless there is some sort of emergency. You come to the mat to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with yourself. Just having your phone there is distracting, even if no one is trying to reach you.

Here at Joy Yoga Center we can provide you with pretty much anything you might need for your yoga practice. Each classroom is well-stocked with blocks, straps, bolsters, and blankets. There’s even mat cleaners available for you to use when you are done with class. Now is a great time to get started in your practice since we’ve recently turned our sights back to the basics. Come for one of our Fundamentals of Yoga Classes, Weekend Workshops, or check out the Fundamentals of Yoga Series.

If you see me, come say hi!

By Caty Christy

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