The great thing about yoga is that it is such a portable practice. Once you have a few of the poses down it’s easy to practice anywhere you have space to roll out your mat.
There are many accessories and props you can purchase to assist your yoga practice (which I would recommend investing in over time) but when starting out the most important yoga item to have is a mat and, for that, you have many options.
The key thing to bear in mind is that yoga mats need to be ‘sticky’ in the sense that they grip well when you are working on them. Some mats have a texture to them which really helps with grip. Initially, you may find the mat surface to have a light, slippery sheen but this breaks down with use. You can always help break up the surface a little by rubbing with a cotton cloth.
Around 3-4mm is a great thickness for a yoga mat as it offers some cushioning to the body but isn’t so thick that it is like stepping on to a camping mattress.
1 Borrow one. Most studios do have yoga mats available to borrow so if you are not too particular about using a mat other students have used then this is a good option to start.
2 Borrow one (again!). From a family member or friend. Another good way to check out a yoga class without committing to buying something you may use three times before it’s on the yard sale pile. Which leads me to number 3
3 If you’re a yard sale, rummage sale or thrift store fiend, keep an eye out. I’ve seen mats at yard sales with the cellophane wrap still intact – an unwanted gift for the seller but a gem find for you!
4 Look for a bargain. Stores like TJ Maxx and Ross are both bursting with deals and it’s well worth a look here for a bargain priced mat. Sometimes branded with a name you may recognise, sometimes not. I’ve seen mats in both stores for twenty bucks and lower.
5 Target. It doesn’t really matter what you’re looking for – Target will always provide! They have a yoga section with a great selection of yoga gear. Mats are in the $20 – $30 dollar range.
6 Sports shops. Sports shops do stock yoga mats just be careful not to pick up the typical ‘gym’ type mat which is often much thicker, spongier and more slippery than a yoga mat.
7 Specialised Yoga & Fitness clothing stores. There are a few of these around now. Some of them carry great quality yoga mats but you might want to be doing some deep yogic breathing when you read the prices!
8 The studio. Many studios have a retail area where you can buy, among other things, yoga mats. These are generally well established yoga brands which are great in quality but do come at a price.