Each year, more and more people are interested in trying out yoga for the first time. However, the majority of these people have virtually no clue on how to get started. This leads to a lot of frustrations, or worse, even injuries. But with the proper yoga gear, and guidance, everyone can enjoy the full benefit of the wonderful world of yoga. The first tip is to make sure that you are ready before you even take your first step into a yoga studio. Every new student will have a tough time at first, but this problem will not be as evident with proper preparation. In this article we are going to talk about how to prepare for your first yoga class. We will also help you pick out the right yoga gear for you.
It is never easy to start something so complex as yoga. It will take you to your mental and physical limits. But if you packed the right yoga gear and the right mindset, then you will be able to have fun and gain.
Prepare Your Body And Your Yoga Gear
Yoga, as much as anything that requires intense physical work, needs you to ready your body. Of course, how much preparation you need to do will depend on the kind of exercise that you intend to do. The most basic rules before doing yoga is to not eat at least an hour or so before each class. Preferably, you should have not taken in food for the last three hours. It is, however, extremely important to be hydrated. Most people I know that started yoga underestimated the amount of energy that they are going to use. Could you imagine that some did not even bother to bring a towel. It will be an intense workout and you will indeed sweat a lot. And, speaking about sweating, make sure that you bring extra clothes with you.
The yoga mat is perhaps the most recognizable piece of exercise equipment associated with the actual exercise that it is used for. Before you start your first yoga class, you should already know that you need to bring your own yoga mat. Some people think that they can go ahead and start the class doing yoga on the floor. If the floor of the studio is made of those rubber mats, then it might not be an issue. But, most of the time you would have to crawl, bend and kneel on the cold hard floor. Yogis will normally not let you join the class without a yoga mat for your own safety and the safety of those around you as well.
Choosing Your Yoga Gear
When buying a yoga mat, you have to consider three things, its stretchiness, stickiness, and, most importantly, its thickness. These aspects will determine whether you gain as much as you can from each session, or if you are going to end the session with a broken bone. A yoga mat has to be able to stretch to a certain degree. At the very least, it should be able to stretch enough to support you when doing any of the yoga poses. If a yoga mat is able to stretch well, it means that you will be able to stretch along with it as well. And this gives you the maximum benefit of the exercise that you are doing. Other than that, a stretchy yoga mat, also means that it should be able to retract to its original shape once the stress is retracted. This means that it will not suffer from permanent damage when constantly used. You should not take the stretchiness for granted though, because even if it is made with top material, at some point it may still break. And when it does, it could cause you injury.
Stickiness is the next factor that you have to look out for. Not so long ago, there was only one mat available in the market. And its most telling characteristic was that it was extremely sticky. And this set a precedent for all newer versions of mats that came out. The reason why a mat needs to be sticky is so that you will be able to pivot yourself while you are doing poses. You can also balance better on it because it will not slip off the floor or slip you off. You should however be careful when choosing less quality brands as its stickiness may be reduced when it becomes wet. And if you have been to at least one yoga session, you would know that it would definitely get wet.
And finally, the thickness of the mat is the characteristic that will ultimately be decided by your preference. A thick mat has its pros and cons as much as a thin mat does. A thick mat will be much more comfortable to exercise on as it will act as a cushion for you against the floor. Believe me when I say that most studios have cold hard floors and it will not feel better when you hit it barefoot or on your bare hand. Thick mats will allow you to boldly perform poses that would otherwise hurt your joints and muscles. However, thick mats will be much more difficult to balance in. It is the same reason why ships are shaped the way they are. This gives them stability. And we know that yoga is all about the balance and if you are held down by your mat, then you know that you have chosen the wrong one.
Thin mats are not the most common mats, but they do serve their own purpose. Thin mats allow you to balance better since you have a much firmer grip on the floor. The thinness will allow you to feel the ground. And when you are balancing, it will be less wobbly compared to using a mat that is thick. However, using thin mats will need you to work through the pain of hitting the floor with your joints.