You’ve signed up for your first ever yoga class – congratulations! If you’re anything like I was, you’re probably feeling a mixture of excited and nervous. And you probably have a lot of questions, including what to bring to yoga class?
One of the many wonderful things about yoga is that you don’t need a lot of fancy or expensive gear to practice. Additionally, when you’re attending yoga class at a studio, they’re likely to have a variety of equipment you can use during the class – things like blocks, straps, wheels, etc., so don’t worry about going out and buying those things just yet.
Having said that, there are a few things you’ll need to ensure your class goes smoothly. Here’s what to bring to yoga class (and what not to bring.)
What to Bring to Yoga Class
You’ll be happy to know that the list of what to bring to yoga class is short. Here’s what you’ll need:
It goes without saying that to practice yoga comfortably, you’ll need a yoga mat.
Some studios offer rental mats that you can use for a small fee, however these may not be of the highest quality and if you’re a bit of a germaphobe (like I am) then you may not like the idea of using the same mat that has had potentially hundreds of sweaty feet all over it.
In addition, most studios only have a limited amount of rental mats, so if you’re planning to rent a yoga mat, make sure you get to class early.
I always recommend that people invest in their own high-quality yoga mat, especially if they plan to start a regular yoga practice.
When you’re buying your first yoga mat, it can be tempting to go out and buy the cheapest mat you can find from Walmart. My recommendation – don’t do that. You don’t have to spend a fortune but you should make sure your yoga mat has the following features:
For an inexpensive mat (and my #1 favorite yoga mat) that meets all the following criteria, I recommend checking out this yoga mat. Along with being non-toxic, environmentally friendly, non-slip and budget-friendly, it also features body alignment markers which will help you keep your body in alignment during postures.
Cheap yoga mats are almost always made from PVC which is a known carcinogen and one of the most toxic plastics there is. Not only is PVC toxic during the manufacturing process, it emits toxic gas for it’s entire lifespan. That means when you’re using a PVC yoga mat, you’re inhaling toxic, carcinogenic chemicals (which sort of defeats the purpose of yoga…)
1/4 – 1/8 inch Thickness
Yoga mats come in varying thicknesses, from 1/16 inch (known as “travel mats”) to a plush 1/2 inch. You’ll want to choose a mat that is comfortable but also allows you to feel the floor. The sweet spot – and the most popular thickness – is 1/4 – 1/8 inch. As you advance in your practice you may find that you prefer a different thickness, but for your first mat, it’s best to start with a mat that’s between 1/4 – 1/8 inch thick.
Even if you’re not taking a hot yoga class, you’ll still want your yoga mat to be non-slip.
Yoga class – “hot” or not – can get sweaty and the last thing you want is for your hands and feet to be slipping all over your mat. It’s not only annoying – it can also increase your chance of injury.
Try to go for a yoga mat that has either a non-slip surface material or one that’s slightly textured for extra grip.
PVC – the material that most cheap yoga mats are made from – is not biodegradable. That means that it never degrades or decomposes. Instead, it just breaks down into smaller pieces that pollute the earth and kill wildlife.
PVC is one of the worst plastics for the environment and it’s also toxic to humans. When you’re choosing what to bring to yoga class, make sure it includes an environmentally friendly yoga mat.
You’ll be moving and bending a lot at yoga class, so comfortable clothes are essential. However, that doesn’t mean you should wear sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt.
You’ll want to wear clothes that are somewhat form fitting. This will ensure you don’t get tangled up in your clothes and allow you to move freely. Personally, I like wearing a more form fitting top as I don’t like it when my t-shirt falls up exposing my tummy when I’m in positions like downward facing dog.
There are lots of amazing yoga clothing brands out there, but you don’t have to splurge on expensive clothes, especially not when you’re just starting.
My favorite inexpensive brand of yoga pants that are comfortable, moisture-wicking and breathable are these ones. My favorite features are the high-rise wide waist and the complete coverage they offer (they don’t become see-through when you bend over!)
It’s important that you stay hydrated during your practice, so when you’re trying to decide what to bring to yoga class make sure a water bottle is on the list.
Most studios will have water available, either from a water fountain or plastic bottles for sale but it best to bring your own refillable water bottle, especially if it’s your first class. A reusable water bottle is more eco-friendly than single-use plastic bottles and more hygienic than a shared water fountain.
Depending on the style of yoga class you take, you may find yourself getting fairly sweaty (especially if it’s hot yoga!)
If you’re attending a hot yoga class then make sure you bring a full-sized towel that covers the length of your mat. This will help ensure you don’t slip when your hands get extra-sweaty during class.
If you’re taking a non-heated class it’s still a good idea to bring a small towel as you’d be surprised how quickly you can work up a sweat, even during a non-heated yoga class.
An Open Mind
The final thing you need to bring to yoga class is an open mind.
If you look at yoga “influencers” online you’d be be forgiven for thinking that you need to look a certain way to be a yogi, but that’s not true.
Yoga is for everyone – it doesn’t matter how flexible you are, how much you weigh, your gender, religion, ethnicity…
It might feel intimidating when you go to your first yoga class. You’re not sure what to expect, you’re worried you’ll fall over or not be able to get into certain positions. The truth is, none of that matters. All that matters is you. There’s a reason why it’s called a yoga “practice” – because it’s a constant practice. There’s no such thing as a “perfect yogi”, no matter what Instagram might make you believe.
Come to class with an open mind. Tell your teacher it’s your first class so they’re aware and can give you modifications and extra guidance. Most of all, enjoy your practice and don’t compare yourself to anyone else – we are all on our own journey.
As you can see, you don’t need to bring a lot to yoga class – just the essentials; a yoga mat, comfortable clothes, a water bottle, a towel and an open mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should you not wear to yoga?
There are no hard and fast rules for what to wear – or not wear – to yoga. However, it’s best to avoid wearing clothes that are too loose, like oversized t-shirts and baggy sweatpants. Try to wear clothes that are form fitting but not so tight that they restrict movement.
Do you wear shoes for yoga?
No, yoga is practiced barefoot. This allows you to feel the connection to the ground and helps ensure you’re in proper alignment.
Should you wear a bra while doing yoga?
Wearing a bra during yoga is a personal choice. Many yoga tops have an in-built elastic bra which is a good option for women who need less breast support. For women who need more support, a high-quality sports bra is the best option. Try to avoid wearing lacy bras and bras with underwire as they can cause irritation and restrict movement.