Mats are now ubiquitous! Almost every store I can think of sells them. Yoga mats come in different sizes, colors and thicknesses. It is all a matter of personal taste - with some limitations. If you’re looking for a thicker mat try Target or Sports Authority. You DO want a mat that is ‘sticky’ or can give you some traction. Too much softness in a mat won’t provide the stability that we are seeking. So sacrifice some of your desire for comfort and cushiness and go for support!
I use a fairly thick but solid “Earth Elements” mat made by hugger mugger. It is 10mm thick. Look for this carefully on the internet because many Earth Elements mats are only 5mm thick (which is fine too - unless you’re looking for the thicker mat). Pricey, yes - but really comfortable and functional. You’ll need a large mat bag for this one. Or try the 5mm mat, which is more of a standard mat.
You can clean your mat - whatever type of mat it is - by wrestling it into the bathtub and scrubbing it with a little Woolite or similar mild detergent, then towelling it dry. Yes there are fancy “mat cleaning” supplies too.
Straps and Blocks
I mention in class that if you less flexible, it can help you go deeper into the Yoga postures while performing them correctly if you bring to class a yoga strap and/or block(s). These items are widely available, from Whole Foods stores to Barnes and Noble, as well as Marshalls, Target and Tuesday Morning. To see sample straps and blocks, click here. Don’t pay too much for a strap or block - they can be obtained fairly cheaply.
Chakra Bowls CD
In my live classes we sometimes meditate to the soothing strains of the “singing bowls” - there are differently toned bowls for each energy center (chakra) of the body. The CD that I use - “Chakra Delight” - can be found here.
Sun Salute Book
The sun salute in Yoga (Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit) has several variations - you can find them online. The variation that I frequently teach has an entire book - “Extension” by Sam Dworkis - devoted to it. I think you’ll appreciate the ease and depth of the explanations given in that book.
My first yoga experience was with a Kripalu-trained teacher, and some of my first yoga retreats were at the facility itself. My basic “yoga allegiance”, if you will, is to Kripalu Yoga, although my teacher training and certification was with, for logistical reasons.) I like Kripalu for its attitude of openness, depth and acceptance. It is thriving today, with a variety of teachers, workshops, and a teacher training program.
I subscribe to this magazine, which has been around forever and is your basic go-to Yoga magazine. Online, they have a number of good articles and sometimes free classes or podcasts (so should Kripalu, above). There is even an extensive list of yoga poses with instructions. (Note of caution: every school of yoga is slightly different, so anyone’s instructions for a pose are bound to differ slightly from someone else’s.)
Sun Moon Yoga Studios
There are Sun Moon Yoga studios in Arlington and Fairfax, VA - I am partial to both for their classes and seminars. I have found all of their instructors to be quite good. I unhesitatingly recommend them to you. The style and structure of their classes are mostly similar to mine.
If you watch PBS at all, you have probably seen Peggy Cappy. Her work, “Yoga for the Rest of Us,” is devoted to delivering Yoga to most bodies. I like her teaching style and her approach. I find her sun salute sequence using a chair particularly awesome! Here is her website. Try some of her videos!
Comfort is King! Clothing you can move in is a must. I favor clothing from Costco or Sam’s Club, Marshalls, Tuesday Morning, etc. (If you want to get really fancy, try Athleta.) For tall women like myself, the brand Champion can work well. It is important that you feel comfortable while you are enjoying Yoga! (Note: I do not on my own body favor traditional yoga clothing - I feel more comfortable with a baggier look!)
Yoga Sandals and Yoga Toes
We sometimes work on our toes and feet in class, spreading our toes and encouraging the correct weight distribution in our feet. There are some resources that can help you with these things. will help you spread your toes and distribute your weight evenly in your feet while you walk. Yoga toes will help you spread your toes, and you can wear them overnight! I own the sandals and I have heard good things about the toes!