It's a great feeling when you buy your first Yoga mat. Especially the first one. That first mat is special indeed. After months of research you finally pull the trigger. It's an exciting time: waiting for the delivery and the intensity when it doesn't arrive on time or there is a delay in the delivery. It's almost like waiting on the delivery of your first born. When it first arrives it's exciting and at the same time a little intimidating. What now?
Just like a first child arriving, the question comes up "What do I need next?". Well, for simplicity's sake you don't really 'need' anything else. However, eventually you'll find that there are indeed a few items that will make your Yoga practice a little more 'Yogic'. As a practitioner, the writer has gone through this scenario more times than he would care to admit. With that in mind, here is a list of a few things you may find handy.
- Mat cleaner. Mats tend to build up a lot of dirt from bodily secretions and can get quite nasty/smelly (read: unsanitary) if not properly cared for. There are many ready-made products on the market. However, here is a link to a relatively inexpensive do-it-yourself mat cleaner.
- Yoga Block: usually made of a styrofoam-like material it can also be found made of cork or other man-made materials. It will come in particularly handy in poses where the intent is to place your hand(s) on a lower portion of your anatomy (such as your ankle) or the floor, in order to open your torso up a little more. Also good for assisting in bodily alignment for various poses. Blocks come in assorted colors but they're generally a standard size.
- Yoga strap: a belt or a towel is a good substitute for a 'strap' but if you must; you must. Straps are good for many things up to and including helping you fold a little forward in forward folds. They're also good for supine positions with your leg or legs raised to assist in getting a little more stretch in your hamstrings.
- Hand-towel: these are great for drying yourself, or giving your mat a quick wipe down when the sweat pours. Of course, the wiping down of the mat is essential for the prevention of slipping. Does anyone 'need' a particular type? Not really: any hand-towel will do the job - some are just more effective than others.
So, there you have it: the basic package. Of course there's more that you can add on when you're ready. However, keeping it simple to start with will certainly help.
Any questions? Anything missing from this list? Please feel free to comment below.