What should I wear, what should I bring & when should I arrive for my first class?
- For your first class, be sure to bring a bottle of water, a towel and a mat.
- Be sure to wear fitted workout clothes, ideally ones that wick away moisture.
- First-timers should also get to the studio 20 minutes before class starts to check in and ask any questions. We want to share our one-of-a-kind yoga with everyone, so come to work hard and have fun!
- Need to get some new gear? Visit our Boutique, we have everything you need to take your practice to the next level.
Wherever you practice, a proper yoga mat is essential. Working on a rug, slippery towel or overly-soft gym cushion can lead to injury and frustration. While most studios and gyms offer mats for public use, owning your own can be a more hygienic alternative.
While there are many options available, the vast majority of yoga mats work perfectly well for any style of yoga. That said, understanding the differences will help you select a mat that fits your personal needs.
Yoga Mat Thickness and Weight
Yoga mats range from super thin and compact travel styles that weigh a mere 2 lbs. to cushy quarter-inch beasts that weigh up to 7 lbs. If you’re not sure where to start, choose a mat that’s about 1/8-in. thick (0.125 in.), a pretty standard thickness.
These mats are excellent for those with a strong, flowing practice. They allow solid contact with the floor, which helps with stability during a variety of poses. Compared to thicker mats, they are also less likely to catch and get in your way when you flow from pose to pose.
If your yoga plans include air travel, look for a travel mat that’s specifically designed for portability. Travel mats are very thin and light and pack down smaller than traditional mats, so they’re easy to take along in your luggage. Keep in mind that you will sacrifice some cushioning with a travel mat.
Thicker mats provide extra cushioning and are best for more restorative or therapeutic practices. While more comfortable for forearm and kneeling poses, thicker mats can be more difficult to balance on during standing poses.
Yoga Mat Materials and Durability
Generally, thicker mats last longer than thinner mats. That said, mat durability is also related to the material the mat is made from.
PVC is a plastic-based material that is highly durable, easy to clean and offers excellent floor grip. However, PVC mats are non-absorbent and can become slippery when you sweat heavily. PVC is latex-free, a benefit to those with latex allergies, however, it is not biodegradable or as environmentally friendly as other options.
TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) is a man-made blend, usually of plastic and rubber polymers. TPE mats may be more environmentally friendly than PVC, and some are fully recyclable. TPE mats are generally less durable than PVC mats of the same thickness, but still deliver good traction.
Eco / natural mats come from a variety of sources, including natural rubber, organic cotton, and jute. Compared to other options, eco mats are slightly less grippy on the floor, but their natural texture provides traction for your body. Eco mats lack the decade-long durability of PVC, yet they top the list if sustainability is your priority.
Coverage: While most comfortable fitness clothing will suffice for yoga, keep in mind that you may be upside down or wide-legged during poses. Form-fitting yoga pants and tops keep you from exposing more of yourself than you expect. They also allow greater ease of movement and prevent sleeves or pant legs from getting caught in twists or underfoot.
Fabric performance: Depending on the type of yoga you practice, you may generate a lot of heat and sweat. Most yoga clothing is made from moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics that also offer quick-drying comfort, a nice feature especially for enthusiasts of hot yoga. These fabrics also won’t stick to you when you’re bending and stretching.
Warmth: You may want a soft, flexible long-sleeve top layer to keep you warm at the beginning of class or during the final relaxation pose of your practice.
Covering your mat with a full-length towel adds longevity to your mat while improving hygiene. Different mat materials absorb sweat at different rates, but towels provide a machine-washable sweat barrier for easier and more effective cleanliness. Also, owning your own towel creates a hygienic layer between you and a studio mat that’s been around the block.
Yoga Straps & Blocks
Establishing proper alignment early is critical to getting the most out of your yoga practice. Straps and blocks help newcomers who have limited flexibility achieve better alignment. Most studios have them on hand, and testing them with the guidance of a knowledgeable instructor will help you assess what works best for your needs.
Yoga Bags and Slings
While certainly not required, a yoga bag or simple lightweight sling keeps your mat from unrolling at inopportune times and lets you keep your hands free on the way to class (so you can ride your bike, carry your latte, etc.). A yoga bag can also protect your mat from rain, snow and dirt during transport, enhancing its longevity.
Yoga Mat Wash
Designed specifically for mats, these washes remove bacteria without eating away the outer layer of your mat. For just a few bucks, these fresh-smelling liquids improve hygiene and extend the life of your mat.