The nice thing about yoga is you don’t need a bunch of expensive gear to have an effective practice. Some of us (myself included) spend way too much money on the cute yoga pants though. Why are they so EXPENSIVE? Good news is you don’t need the overpriced pants to practice yoga, no matter how cute they are. I do recommend bringing three specific things with you each time you practice yoga, and two of them may not even cost you a dime.

Water

Water is usually free at the studio when you bring your own water bottle. In a yoga class, especially a hot yoga class, you’ll want to have water with you to keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and headache. Trust me, being tired and/or having a headache while doing yoga is no fun. It can also be dangerous, especially if you’re doing yoga for an hour or more in a heated room. Get into the habit of drinking water throughout the day and bring some with you to class. You’ll be more alert, feel better and your practice will be stronger because of it.

The amount of water you bring with you to class is totally up to you. Some people only need a small bottle. I’ve seen people come into class with gallon jugs of water. I’ve also seen some bring fancy, expensive thermos-like bottles that keep their water as cold as ice throughout class. Personally, I like to drink water…a lot of it and I’m not all that particular on its temperature. I usually bring a 48 oz. water bottle with me and I’ll polish off the entire thing by the end of class. Once you start taking yoga on a regular basis, you’ll have a better idea of how much water you drink during class and know how much water you’ll want to bring with you.

Mat

Most studios will have mats available for rent if you don’t have one or forgot yours at home. This is one item I’d highly recommend purchasing though. It’s one thing to sweat all over your own mat, but when you rent or borrow a mat from a friend or studio, know that there have been many others whom have sweated all over that mat before you. When you use your own mat, you’re the only one who sweats on it and cleans it.

If you’re looking to invest in a mat, know you don’t have to break the bank when buying one. Yoga mats come in all sorts of materials, lengths and price ranges. Find one that works for you with the style of yoga you plan on practicing the most.

Before making a purchase, think about the type of flooring your yoga studio has. If there’s carpet, you can get away with a towel mat made of terry cloth. These types of mats are typically designed for Bikram Yoga and are made to absorb an incredible amount of sweat, great for heavy sweaters like myself. If the studio has rubber, vinyl or wood flooring, you’ll want a mat that wont slide around during class. Make sure there’s some sort of grip, thickness and durability. Remember, the only thing between you and the hard floor will be your mat so make it as comfy as you can afford.

A Good Attitude

Had a rough day at work? Super stressed out? Tired? Experienced a little bit of road rage on your way into class? These are all good reasons to show up for class, but be sure to leave the bad juju outside of the studio. For some of us, this might be the only time we have to ourselves today. Get the most you can out of each class by leaving the outside world outside. When you come into the studio, prepare to unwind, unplug and be present for your practice. And leave your cellphone in the locker room. Cellphones have no purpose in the studio, unless the teacher is using it to play their playlist.

Not every class will be perfect and full of yoga bliss. You might have to make extra room for a late yogi joining class. A full class may cause other yogis to practice a lot closer to you than you’re normally used to. You weren’t able to show up to class early enough and someone snagged your favorite spot. Maybe there’s a new teacher who’s throwing you off that day? Despite whatever happened before or during class, know you’re going to leave class feeling much better than when you walked in. Just smile and roll with it.

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