Perhaps you were gifted a free class pass, or a friend managed to convince you to come to a session with her favorite teacher, or you’ve just made this awesome decision to sign up at the studio near you—you’re finally going to your first yoga class! You’ve picked out a great beginners’ class, you’ve set aside time in your schedule, and you’re raring to go. But if, like me, you’ve stopped to wonder what to pack into your workout bag, worry not! I’ve got you covered.
Here is a list of essentials that will prove useful to you in your first class, so you’ll have nothing else to worry about except building your strength and getting good, juicy stretches! Most of these items would be readily available in your home, but if not, I’ve also included a few recommendations from amazing local brands.
1. Water bottle
This is definitely the #1 essential! It is crucial to keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after class, especially if you are signed into an active one. Some yoga studios will have water dispensers ready for you, or perhaps bottled water for sale. We definitely recommend having a reusable one for yourself, and fill it up before class—it’s a good reminder to hydrate (which we often neglect when we get busy), and it’s a lot better for the environment than stocking up on disposable plastic bottles.
2. Yoga towel/s
Just to be prepared, having three towels would be best—a face towel, a bath towel, and a yoga towel. A tiny face towel would come in handy in an active class, to get your sweat away from your eyes as you go into your downward dog.
A bath towel may be bulky, but it will certainly be useful if you need to shower and freshen up after your class. If you’re concerned about bag space, try purchasing thin microfiber ones, or ask your studio if they have bath towels for rent.
Now, if you are like me and you have the tendency to sweat profusely, or perhaps your palms inexplicably get sweatier than the rest of your body, a good yoga towel makes all the difference! Plus, a yoga towel would be great in case you are uncomfortable with using public mats. I find that the grippiest yoga towel (even in the sweatiest sessions) is the TPE-Microfiber blend from local mat brand YogaLoka. It’s a sticky, grippy TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) on one side, and microfiber on the other. It’s kept my sweaty palms at bay even in a hot yoga class!
3. Yoga mat
Most studios would provide mats, usually free for use or for rent at a small price. However, it is perfectly reasonable if you are concerned about cleanliness and quality—people do sweat on the mats, and most studios would opt for just standard rubber ones. And since it would be best for you to keep your practice consistent, investing in a mat would be a wise move. Unfortunately, the world of yoga mats is a polarized spectrum of either generic, cheap, and unsafe ones, or very expensive branded ones. YogaLoka was created with the aim to provide the ideal yoga mat—grippy, non-toxic, antiseptic, and resilient! They are also extremely affordable (only Php 2,200 to Php 2,600) and readily available online or in most yoga studios in the metro.
4. Comfortable yoga clothes
For most people, this is usually the hardest to figure out! But the only thing to remember is that comfort and support are key. You need something you can move around in, something that will keep you comfy and covered even as you lunge, lift your legs up, or maybe go upside down! The usual choice is a good-fitting and opaque pair of yoga leggings or shorts, with a stretchy and comfortable short-sleeved or sleeveless shirt. Cotton may do in a pinch, but moisture-wicking material would be best in the long run.
5. An open mind
The amazing thing about starting a yoga practice is that it does not only stretch your physical boundaries, but your mind’s as well. There may be movements that you may find difficult to hold, or might be self-conscious in, or some that you may find downright scary! An open mind is integral, so you can focus on your experience without judgment—of your fellow students, of your teacher, and even yourself. All you need to focus on is your mind, your body, and your breath. So give yourself permission to think about only those three things for an hour or an hour a half—you deserve it!
Now, pack your gym bag and place your phone on silent. It’s time to head to your new (and perhaps soon-to-be favorite) yoga studio!
All 4mm YogaLoka mats are currently on sale at 20% off! Get your very own grippy, antiseptic, resilient, high-quality, and eco-friendly mat now for only Php 1,760. Buy here.
Anna Ercilla is an all-around techy yogi mama creating websites and beautiful graphics for a living, and is a social media manager for a number of local brands and companies. She teaches yoga part-time and is mom to her daughter, Sahaya.