Written by Katy Craner 500hr - RYT; Edited by Amy Will 17x Marathoner; Photos: Katy Craner
“Yoga” translates to “yoke or unite” in the Sanskrit language. Some words you might hear associated with yoga could be: mindfulness, stretch, flexibility, breathing, down dog, and poses. Ultimately, the goal of yoga will be unique to the person practicing it. In this article, I’ll cover the essentials and a few extras to get your own home yoga practice started.
THE ACTUAL SPACE
One of the most essential parts of creating a home yoga practice is figuring out where to do it. This might mean you experiment with different places in your home to see what fits and what doesn’t. The great thing about the yoga asana (posture) practice itself is that it doesn’t require a lot of physical space. The dimensions of your mat plus about 2ft on each side is really all you need, as it’s likely your body and movement will take you beyond the parameters of your mat. You’ll also want to clear the space of anything that could be potentially harmful.
THE YOGA MAT
Another essential item is the mat. It might be the ONLY thing you need/want for your space. There are a variety of mats you can choose from. Three things to consider when purchasing your mat are: size, thickness, & material. The more information you know about what kind of mat fits your needs, the more likely you’ll only need to buy one.
Like people, yoga mats come in a variety of sizes. The most common mat dimensions are: 24”W x 68-72” L. Companies like Lululemon, Alo, Manduka, and TVLA offer extended sizes for those who are taller or who prefer more space to move on.
Ranging from 3mm to 8mm, how thick you want your mat to be is an important detail. If your mat will be on hard surfaces like tile or concrete, a thicker mat will help cushion and support your body as you move. Softer solids like wood & vinyl are more versatile and can accommodate most standard yoga thicknesses (4-5mm). If you are practicing on carpet or grass, a thinner mat might be your go-to to help with balance and joint protection.
Rubber Mats - Generic, LuluLemon, Liforme, TVLA, Manduka, Jade Yoga, etc.
- Most Rubber Mats will either be PVC (plastic) or have a percentage of FSC (Forrest Stewardship Council) certified natural rubber, which means it’s made from trees that are grown naturally and without harmful chemicals.
- Plastic mats tend to be slippery and fall apart easily, but they are often more affordable.
The Following are for Natural Rubber Mats:
- Soft but grippy.
- Sweat Absorbant
- Widest cost variety
- Widest range of durability; the more natural, the longer it lasts.
- Cleans Easily
Vegan Leather - Alo & Lululemon, etc.
- Soft yet grippy feeling
- Moisture absorbent
- Heavier than most material
- Good for cross training
- Higher price
- Requires more care to optimize sustainability & durability
Cork Mats - TVLA, etc
- Moisture repellent
- Grippier with sweat
- Great for Hot Yoga
- Breathable; dries faster
- Not as much cushion
Microfiber/Suede - Yoga Democracy, Pop Flex, etc.
- Soft, blanket like surface
- Grippier with sweat
- Great for Hot Yoga
No matter what mat you choose, treat it well and it will serve your needs. Follow the cleaning instructions provided by the company. Certain soaps, fragrances, and chemicals can compromise its structure & get absorbed into your mat. If no instructions are given, warm water is usually all you need. Be sure to let your mat dry out fully before rolling it up and store it in a dry place, away from direct sun exposure.
Props are great for creating more space, Lifting the floor to you, expanding your postures, deepening your proprioception, and creating a more accessible practice. Props are not necessarily essential for your yoga practice and can be substituted with common household items (books, scarfs, towels, pillows, etc). However, having these specifically designed props can help you feel more organized in your space. Here are some common yoga props:
Feeling comfortable in your practice is a must! There are many different options out there and everyone’s preference is different. Yoga includes inversions, where the heart is above the head like in Down Dog or Standing Forward Fold. Tops that are flowy tend to lift and lower as the body moves. If this bothers you, tops like the Vinyasa Crop or the Knotty Tank are great options for staying in place. When choosing bottoms, think about where your natural waist crease is when you bend to the side. A waistband that goes either above it or below it will help keep it in place so you’re not constantly adjusting things. The High Waisted Vinyasas, Skin Shaktis or Bikers, & Jazz Flare Pants are all great options for soft and buttery fabric. If you want moisture wicking fabrics, choose items with the lux fabric. Step-Ups, Baselines, Rios, and Pace Leggings are great options and come in a variety of patterns and solids.
Katy’s Favorites Guide
Mat: Hands down TVLA! I’ve gone through them all. I’ve owned every mat listed above and nothing compares to my TVLA mats! They are the most versatile mats. They are grippy but not sticky. I can move with ease but feel firm. They come in different measurements and different thicknesses. They are a bit pricey, but they will last forever. PLUS: TVLA is a woman run business in Colorado and she donates “A percentage of every purchase is donated to support local veterinary clinics, animal rescues, and the Boulder Humane Society,”
Props: I really love my props from Pete’s Choice. I’ve worked with this company many times in providing yoga props to gyms, studios, and yogis around the world. They provide top notch quality and offer bundles if you want to “get it all!” This small business also has wonderful customer service.
Pete’s Choice: https://a.co/d/flKuINn
If you’re wanting a bag that fits everything, the Duffel Bag from Kind Folk is your golden ticket. It’s also economically priced for the size and with other comparable bags. https://kindfolk.com/products/yoga-mat-duffel-bag
Online Yoga Classes: There are SO many choices. From Apps to YouTube videos, there’s no shortage of free content. I am trained in vinyasa, ashtanga, restorative, and physical therapy based yoga. These are local & world wide studios that reflect my teaching style and offer online yoga classes.
Modern Yoga : https://www.modern.yoga/on-demand
LYT Daily: https://lytyoga.com/lyt-daily-yoga/
Movement Method: https://www.movementmethod.co/
My Free Classes & Resets: https://www.fitnessyogik8.com/classes
Reset Password: Reset4Life
Yoga Classes Password: GetLYT
Yoga can be felt, practiced, and experienced without any of these material things. While yoga isn’t your mat, props, name brands, or experience levels; what you do choose to accumulate becomes part of the experience…the connection. Just as your yoga practice takes time to cultivate, be mindful of the items you purchase to create your own yoga space in your home.
After all, Yoga is the journey, not the final destination.