When doing Yoga, you must wear clothes that are comfortable to wear and let you move freely and allows your body to breathe when practicing yoga. Always wear flexible and fitting clothes when doing Yoga such as a leotard, leggings or bicycle shorts so that your clothes do not move or get in your way. You could also wear a T shirt or gym shorts if you’d like. If you are doing Yoga in a cooler climate or if you are practising outdoors you might want to wear layered clothing so that you can take the layers off as you gradually warm up and put the layers back on when you cool down.
Shoes or Barefoot
Yoga is best practised barefoot because when you are barefoot, you are better able to feel the floor whereas wearing socks or shoes might cause you to slip.
A yoga mat also called a sticky mat is a relatively recent modern invention and has become an ubiquitious and must-have accessory for anyone practising yoga these days. A good quality yoga mat is a thin rectangular mat made up of rubber that helps keep you from sliding on the floor and losing your balance as you glide into variou yogasanas. A good yoga mat also has the right texture that is neither too soft (like a carpet) and neither too hard. You could also practise yoga on rugs or a hardwood floor but then some poses may become uncomfortable for your hands, feets and knees.
Always keep a woolen or cotton blanket around when practising yoga. A folded blanket can be used to cushion your knees during a particular asana apart from helping to support your other body parts for e.g. your head when you are lying down.
A Yoga Strap is a long band made up of cotton which could have a buckle though not all Yoga Straps have a buckle. They are usually 1 and a half inches wide and 6 feet in length. The yoga strap comes in handy when you cannot reach a certain part of your anatomy. If not a Yoga strap, you can always make do with a soft cloth, belt or even a bathrobe belt!
You might need to use a chair with a flat seat when performing some erect poses or some seated poses. The chair must be armless and completely flat.
You can use the help of a wall to help you maintain proper posture, alignment and balance in specific yoga poses where balance is crucial. Walls can be very helpful as a support when you are practicing standing balancing poses.
Most blocks made for Yoga are between 4 x 6 x 9 inches and made of either foam or wood. You can get these made from a local handyman or carpenter yourself. You can even make one by wrapping a hardcover book with some masking tape! Ideally for Yoga practise you must have two of these. Blocks will be of use when you find yourself unable to reach down to the floor e.g. a standing twist. Always ensure that the block is steady and do not grasp the block tightly but rather only rest your hand on it in order to help you keep your balance.
Bolsters are cylindrical pillows that for the purpose of Yoga must be around 8 inches in height and about two feet in length. These are easily available at any Indian Pillow and Mattress Shop. Bolsters can be very useful in cases where you need a firm surface to prop up and rest your body upon. If a bolster is not around then you could substitute it with a rolled-up blanket or even a sofa pillow.
An eye bag is a small cloth bag filled with flax seeds. You can cover your eyes with an eye bag when you are in a relaxation pose. An eye bag will help you relax your eyes and help to block out the sunlight or glare from artificial lights. If you don’t have an eyebag then you could use a folded cloth or a silk scarf as a substitute.
The Yoga Environment
It is important to practise Yoga in a calm, cool, serene and spacious environment. A reputed yoga studio run by professional and caring individuals will always create the right environment for Yoga practice with airy and naturally lit surroundings with good ventilation and lots of space. But if you are practicing at home by yourself or with the help of a personal yoga teacher, you can also create a serene yoga environment for you to practise. Unclutter the space in the room where you are going to practise, allow natural light and ventilation (turn on the AC though if it gets too hot!), light some agarbattis, scented candles or diyas. Take a bath or a shower before practise and you are all set! And oh by the way keep the cell phone far away, turn on the TV and if you must have some music some soft soothing lounge music played at very low levels can help calm you and create a serene environment.
The Right Time To Practise Yoga
There is really no right time to practise yoga. You can practise Yoga at any time of the day. But do keep in mind that practising Yoga in the early mornings can fill you with energy, positiviity and good vibes and set the tone for the rest of the day. If you are practising Yoga in the evenings, you could perform a less strenuous sequence in order to help you calm your mind and body after a long day at work and prep yourself for a good night’s sleep. Whatever time you practise, try and set up a specific time every day or in the week so that practise becomes a regular habit.
Do remember that you must not start yoga practise on your own if you are a complete beginner. Consider joining a Yoga class and practise for a few months under the tutelage of a qualified and certified yoga instructor before practising on your own. For those starting out, hiring a personal yoga instructor is in fact an even better option. A personal yoga trainer can give you personal attention and ensure that you are performing your poses correctly and safely.