What to wear and bring to your first yoga class

Beginners should bring compassion and an open mind to their first class. But what actual stuff? If you’re looking for a checklist:

Yoga mat. If you’re brand new, a $20 mat from a sporting-goods store or big-box retailer is absolutely fine. (Be sure the mat is made specifically for yoga; a thick exercise mat won’t cut it.) If you aren’t ready to commit even to that, most studios have mats for rent. If you continue with yoga, you’ll eventually want to buy a more expensive, longer-lasting mat, but don’t worry about that for your first several months.

Yoga outfit. Choose what you like. Tight leggings are optional; plenty of people practice in loose pants and a T-shirt.

Ideally your outfit won’t distract you while you’re moving around and possibly going upside-down. Before you walk out the door, bend forward to check that 1. Your top doesn’t slip up over your head, revealing your stomach (unless you’re into that) 2. Your tights don’t get sheer in the rear (for this you’ll have to bend over in front of a mirror), and 3. The legs of loose pants or shorts don’t slip down to reveal your naughty bits. (A lot of male yogis wear compression shorts under their baggier gym shorts for this reason.)

Dress in layers; you may get hot mid-practice and chilly at the end. It’s nice to bring socks into the studio; you won’t wear them during class but can put them on for the final resting pose.

If you can, take off your makeup before class; remove jewelry that jangles or constricts; and fix your ponytail high up on your head so it isn’t in the way when you lie on your back.

Props. Many yoga styles use blankets, seatbelt-like straps, and brick-sized foam, wood or cork blocks. No need to buy any of these; the studio will have them. If you see other students gathering props on their way in, follow their lead, get what they get, and place the props by your mat so you have access to them during class. A good rule of thumb for beginners is to pick up two blocks, a blanket and a strap.

Water. A bottle with a sport top is nice so you don’t have to fiddle with a cap between poses.

Lock and/or yoga bag. Stow your handbag, wallet and keys in a locker or a cubby, instead of setting them by your mat. If at all possible, don’t bring your phone into class; that little screen can be a zen-killer for everyone in the room, including the teacher.

For what to bring to a hot yoga class, click here.


[Photo credit: Bhakti Barn Yoga]
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