Life&Style Writer Tamzin Meyer shares her yoga essentials and tips for anyone wishing to start learning and practising
It’s the start of a new year, which brings a host of New Year’s Resolutions that (hopefully) will not have already been abandoned. Some will be trying to take up healthier lifestyles and will be looking to take up a new sport but have no idea where to start. Yoga can be a great sport to take up to help with mindfulness and both mental and physical wellbeing, making it a worthwhile sport to start in 2022. Here is a list of yoga essentials to kickstart your new interest.
A Yoga Mat
For anybody who is thinking about yoga, a must have item is, of course, a yoga mat. This is essential to give you a comfortable space to work out on. All of your exercise will take place on this mat and will allow you to move without the friction you would have if you were to practice yoga on a carpet. There are a range of different yoga mats on the market. I originally used to do yoga on a foam, roll up mat which was rather impractical as the ends kept rolling up when I was using it but this being said, if you are looking for a cheaper option and are just starting out, then these will do the job. However, if you are looking for a little more of a substantial mat then I would suggest investing in a rubber mat to avoid the problem of the mat folding in on you. I was gifted a Liforme Yoga Mat that has changed my yoga experience, allowing me to move more freely. The planet friendly mat has gripping features which means that you will not slip and slide about when practising your downward dog. As an added bonus, the mat comes with alignment markers which are perfect for both beginners and experts as it guides you into where you should be positioning your body. If you are looking for quality and comfort then it is certainly worth purchasing a rubber mat but, if you are just starting out, a cheaper alternative may be preferable.
A Yoga Ball
There is a myth that yoga balls are only used by pregnant women but this could not be further from the truth. Not only are these big, bouncy balls extremely comfortable and fun to bounce on, but they also help you try out different yoga positions with a bit more flexibility and comfort. You can get a range of different sizes and colours, all with the focus on supporting you and strengthening aspects of your body, such as your core. Do not worry about these bursting on you as they are made of extremely tough material, yet are easy enough to inflate and deflate so that you can keep it out of the way when not in use. I have a purple yoga ball from USA Pro which has done me justice for a couple of years now.
Yoga blocks are really important for giving you extra support. They will be your best friends when it comes to doing those difficult poses. Instead of over-stretching your body you can use these blocks to give you a bit more sturdiness. The lightweight blocks are perfect for beginners and minimise the risk of injury, which is always a positive thing. I love the fact that they are not too expensive, yet are a really valuable asset to your yoga journey.
Yoga Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are always an essential for any sport-lover, whether that be those who do yoga or something else. These bands work to strengthen your muscles by bringing added tension to your exercise routine. If you try stretching with a resistance band around your legs, you will most certainly feel the burn. For those starting out, I would suggest looking for a band with a lower tension level just to ease into the idea before working your way up. It is best to look for bands that are latex free too to avoid exposure to any unwanted chemicals.
Whilst you can do yoga with normal socks or no socks on at all, it is best to wear yoga socks if you can. These are specialised socks designed for yoga lovers, with my personal favourites being those that come with an elastic strap for extra security, although there are a variety of different designs. Most yoga socks come with grips at the bottom of them so that you do not slip on your mat, meaning that you can have full confidence in your poses without the fear of falling. Yoga socks also include a cut out section on the top so that your feet can breathe without becoming sweaty.
I really recommend giving yoga a go this year – it is a good low-impact way of exercising, giving you an opportunity to increase flexibility, strength and lots of other benefits!
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