By Molly Dwyer
Whether you are a veteran yogi or just starting out, having the proper gear is essential to maintaining yourOM-yogic center. Yoga is a beautiful and relaxing exercise for both your mind and body, but when you become uncomfortable because of a slippery mat or some other distraction, you disrupt your routine and it is hard to enjoy the session. There are a number of items that can help yoga students become more comfortable and prepared for a number of yoga classes around Connecticut’s numerous yoga studios.
Below are five fundamental items and where to find them so you can better prepare for class.
Most studios have mats available to rent or borrow if it is your first time or you’re visiting. Personally, I have been turned off from sharing mats ever since I heard horror stories of ring worm from my high school’s wrestling team. It is more hygienic to have your own mat but remember to also invest in a mat cleaner to wipe your mat down the end of every class so it stays fresh!
Where to shop:
You can find mats in many locations including Target, Marshalls or T.J. Maxx but if you’re looking for a specialized mat try to the Manduka mats at Lululemon. For $98, the Manduka is larger and less slippery than most mats provided by a yoga studio.
91 Main Street
Westport, CT 06880
Hours: Mon to Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 12pm-5pm
Activewear or, yogawear
Yogawear is not just for yogis! We can’t deny the number of moms shopping in yoga pants or college students walking to class in their Sanskrit inspired hoodies. It’s no wonder, they’re so comfortable! Yoga involves anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes of intense stretching, movement and nonstop body flow and sometimes in high heat. Wear clothes that will move with your body and keep you cool as you increase movement throughout the class. It is common to see women wearing spandex shorts or pants and a racer back tank that offers support. Men typically wear long pants with a moisture wick t-shirt.Bikram yoga is conducted in upwards of 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where to Shop:
Since yoga clothing has become such a fashionable trend, you can find it in almost any retail location. Still, many retail locations exist around Connecticut including the famous Lululemon listed above and the Bikram retail boutique, Shakti, in the following description. Here is a favorite of mine for diversified selection of yoga and active wear.
1020 Post Rd # 102
Darien, CT 06820
Hours: Mon to Sat 10am-6pm
A towel is something many people do not think to bring but it can be a great support whether you sweat in class or not. For many vinyasa classes – a breathing, flow-focused yoga – students prefer to roll up a towel under their backs for additional support or place under their head during the downward positions. In Bikram classes – or, hot yoga – the amount of sweat makes a towel absolutely crucial both on your mat and to wipe down your body. Believe me, I was stunned my first class!
Where to shop:
There are no specific towels to use in a yoga class. A bath towel or beach towel will work just fine. Bikram classes usually request a larger size so that it covers your entire mat and does not move around too much during the exercise. You may purchase a “yoga towel” if you’d like at a local Bikram retailer. These tend to absorb more moisture and wrap around your mat for security.
Bikram Yoga Ridgefield
609 Main St
Ridgefield, CT 06877
(203) 431 – 9642
Hours: classes range from 6am to 7:30pm
Water is essential to maintaining hydration in all exercise and yoga is no different. Although it may not feel as strenuous as running or weight training, yoga can be very arduous on the body and your muscles need to stay fueled so you can retain energy. There are some wonderful eco-friendly water bottles that are easy to carry to and from class. My favorites are SIGG and Camelback because they are lightweight, BPA-free and they always have cute colors and designs!
Where to shop:
300 Chase Ave
Waterbury, CT 06704
Accessories: Blocks, Straps, Bolsters, Oils, Vitamins
Sure, you can successfully complete a yoga class with the above four items but some additional accessories might just make it that much easier for you. If you are new, a block will give you that added inch or two so you can work on flexibility and prevent pulling muscles. Many students find essential oils to help relax them and center their breathing for better meditational practice. Vitamins are always a good and natural way to enhance performance and give your body the added components it may be missing in your diet.
Where to shop:
Charym is a yoga studio and spa in the northeast corner of Connecticut that offers all of the above items and more. The products will provide an opportunity for you to experience yoga in a new way and the instructors will give you the necessary guidance for your yogic journey.
174 West Street
Litchfield, CT 06759
Hours: Tues to Wed, Sat to Sun 10am-6pm; Thurs to Fri 10am-8pm
Molly Dwyer has practiced yoga at theBikram yoga studio in Shelton, Connecticut and Charym Yoga Studio & Spa in Litchfield, Connecticut. Please feel free to reach out with any questions regarding thestudios or the yoga products.