Welcome to the final installment of our four part series: Yoga for Newbies-Top Products
One of the many reasons I love yoga is that I don’t need anything but myself to practice. No mat, special clothes, props or meditation bells are needed. Freedom from stuff, freedom from needs, freedom from prerequisites to my happiness.
But truth be told, I do have a bit of the girly-girl side to my personality, and over the years I’ve found that certain accouterments serve as an aid and inspiration for my practice. These material items support my practice and remind me of peace and health on and off the mat; they are tangible triggers that prime my system for peace. Plus, they are just plain fun!
It's nice to work out in nice fancy yoga clothes, but old sweats work just fine, too! I have been acquiring things slowly over the past couple of years. Anyone who gets me presents knows I like yoga gear! Gita gave me some incense to try, and I’ve picked up a few books along the way, too. Slowly but surely, I am building a collection of goodies that support my practice.
From Gita: This is probably the number one question I get asked, and it usually results in me staring blankly at my student shrugging my shoulders weakly and mumbling "I dunno". Yikes, who said yoga teachers are always poised! It seems a trifle silly that a practicing yogini with over 20 years of rolling around on mats has no opinion, but my honesty is all I’ve got for ya on this one. Over the years, I’ve used mats from:
Gaim, Jade , lululemon, nike, athleta, Eat More Kale , Walmart (yikes, but true), Target, Danskin , and countless others. Over time, they all eventually get dry and crispy from use, relegated to cushions for my aging doggie's knees.
My best advice, go to a local Target and touch a few different types, see what you like. Don’t spend a lot of money, just pick one and go for it. Your experience, yoga style, and body type will tell you what your next choice should be, much better than me!
From Jess: I have purchased all of my mats at Target. I would love a fancy one someday, but mine do the trick. I'm still hoping for a cool bag to carry my mat, but one day.
From Gita: In case you missed it, check out our last post about what not to wear to your class-good info for you!
Hands down, the best yoga clothes I’ve ever had come from Athleta
They are pricey, for sure, but over the years they’ve lasted through endless repetitions, traveling, and washing-rinsing- repeating! Pricey yes. Worth it? Definitely.
From Jess: Marshalls always has a huge selection of yoga gear, and I've gotten most of my clothing from there. That, and gifts from my family!
Yoga Videos-home practice rocks!
From Gita: I’ve gotten tremendous benefits from practicing at home over the years, but sometimes I need a kick in the asana to practice. That’s when I turn to videos for a little support.
Yoga Journal-despite my endless complaining about the skinny, mostly Caucasian, very flexible ladies on the cover, this magazine has top-notch content. I devoured this magazine as a yoga newbie, and they spread the love with free classes! Most are short and very accessible, I highly recommend the videos by Jason Crandell.
Yogaglo-for $18.00 per month you get unlimited access to videos, most by very accomplished and refined teachers. My favorite, again, is Jason Crandell, he’s one of the only teachers I recommend for my students. He is an encyclopedia of yoga knowledge, and his teaching reflects his deep personal practice. You can preview classes to get the vibe, too.
Brandt Passalacqua of Peaceful Weight Loss through Yoga-don’t let the name fool you! This guy is the real deal, wether you want to lose lbs or not, his classes are simple, clear, and a powerful testament to the power of an accessible yoga class. I bought his year-long “At Home” series, every month a new DVD arrived at my house. The practices are great for beginners, he is a very compassionate teacher, and the classes are sequenced beautifully
From Gita: Here’s where my love of lotions and potions shines!
Indigowild-I can count on one comment from most of my new students as they enter my home studio, “It smells so good in here, what is that?”. I use only essential oils, like Rosemary Mint from Indigo Wild, to use in my studio. It’s fantastic and even folks with allergies and asthma can benefit, no synthetic junk. Plus, the folks here make everything by hand.
RMS beauty-Our skin is our largest organ, and I try my best to put stuff on my body that I’d only put in my body. For years, I searched for a good, natural makeup. I’m in love with the products from RMS beauty. Simple, effective awesomeness.
Dharma Craft-What’s not to love about this catalogue that arrives every month at the house of Gita? Meditation cushions, books, statues, fountains, jewelry, everything takes my breath away. I’ve ordered from here throughout the years and everything has been of impeccable quality.
From Gita: Meditations to live to be 100 by Maoshing Ni
Written by an expert of Chinese Medicine, his mellifluous voice will help guide you to a deep understanding of your health, and practical ways to enhance your life experience.
This recording by Deepak Chopra represents some of the best tips and strategies to cope with modern life while cultivating a deeper awareness and joy for life. Everything by Deepak rocks my world!
Kelly Howell and Brain Sync have a large collection that I highly recommend for those interested in healing or beginning meditators. The recordings are designed to be listened to on headphones and include sounds specifically chosen to induce desireable brain wave patterns. They have many different recordings for diverse needs.
Jai Uttal—The Art and Practice of Ecstatic Chant, Dial M for Mantra, Kirtan Kids, and many others
A modern master of kirtan, or spiritual chanting. His collaborations with Ben Leinbach are also excellent, good for relaxation.
Krishna Das—Flow of Grace
Most of his albums are traditional Indian chanting or Kirtan. He is a master of this genre with a beautiful voice.
Craig Pruess & Ananda—108 Sacred Names of Mother Divine, Sacred Chants of Devi
Very good for deep relaxation; this is what I use in my classes.
From Gita-Meditations from the Mat-daily reflections on yoga, excellent to support your home practice and first steps with yoga
Verses for daily living-Thich Nhat Hanh-this book helped me bring my practice off the mat and into my every day life. Beautiful drawings and simple phrases to repeat during your busy days will bring you back to center.
Crazy Sexy Cancer, Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr
Inspiring and fun works by a woman who changed her life after a Stage 4 cancer diagnoses. Full of easy tips and recipes for adding juices, smoothies, and green foods into your life.
Hands down, Shoyeido is the best incense I’ve ever used. Handmade from Japan, it’s low smoke and subtle scent always prompt a deep inhale and “mmm, that smells so good” from my students. My favorite is Kyoto Autumn Leaves.
May these goodies bring you a lifetime of inspiration!
Gita & Jessica
p.s. know any busy friends who crave health and could use some inspiration? Send them to our blog!