Straight to the Beginner Yoga Guy:
The 7 tools I wish I had as a guy starting out.
I’ve noticed a lot of advice out there for the yoga beginner. Maybe it’s the type of yoga I teach, but I feel the standard recommendations are not very good. I had very little money when I was starting out, and I spent some of my precious money on tools that I barely used. I wound up with things I didn’t need or that wore out quickly, missing out on other stuff that would have been helpful. So the following is a combination of what I found helpful for beginner yoga, plus what I wish I had:
Prana Revolution Yoga Mat or Manduka Yoga Mat
I know the Prana Revolution Yoga Mat and the Manduka PRO Yoga Mat are more expensive than a lot of the other mats out there, but I wound up spending a lot trying out different mats before settling on these. If I had just bought one of these up front, I would have saved a lot of money in the end. I’m a bigger guy (6’3″) and I was always hanging off of the standard sized mats, often with my back foot sliding off the mat and onto the floor behind me. There are many great things about these mats. My Manduka PRO is 12 years old and still going strong, a thorough cleaning and it still seems like new! I never realized I was placing my hands a little too close for comfort until I got the Prana Revolution. The Revolution makes me feel like I have plenty of space to practice exactly the way I want to. Because of the size of the Prana Revolution and the fact that I haven’t found a bag for it, I tend to use it as the mat for my home practice. Since the Manduka Pro fits in my yoga bag, I tend to use this mat as my teaching mat or for taking classes.Prana Revolution Pros: Wider, longer, and more durable than just about any other mat out there.
Prana Revolution Cons: Not much cushioning, won’t fit a standard yoga bag (I use a mat carrying strap for mine).
Manduka Mat Pros: The perfect amount of cushion, super durable, and plenty long even for tall guys.
Manduka Mat Cons: I wish it were a tiny bit wider, as my natural hand placement leaves about half of each hand off the side of the mat.
A mat bat is a mat bag, and pretty much any one will do, but it definitely is worth purchasing to make it easy to carry your mat to and from class. Also, If your mat and towel gets sweaty like mine do, it’s nice to have a place to put them that provides a little protection. That why i like the Manduka Practice Tote, it holds a bit more that your mat and towel without being huge, and it has holes on the sides so it is breathable to air out the sweaty suff.
Yogitoes Skiddless Premium Towel and/or Manduka Equa Towel
Did I mention that I am not only a big guy, but that I’m a big, sweaty guy? A lot of the money I wasted as a beginner yoga guy was spent trying to find a “sticky” mat that I wouldn’t slip on during my practice. Well, it seems obvious to me now, but it took me a lot of time and a lot of money before I realized what I should have done was buy a Yogitoes Skiddless Premium towel and a Manduka Equa towel right at the very beginning. In fact, if purchasing one of the mats I recommend would mean that you can’t afford one of these towels, I recommend going for a cheaper mat and definitely getting a towel or two. I love both of these towels and I have a couple of each.
Beginner Travel Tip
When I’m making a trip somewhere for just two or three days, I often skip bringing a yoga mat and just bring a towel. These towels are light and don’t take up much space in your suitcase. You can use one directly on the carpet in your hotel room, or if you go to a yoga studio, you can rent or borrow one of their mats and put your towel on top (downside to this – sometimes you wind up at a studio where their mats are so smelly and nasty that it is an extra challenge to your yoga to remain focused!)
Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga Video
Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga hits the perfect balance of accessibilty and challenge for the beginner yoga student. This is the very first video I bought when I first started a physical practice, and since I didn’t know anything about yoga, I used it every day for about six months until I got up the courage to go to a class. Bryan has since become a dear friend and this video still resonates after all these years. It is remains my go to practice if I want to get in something strenuous and mind clearing at home in less than an hour. When you think about how much you can spend going to classes, this video definitely pays for itself if you use it on a regular basis. I recommend you use the second video in the series called “Tone”.
Prana Men’s Stretch Zion Shorts
Though I originally got these shorts for rock climbing, I find them to be PERFECT for yoga. The Prana Men’s Stretch Zion Short has a vented, gusseted inseam, which means they’ve sewn in extra material in the groin to make the shorts more flexible, plus the material itself is stretchy. I also like that they look like a normal pair of shorts that you can wear out on the town, or for going to and from yoga class.
No special recommendations here, other than it’s good for the environment if you don’t buy a new plastic bottle for each class. I didn’t even think too much about that until I did my first yoga teacher training in Mexico, and every time we went swimming in the beautiful blue ocean there, we were swimming among thousands of plastic bottles and bags. I’d prefer glass bottles, but I’m afraid of breaking them in class, so I usually use metal.
Your Favorite Comfortable T-Shirt
Comfort is the name of the game when you are doing a physical practice, so wear some thing you like on top. Simple.
I hope this advice helps you guys just getting stared, I know I wish I had found an article like this for my beginner yoga practice. Keep at it, I find yoga to have infinite possibilities for finding health, happiness, and personal transformation and I hope you do to!
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