Updated: May 1, 2021
There's a plethora of products to choose from, especially now that studios are closed and people are buying home equipment. Here's my personal experience & recommendations (no bias or sponsorship with free products on these).
Good to have: A non-slip mat; 2 blocks; a strap
Nice to have: bolster (eg. Yogamatters) - but personally I use firm pillows at home
Fun Extras: scroll to bottom.
These days I use double cushioning at home: a cheap on bottom, non stick on top! I use a sticky mat by Yogamatters (even cheaper one from Sports Direct will do, but it will be less good on its own) and a non slip rubber mat on top: either Liforme, Lululemon or Jade. All my detailed tips are below.
Cork bricks are my favourites, Yogamatters do good ones. But foam bricks will also do, eg. from TK Maxx or YogiBare, they are cheaper, but less firm.
I bought mine from eBay for 2.49. I wanted a cotton one, you can get synthetic ones even cheaper. When it comes to belts my experience is that any will do, but cotton feels better in the hand, then again, you only hold a belt for about 5 breaths...
DETAILS: My top tips from £6-£70:
- Look for a rubber/TPE mat. Most mats from sports stores are PVC which are inherently more slippery; natural rubber has proper grip (sometimes even too much) and is also natural and therefor more sustainable
- For home practice buy a thicker (5-6mm) mat. Or buy a cheaper thick mat and a non-slip travel mat on top. My personal experience is that the travel mats are never enough to practice on comfortably anyway, so I always need something under them even when travelling, or I may as well just travel with my thick heavy mat. The light mats only work for me for travel if there's another mat waiting for me to put as my base where I'm going (eg a studio).
- Try before you buy (for post-lockdown). Some yoga studios like Triyoga let you try out the mats that they sell, eg, Manduka, Jade etc. - just ask at reception before taking a class and you can trial the more expensive mats before committing to the cost. Lululemon also let you try out their mats in store anytime and at their free weekly classes. Check their fb page for their class schedule.
- if you're willing to spend min. £50 on a mat that will last you I recommend Lululemon or Liforme. I've never had to look further since getting my lululemon 3mm Reversible Mat (for travel) and my Liforme 5mm for home. Choose the thickness/weight ratio that works for you, this mat will not let you slip whether it is light and 1.5mm or 5mm. They also do extra large mats for taller people.
- my man prefers my Jade yoga mat (3mm) - these are more breathable and great if you sweat a lot.
- other teacher friends like Manduka mats, used by both Triyoga and Life Centre studios, but personally i find these slippery.
- I have found and used good rubber mats Yogi Bare at my studios. Haven't purchased one but they hold up well at The Lodge Space for example under heavy use. Kindred Yoga and Level Six studios both use the slightly more expensive standard Lululemon mats, which feel very similar to me.
- I have seen cheaper mats at TK Maxx or from Calmia online but haven't personally bought these.
- Practice makes strong: I did my first 2 weeks intensive teacher training on an old Yogamatters Sticky mat. These are NOT as non-slip as the rubber mats, but I found the more I practiced the less I slipped and the less the mat mattered. At £17 these are good value which is why so many studios choose these as their studio standard mats. That said you can get something very similar at Calmia's sale for £6 which will probably suffice as a practice mat if you're not sure how much you wish to invest into a mat at this stage.
Yoga wheel / dharma wheel - Yogi Bare supply some for a one of my studios, and I bought a no brand one from Amazon for around £10. Both work perfectly, Yogi Bare's is a prettier design.
Eye pillows with lavender - make your own or amazon it!
Do you have any tips or recommendations? I'm all ears.