My Yoga and Pilates Essentials

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There was a request on the Campfire Chic Facebook page for me to highlight a few of my favorite things to bring with me/use on hiking, backpacking, and camping trips. I know a few of you are starting your own yoga and/or Pilates practices or are interested in starting, so I thought I would start with sharing some of my favorite things to have with me when I go to the studio or practice at home.


Yoga Essentials - Kam Campfire Chic

I have to start this post with a bit of a confession: I am the type of person who loves to buy new (or new-to-me) gear for a new hobby so I feel more a part of it. When it came to yoga and Pilates, I had to get myself to slow down…why am I buying a $50 yoga mat if I own a $9 one and I may not keep this up after three months??


If you’re just starting out, I don’t suggest buying a ton of expensive items. Use and borrow what you can. You can do yoga in your regular leggings or comfortable shorts, you can use the $9 mat, and you probably won’t need a towel if you’re doing a yin yoga class. But if you’re like me and are looking for a few core pieces, these are what I love to use:


1. prAna Audrey Knickers

These were my first “big” investment in yoga clothing. They hit at my knee, have a smoothing waistband, and fit really well. Again, they don’t get “bunchy”. I highly recommend the Audrey knickers if you’re looking for something that isn’t a pant, may be too short for a capri, and aren’t comfortable wearing shorts.


1 1/2. (Not pictured) prAna Ashley Leggings

These leggings are a little long on me (I’m 5’ 1”), but scrunching them at my ankles actually looks intentional! They are a thicker material than basic leggings from Target, and they designed to not be “bunchy” in the lady regions. I also use these when climbing, travelling (yes, I wear leggings as pants sometimes), and lounging around the house.


2. Manduka eKO Mat

I love my mat. You want to find a mat that is special to you, that you won’t mind looking at while you’re in a tough pose, and meets your needs. My mat is fairly heavy, so it isn’t for somebody that is looking for a lightweight mat they can take anywhere. It’s heavier than my $9 mat, but there is more padding and I don’t slip the way I used to on my cheaper mat. It’s a calming green color and only one other person at my studio has it, so it is a little more special to me than my cheaper mat.


3. Gaiam foam block

I wasn’t really sure what the foam block was for when I started yoga again, I always had one next to me during my college class, but we never used it. Maybe it’s for my chakras? But now that I’m working on more balance poses and using the block during Pilates, I’m convinced that a good block means a lot. I tried the wood blocks and a more porous block (it look almost like lava rock?), but my basic Giam is perfect for me right now. I may upgrade in the future to a less ‘squishy’ block, or one that has a space in the center, but this is perfect for now. Alex uses, it too, when stretching or sitting Yoda-style on the floor.


4. Equos Mat Towel from Manduka

This is probably my most ‘do you really need that?!’ piece. I love my mat towel, it is the perfect length for my mat, spills over the edges just enough, and it’s pretty soft without letting me slip too much when in down dog. I bought the towel to use during my sweatier classes (like Bikram or flow classes held in a room that just had a power yoga class) but also sometimes bring it to Pilates. It makes it easier for me to shimmy on my mat during Pilates, and acts as…well, a towel, when I get a little sweaty. Gross, but it happens. This towel is also nice as a wrap after class and travels well in case you need a way to quickly dry off.


5. Equos Hand Towel from Manduka

I bought the hand towel after falling in love with the mat towel…and I probably should’ve purchased it before going to my first Bikram class, but you live and learn. This towel is the perfect addition to my yoga bag, especially for Pilates or a sweaty vinyasa class. It’s easy to grab and super fluffy so it’s nice to put over my face during shavasana. I imagine that this will make its way into my beach bag and on backpacking trips this summer. There are a TON of colors, so be sure to check them out…you’ll want a color that speaks to you.


6. Tennis Ball

What’s that now? A tennis ball? Yes! I think the Cross Fit world uses a Lacrosse ball? You can use a tennis ball almost like a mini foam roller (another thing I love using but only recently learned about!) for your feet and back. It really is a little miracle worker, I tell you. I highly recommend grabbing a tennis ball and using it to massage your feet after a long day in the office, on a trail, or after stuffing your feet into a new pair of climbing shoes. My studio has a bunch of tennis balls for everybody to use, but I’d rather have my own (yes, in bright pink!) so I can use it before class on my upper back.


I have a few more things I’m excited to share with you, but I’m still putting them through the paces. Expect an update in the next few months.


What are your must-have items for your Pilates or yoga practice?


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About Kam From a Beginner Gear Review Pilates Yoga

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • nikkiana April 9, 2013, 8:03 am

    I loooooooove Manduka mats, but haven’t quite gotten up the will to buy one because the studio where I do 90% of my yoga classes has them and doesn’t charge for their use, so I just end up using theirs.

    • Kam April 9, 2013, 10:35 pm

      Wow, your studio has Manduka mats available?! So cool! I love my mat so much that I’m thinking I should order the Manduka travel mat for some upcoming trips I have planned this year :D

      Borrowing is an excellent way to participate without worrying about that cost of entry. I feel like cost is a big barrier for people to get into something like yoga, I wish borrowing will help more people find their own practice.

  • Kristin - My Life as a Teacup April 9, 2013, 8:49 am

    This is PERFECT! I’m guilty of splurging when I start something too, but actually took it easy with yoga. Now that I’m comfortable with it and have worked it into my routine, there are things like blocks and towels I’ve been looking to invest in. Mainly towels for sweaty hands, because right now, there’s no way I’m making it through a hot yoga class xD

    • Kam April 9, 2013, 10:36 pm

      My hands get so sweaty sometimes! The hand towel is seriously awesome. I towel-dry my hair and sometimes use the hand towel to speed up the process since it is extra absorbent!

  • dianapantz April 9, 2013, 9:13 am

    oh man, foam rollers are the best thing on the planet.
    i think rolling after a 3 mile run is harder than the run itself!

    • Kam April 9, 2013, 10:36 pm

      If you have any foam roller resources, send them my way!

  • Holly April 9, 2013, 10:41 am

    Awesome! I’m going to my first ever yoga class toniiiiiiiiight! I’m excited. :)

    • Kam April 9, 2013, 10:37 pm

      Can’t wait to hear about it!

  • Kelsae April 10, 2013, 10:36 am

    I’ve been thinking about investing in some of those fancy non-stick yoga gloves, because my hands tend to slip when I get to down dog at the end of a rigorous vinyasa, but maybe my problem is the mat? Or maybe I should use a mat towel… I don’t know.

    The Manduka mats are WAY heavier than what I’m used to – I’m not sure if I need to add any more weight to the crap that I already haul in and out of the gym (baby + diaper bag + gym bag + yoga bag…). It’s kind of exhausting.

    • Kam April 16, 2013, 8:08 am

      My hands feel sweaty during class, too, but when I tried the cheap gloves from Giaim, I was more distracted by the gloves than anything else. I found that cleaning my mat after each class really helps with the slippage.

      Yes, it’s heavier, but I would rather have the natural rubber mat than goodness-knows in a cheaper mat. I’ll be sharing a review of my yoga bag in a few months (when it’s available for purchase) and I think you may be able to turn it into a mini-diaper bag! I’m not a mother, so I may be SUPER wrong about that, but I’ll let you decide ;)

  • Megan @ The Nerd Nest April 11, 2013, 5:29 am

    I’m still using the Gaiam beginner’s kit you recommended to me. I LOVE it! (You should comment with your affiliate link so other people can find it because it is seriously the perfect way to get started on a budget.)

    Also, you did an amazing job with the image collage. So very Pinnable (which I did).


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