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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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