This isn’t the type of post I would normally write, but a surprising number of students have expressed curiosity about what I bring with me to teach yoga. For some reason, the contents of the yoga instructor’s gym bag are always of interest to my students, particularly my teenagers. It always makes me laugh when my students are peeking to steal a glimpse of what I brought along for my day at work. I know I’ve said it before, but yoga does not require a lot of gear. However, there are definitely ways to add some comfort to a day of teaching.
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HERBIVORE FACE MIST
This spray is my post class toner, cooling spray, and freshener all in one. Teaching is sweaty business, and I’m often not super fresh after one class, let alone 4. It’s nice to freshen up a bit between teaching. It also feels symbolic to me like cleansing away the last class so that I can be fully present for the next. The super light floral scent also helps.
Price: $16.00 for a 2 oz bottle
L’OREAL ELNETT SATIN HAIRSPRAY
I have super smooth pin straight hair that loves to poof up in heat. Updo’s slide right out and wearing my hair down has me looking like Sideshow Bob half way through class. Then this hairspray came waltzing (mailed) into my life from heaven (or a subscription box) and my hair has actually been able to survive class. It’s not sticky at all, but has serious holding power. It’s not perfect, but it’s by far the best hairspray I have ever used.
Yes, most studios have straps available, but I will let you in on a dirty little secret (emphasis on dirty) those straps are rarely cleaned, and even more rarely cleaned well. I have seen studios pick up the strap basket and just spritz some Lysol in there completely neglecting the straps at the bottom or the inner area of the straps. It’s a little gross. I always bring my own. This is the set that I usually recommend because for a few dollars more than a strap, you also get 2 blocks.
This is a personal one, and everyone has a trusted brand, and this is mine. On days that I’m teaching multiple classes, I always bring a clinical strength deodorant so that I don’t have to worry about reapplying.
TARTE GYM DAY SET
I don’t like to wear a lot of makeup when I teach. I work with a lot of teens and specialize in self-esteem building, so it sends mixed messages if I show up caked to the max. This set is a great toss in the bag for improvement while still looking natural. It’s not full blown makeup by any means, but the moisturizer gives a little highlighting sparkle without looking over the top. The makeup removing wipes are great for cleaning up before or after class. Admittedly, the mascara is not my favorite and I don’t use it often outside of teaching. It does, however, serve the purpose and leaves my lashes looking natural and fanned.
If a water bottle exists that can rival S’well, I haven’t found it yet. I can teach for 4 hours and still have ice cubes in my water bottle. They are not cheap, but they are so worth it. The lids are not the most convenient, but that’s what allows them to keep everything so cold. Plus, they come in lots of fun colors and designs.
A quality absorbent towel is a must for teaching. Somehow I always end up sweaty after class, even if I didn’t move along with my students. Like the face spray, I love to wipe down as much as I can and cleanse away the last class to start fresh at the next. If I have plans after teaching and can’t get to a shower, it’s a definite plus to whisk away the sweat. This brand is my favorite hand/body towel of those I have tried thus far. You can also get a matching hand towel and mat towel to prevent slipping during hot yoga.
Price: $8.95 for hand towel $24.97 for hand towel/mat towel combo
Whether you borrow a studio mat or bring your own, cleaning the mat is just good manners. I always cleanse pre and post class, because I love the way this cleanser smells. Plus, at savasana would you rather smell lavender or days worth of sweaty feet? I like this set because it comes with a towel that is very gentle on your mat. Some of the wipes available are very abrasive and can shorten the lifespan of your mat.
I don’t bust this out in all of my classes because some of my students are very sensitive to smell. However, many of my students enjoy using my oils and can find one to target a problem that they are experiencing. I usually bring a bag full with several choices for them to try before purchasing their own. In small classes I will sometimes add some essential oil to almond oil and give them a little foot massage during savasana. And, to be real and honest, sometimes I need a minute to take in the focus essential oil before class.
Price: $18.99 for the set
It’s usually a safe bet that I will have a book on me at any given moment. I love to read and I usually keep a few around just in case. Calm is a book of soothing photography and quotes. I have formed a sort of game where I try to incorporate a quote from it into each class that I teach. The photographs are beautiful and calming, and have served as inspiration for guided meditations and relaxation exercises. Untethered Soul is a book that I keep on me so that I can pass it off to students. I will often announce that I am leaving it at the front of the room and if anyone is struggling and would like to read it they are welcome to borrow it. I have read it a few times and 99% of my students who read it have loved it as much as I do. Mindfulness On The Go has been a great way for me to show my students how they can work mindfulness into their everyday life. No matter how many times I tell them that they don’t need me, many of them only practice it when I lead a session. To remedy this, I have used this book to create mindfulness homework. I give them an exercise that they can do at home or work without my help.
Price: Calm is only available used starting at $2.11, Untethered Soul $14.73, Mindfulness On The Go $10.62
So there you have it! That is everything I have in my yoga bag at the moment! What do you keep in yours?