Create your own home shala
As we are now all practicing yoga at home, I thought I’d compile a little list of the things you need to help you have the best studio experience in your living rooms.
The first thing you need, obviously, is a mat. There are loads of places where you can get relatively decent cheap mats delivered to your door, Decathlon included. However, I will say that if you’re prepared to spend a little bit more on a good mat you will notice the difference in your practice immeasurably. I invested in a Lululemon mat before I went to Sri Lanka on my teacher training. Believe me, I am not good at ever spending money on myself. I had to dig deep to fork over fifty quid (and that was with a 35% discount) for a rectangular piece of rubber. But I have honestly never looked back since.
I adore my mat. There is nothing more annoying than your feet slipping when you’re in Warrior 2. But now I can press down hard into my feet and feel how that allows me to lift up more out of my waist. Even a simple downward facing dog is made better by my mat; I can press more into my hands and feet without fear of slipping and get more length along my spine.
It all comes down to the grip factor, which the cheaper mats just can’t offer because it’s expensive to produce.
There are a plethora of mats out there, here are just a few that I’ve either tried out personally or have had personal recommendations from friends:
Lululemon reversible – £58.00 – lululemon.co.uk
This is the mat I own. It is very heavy to lug around but there’s no need for lugging around too much now that we are all stuck at home. I’m afraid they don’t appear to have any environmental or hippy credentials. BUT I will say the grip is truly excellent. It absorbs all your sweat. I did my yoga teacher training on this mat, in the Sri Lankan humidity, and didn’t slip around once. It’s also been used almost every day for the last three years and is still in great nick. What I love about this mat too is that it’s one of the thickest out there, which I have to say is great on me old knees…
180cm x 66cm
Liforme – £100.00 upwards (some of them are £135 SHOCK FACE EMOJI) – liforme.com
These are the mats favoured by the Instagram posse. They’re extremely good mats, featuring a system of lines and markings to help you work out where you should put your feet and hands during yoga poses which some of my students have said they’ve found very useful. They are also biodegradable, non-toxic and PVC-free so tick all the hippy boxes. But they’re very expensive, which is why most yoga teachers don’t actually own one…!
185cm long x 68cm
Yogi Bare £68.99 yogi-bare.co.uk
Yogi Bare paws mats are created from a sustainable natural rubber base and an eco PU rubber upper layer. They are biodegradable, their packaging is recyclable and they also donate to a marine conservation society. If I were buying again I would probably get one of these but thankfully my mat is still going strong and I reckon will last me for several more years. Fingers crossed when the time comes for me to buy a new mat, all the mats on the market will be made sustainably.
180cm long x 66cm
Sweaty Betty – £65 – sweatybetty.com
This mat is said to have great grip. It’s a bit lighter than its rivals at just 2kg and yet still 4mm thick. Biodegradable and eco-friendly too. I’m not too sure why I don’t see a lot of these around. Maybe they’re new? Anyone who has used one please let me know.
The website didn’t say the size but reckon the usual mat size
Manduka – £100 and upwards – these are Dutch mats and can be bought from various stockists
There was a time when these were the mats everyone used but they’re so crazy expensive I’m not sure who these people were! They’re a LOT heavier at 3.4kg but they’re thicker too at 6mm. The thicker the mat the better in my opinion. Non-toxic, emissions-free manufacturing too (whatever that means).
The next thing you need to enhance your home yoga practice is props. These are not expensive and will honestly make such a difference. I suggest buying two blocks or bricks and a strap. You can use a dressing gown belt or a man’s tie as a strap but if you ever need to loop it then it obviously helps to have a proper yoga strap with a buckle.
Decathlon – decathlon.co.uk
Yoga foam blocks – £4.99
Cork brick –£6.99
Yoga strap –£3.99
Yoga matters – yogamatters.com
Foam bricks – £7.00
Cork brick –£12.00
Yoga belts 2m – £6.00
Finally, I know when I am doing my own home practice I try to make the space look like a shala (except for that first live stream I had to do in my son’s room!). I have a couple of crystals that I’ll place near my mat as well as a plant or two, I’ll play a playlist and often burn some incense or a candle. It helps me to clear my mind a little and get into the right mood. But then I am becoming a raging hippy in my old age so maybe that’s just me.
Namaste all xx