I love yoga stuff. Each yoga mat, Om sign necklace, and yoga top I own is like a precious souvenir collected on an amazing yogic adventure. But, I also know that yoga is not about the "stuff" I collect. In fact, one of the best things about the practice is that you don't actually have to have any gear--just your body, mind, and breath.
However, even you don't need stuff to practice yoga, there are certainly a few things that make it more pleasant, more convenient, and more accessible. In my mind, the best props are the things that allow you to keep your mind on the practice. These are my essentials I bring along for a weekend workshop or for those times when I'm going to run errands all day before I make it to the studio.
A Change of Clothes. Unless I know I'm going straight home after class, I bring along a change of clothes.
A Towel. Have you ever sweat so much in a yoga class that your sticky mat is more like a slip-n-slide? Yeah, me too. Sure, it's kind of funny when your hands and feet slide out from under you in Down Dog and you land flat on your belly ... but it's not exactly recommended. (Trust me. I've done it multiple times.) So any time I'm going to be practicing in a heated room or taking a vigorous class, I always bring a towel to wipe off my hands and feet, arms and legs, and give me extra stability when my mat becomes a hot, slippery mess.
A Water Bottle. Water is especially important after an hour and a half of working up a sweat.
A Healthy Snack. I often lay in Savasana and dream of juicy fruits, salads, quinoa, avocado, and a variety of other healthy foods. Asana makes me crave healthy foods. After class, I'm often tempted to head straight to the health-food store. Unfortunately, impulse health-food shopping is a budget buster for me. If I simply bring along a piece of fruit, I can take my carefully planned out list, reusable bags, and coupons to the store later.
Eye Pillow. Nothing helps me relax like a cool, soothing eye pillow (and nothing grosses me out like those shared eye pillows at a yoga studio). I bring my own. And I use it for restorative poses and, of course, Savasana.
BONUS: An open mind. I know you can't actually carry this around in a bag, but I think it's the most important thing you can bring with you to a yoga class. Being OK with the teacher who shows up, the poses that he guides you through, and the body you have (because we're different every time we practice) is key to being a yoga student.
What's in your yoga bag?