Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
One of the best things about the practice of yoga is that you don’t really need anything to do it. Sure, props are nice, yoga mats keep you from slipping, and yoga clothes might make you more comfortable–but you can still practice if you don’t have any of these things. It’s a comforting thought that you were born with everything you need to do yoga.
Here are 5 things that yoga does require:
1. An open mind. Yoga is an exploration of who you are, and who you are becoming. You might not always like what you find, but in order to grow, you have to be willing to explore the unpleasant, accept it, and love it anyway.
2. The willingness to look silly. A new yoga pose can make even the most experienced, athletic yoga student look silly. If you want to be a yoga student, you have to understand that yoga isn’t about how you look–it’s about how you feel and what you feel.
3. An adventurous spirit. A yoga practice session is a new adventure every single time. One day your backbends feel spacious and light, the next day they’re constricted and confined. Being open to the exploration of whatever journey your practice will take you on that day is far more rewarding than holding yourself to a set of expectations.
4. A sense of humor. If you can’t laugh at yourself when you fall down, when you look impossibly ungraceful in a new pose, or when your belly grumbles or otherwise makes itself known, yoga won’t be nearly as enjoyable for you as it could be.
5. Body, breath, and spirit. The most important thing you need for yoga is YOU. You need your body, breath, mind, and spirit. Paying attention to how you feel during different moments, different levels of intensity, and different kinds of situations–this is what the practice is all about for me. And you don’t even need to be doing a pose to do that!