When beginners first enter the world of yoga, they can usually get by quite comfortably with some simple loose-fitting clothes and a basic yoga mat. A simple T-shirt and pair of track suit bottoms or leggings are ample in the early yoga sessions.
However, if you decide to really throw yourself into yoga and you begin to take it more seriously, you'll soon be considering buying a few yoga accessories and props.
This ultimately leads to the question: 'Do I need a yoga bag?' And if so, should you be buying one which just hold your mat, or one which can hold a few accessories also?
Admittedly you could just tie you mat up with a piece or string or bind it with the few elastic bands - but that's a pretty tacky way of doing things. When you start to take yoga seriously you should, at the minimum, invest in a proper yoga strap - these are relatively inexpensive and will hold your mat more securely and tidily.
A yoga mat strap is a simple alternative to a proper yoga bag - they are often used by beginners who have just taken up yoga and want a basic accessory to keep their mat folded and compact when not in use.
Most popular yoga mat bags are designed to be worn over the shoulder and should be able to accommodate any thickness of yoga mat, while remaining light and comfortable to carry. Some also feature full length zips for easy access, adjustable shoulder straps, while others may have Many internal and external pockets to protect your personal items during your classes.
Yoga mat straps are a great yoga accessory if you don’t have a great distance to go to your yoga sessions or if you don’t want to incur the added cost of buying a proper yoga mat bag.
A mat strap consists of a shoulder harness and two buckled or velcro loops that wrap around a rolled up yoga mat.
In the past, these yoga mat straps were more suited to the thinner yoga mats, but these days yoga mat straps are available in a variety of different sizes, colours and styles to suit any desire or budget – and can even handle thick yoga mats.
A yoga bag is a significant improvement on a simple yoga strap and there are many benefits to owning one.
A key benefit relates to hygiene – a yoga bag will help to keep your mat protected from dust, dirt and moisture so it will be in pristine condition when you attend your next class. It won't be exposed to the elements when you are outdoors in the way a minimal protection yoga strap is.
You can expect your yoga mat to last a lot longer if it's protected in a suitable bag. It's also much more convenient to carry a mat around in a specially designed bag, rather than simply tucking it under your arm.
Another benefits of a yoga bag is that it let's you keep everything yoga-related together - so you won't need to go hunting around the house gathering up all your accessories and props before heading off to your next yoga class.
A yoga bag, backpack, rucksack or holdall is the perfect solution to holding your mat, water bottle, towel, yoga block or bolster, mat wipes and any other accessories you own when you are visiting your local gym or health club for a yoga class.
If you have a lot of accessories you may need to consider buying a yoga backpack, complete with shoulder straps for easy carrying, which has loads of room inside and also ties on the side to hold your yoga mat firmly in place.
You should ensure you buy a bag which comes with plenty of pockets for storage - those accessories can really add up after a while!
It's also wise to buy a bag that's not too heavy - ideally it should be lightweight, but still durable, to comfortably hold your mat, towels, cleaning spray. blocks and anything else in your array of yoga accessories.
If you purchase a bag that’s too small, there's a serious risk you'll outgrow it pretty soon - especially if you become a devoted fan of yoga!
These bags are available in various materials including faux leather, toughened plastic, satin, silk, organic cotton with Kantha embroidery, luxurious bamboo twill, canvas sailcloth and jute. Many bags are water-resistant in case you get caught in a downpour on your way to yoga classes. Some are even made from recycled rice and feed bags.
They come with a range of attractive patterns and designs. Popular choices of colour include blue, red, green pink, brown, orange, purple, yellow, black, white and beige.
Leading brand names for yoga mat bags include Calming Breath, Yoga Malai, DoYourYoga, Yoga Addict, YogaAddict, Lotuscrafts, Yogamatters and YogaStudio.