Whether you’ve been to a class and borrowed a worn mat or this is your first time and you want to practise at home, a good quality yoga mat and accessories can make a big difference to your continued motivation to learn and practise yoga. And with so many mats and accessories made from different materials and at varying price points it’s hard to know where to begin. The simplest way forward is to start with a complete yoga set, like this one from Venice Beach Pro Fitness.
I’m a recent convert to yoga as exercise thanks to Dean Pohlman’s excellent book Yoga for Men. It’s a no-nonsense guide with over fifty postures coupled to several challenging workouts. This is the book I’ve been using with this yoga set over the last few weeks as I get to grips with yoga and the mat set.
What hits you first is the colour, a striking rich blue. When rolled open you can see and feel textured surfaces on the top and bottom. Size wise it’s 183 x 61cm (6 ft long). I’m 5’8”, so it’s just about right for me as I lie in corpse pose.
So how does it feel? After every day it felt very good to use. It’s 6mm thick with good cushioning. I used it on carpet and a lino floor and it held well. The top side has a pattern across the whole surface which provides really good grip under your bare feet, and the back side has a wavy pattern, which holds it in place on the floor.
My last mat was about 3mm thick, a cheap PVC mat, and it was hard work on the knees, so this new mat is a nice upgrade. When I performed downward facing dogs or warrior poses the mat didn’t move and gripped the floor well. I’ve been using it for general fitness workouts too because the grippy soft surface is great for lunging. After working up a sweat, I find it’s also easy to wipe a damp cloth over it. The mat is really comfortable too that I sometimes found myself just relaxing on it.
Blocks are useful when you don’t quite have the flexibility or reach for certain poses (asanas). This is typically the poses where your hamstrings might be tight that when you bend over you can’t quite reach the floor. Blocks give you that extra support whilst helping you learn to maintain good form.
This set comes with two medium density blue foam blocks measuring 3 x 6 x 9”. The foam is soft in the hand, not hard like bamboo, so it feels comfortable when I lean and grab them. The edges too are contoured on all sides which feels good in the hand.
I did notice however that the blocks will mark if scratched with nails whilst using and this seems quite common. In practical use it wasn’t affected and still did the job without any problems.
As I’m still a beginner I find blocks really useful, especially with something like the triangle pose, since my hamstrings aren’t flexible just yet. It makes the almost impossible possible and prevents frustration setting in when I try to align my limbs!
Another one of the accessories included is a soft blue cotton strap. Length is very long at 244cm, with a double “D” ring on one end. I used the strap mainly for the seated forward bend, leg stretch, and boat pose. The strap worked really well, I could pull hard on it without any issues and I really felt the stretch! The strap is soft and well-made, with reinforced stitching on the ends.
If you thought one towel was enough, think again! This set comes with two soft blue microfibre hand towels and a towel bag. They’re a decent size, soft, plush, and they mop up sweat really well. I took one to the gym and it lasted through a very sweaty run, and this is where the towel bag came in handy.
Rounding off this set is a spacious carry/storage bag. It’s light, easy to carry, and very roomy, which makes it great for a change of t-shirt and sweatpants. On the outside is a mesh pocket which is okay for holding a few small things. It stuffs under the bed well which is where I keep it.
At the time of writing this yoga set is priced at £29.99 on Amazon. With a high-quality mat costing anywhere between £20-30 and the blocks and strap adding about another £10-15, this yoga set represents great value for money.
The mat does the job really well which is fundamental to any good yoga practise, the blocks and strap are well made and helpful, especially for beginners like me, and the towels and bag are the icing on the cake. Overall this is an excellent yoga starter set which I’ve been very happy to use over the last few weeks.
Buy yours now on Amazon! https://amzn.to/2lYSGpQ. Now you have what you need to get started practicing yoga, don’t delay! Let us know your questions and comments about yoga below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. (Check out these great yoga articles too, they contain the keys to igniting your Fit for life!)