I get that this post is inherently conflicted. I'm sending mixed messages with the whole "Less stuff/Shopping guide" business. Bear with me - I hope to arrive at a coherent point somewhere down the page.
I'm convinced we need less stuff. A few years ago Kim and I pared down our wardrobes (and our lives) to a more minimal way of being. I have survived on two tan jeans, two blue jeans, two white shirts and two blue shirts for about 4 years. I have a suit or two, for court. But my wardrobe now actually fits inside a wardrobe.
Yoga - like pretty much every other activity on earth - offers a lot of opportunities for one to spend money. There's the classes, the mat, the towel, the blocks, the lulu lemon outfit, water bottle, yogi-toes, bolsters, blankets, straps, eye-pillows, and on and on ...
There's even a therapy chair ($30 each), which looks for all the world like a folding chair ($19 each) one might find in a cafeteria or meeting hall. Sure the more expensive "therapy chair" is backless, which - by my accounting - means you're paying someone just over ten bucks to leave out a key component of the chair.
My point is this: there are a lot of things you can spend money on in this yoga space.
I once took in a practice in a small city park in Amarillo, TX with my friend Andrea Price. She guided me through a private practice with a mat and nothing more. I've moved through the poses on a pool deck in Costa Rica with no mat, no block, nothing at all but a pair of shorts and a full heart. It really doesn't take much to maintain a solid, useful, and joyful practice.
Shopping list for yogis:
Private Lessons - Invest in some one on one training. It helps, a lot.
Good Mat - This will last you a long time. Make it a one-time purchase. Make it a good one. (I like this one.)
Monthly unlimited class package at your local studio
Now go practice.