I’ve harped on about my love of yoga often in this space. It’s my favourite way to move my body and I love encouraging other people to give it a try. I’ve already written about how yoga has helped me with my depression and how it can be used to encourage body confidence. Another reason that I adore yoga is that it needn’t be an expensive practice. You don’t need to shell out loads of cash for equipment or gym memberships to revel in the benefits of a yoga practice.
To begin or grow your yoga practice, there are very few things that you need. And most of them can be found very cheaply or for free if you know where to look.
Yoga mats have become really popular, but the truth is that you don’t strictly need one. I practiced for months before I bought a mat. The reason I got the mat in the first place is that I wanted to practice outdoors and a mat gave me a clean, stable surface to work on. If you’re practicing indoors you probably don’t even need a mat. However, if you find that the floor is too rough, hard or slippery you can use a towel or even a folded blanket to stretch out on.
Clothes for yoga
Although a yoga offers a great excuse to stock up on stretchy pants and racer-back tanks, these fancy duds won’t improve your practice. All you really need are some comfortable clothes that you can move easily in. I’m sure you’ve got a pair of leggings or shorts and a tee shirt kicking about in your wardrobe that will do the trick.
A lot of classes use blocks to help students to ease into different poses. The blocks are a great way to give you a bit more space and support when learning new poses. If you can’t quite reach the floor, you just pop a block under your hand to bring the ground up to you. Blocks can also be used to support knees in lunge poses, to sit on to give your hips more space to open and many other uses. If you don’t have a block, a couple of thick books will do just as well. Dictionaries are ideal.
Bolsters are used for restorative yoga to offer support and comfort in resting poses. I made my own bolsters for about $5 using and old pair of pajama pants. I just cut the legs off the pants, sewed both ends together and stuffed them. If you aren’t handy with a needle and thread, a folded-up blanket or towel can be used in place of a bolster.
If you’re working on improving your flexibility, a strap can be really helpful. Just loop it over your feet and hold onto the ends and work your hands slowly down the strap, trying to reach a bit further each day. Your wardrobe is probably stocked with items that can be used instead of a strap: ties, belts and scarves all work well. Choose something that doesn’t have a lot of stretch to it and which won’t tear under pressure.
Joining a gym or attending regular yoga classes can be very pricey. But you can cultivate a home practice using the awesomeness that is Youtube. There are literally thousands of free yoga classes on Youtube which you can access in your very own home. My favourite channels are Yoga with Adriene, Psychetruth and Leigha Butler. Both Yoga with Adriene and Psychtruth have a range of videos targeted at different levels, whereas Leigha Butler’s channel is a bit more advanced. But have a browse and experiment with different videos until you’ve found some that you like.
So you see, you don’t have to be flush with cash to get into some asanas and pranayama. Just use what you have and develop a practice that suits your lifestyle.
Pssst! You might also like to read my tips for improving your yoga practice.