Practicing yoga has many benefits. Stretching your wallet? That’s not one of them.
Celebrities and big lifestyle brands make it seem like you need special clothes, and that you need to attend trendy and expensive classes to effectively practice yoga.
But guess what? Yoga is one of the few fitness activities that you don’t need to drop a lot of cash on. All you need is some basic instruction, a soft place to stand, and the willingness to practice.
If the cost of yoga makes you say “ow” instead of “om,” check out these tips:
People have been practicing yoga for centuries without needing a pricey mat. Sure, a mat is helpful for stability and for easing pressure points on the body. But if you’re interested in starting yoga, a carpeted floor is a good place to start.
If you feel you need something between you and the floor, a simple bath towel can act as a mat. Though it doesn’t have the beneficial stickiness of a typical yoga mat, it will add some cushioning and act to define your space.
If you do decide to purchase a mat, do your research. Remember, cheap can be expensive too. Some low-cost mats can actually become slippery and will not serve their purpose. It’s better to make a one-time purchase on a good mat than to continually replace low-quality mats.
A yoga class is a great place to receive instruction, guidance and pointers on positioning. But you don’t have to drop $10 to $20 dollars a class to practice. For the slightly more experienced yoga enthusiast, there are lots of options out there that cost next to nothing.
Many yoga studios offer community classes priced at a low price, or on a sliding scale.
Keep an eye out for new yoga studios opening up near you. They will often offer low-cost introductory packages to get people excited to attend, and to build clientele.
The internet is a great resource for finding sessions for free. Check out free podcasts or videos. These give you the ability to follow an instructor without having to spend any money. You can easily pick and choose what session you want to do that day. Try and test them out.
The first thing you notice at a yoga class is that there are a lot of accessories: Blocks, straps, balls, and blankets. No need to shell out for them. A big, hardcover book on its side can act as a block, while a sturdy belt or scarf can serve as a strap.
A clean cotton blanket that won’t make you sneeze is as good as any other when it comes to protecting knees or relaxing at the end of your practice. Some instructors use hard rubber balls to loosen up tense muscles and tackle trigger points. A tennis ball or any hard rubber ball will do the job just as well, as long as it’s comfortable and effective.
Designer yoga clothes may give an aura of peaceful chic, but they’re not really necessary to practice. When it comes to clothing, all you need is something comfortable and breathable, that allows for easy movement.
An old (but not baggy) T-shirt and gym shorts are perfectly fine to wear for yoga. Leggings are leggings, it really doesn’t matter. Leave the expensive yoga threads on the rack and focus on your practice, not on your fashion.
Yoga is about your own personal practice and how you feel while doing it, not about paying top dollar for the most expensive products available.
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Lindsay Goldwert is Senior Editor at Stash.