Practicing Yoga Can Be (almost) Free

Yoga is Great At Home

I know when I began practicing Yoga 11 years ago I thought that I needed to pay for classes and get a lot of fancy equipment.  While I appreciate the experience I had and have built a great friendship with my original teacher, it is not the only way.  Now, I practice Yoga almost everyday for between 30-60 minutes and I live in a tiny apartment in Tokyo!  Here are some ideas that can help you begin and keep up a great yoga practice right at home, and almost free.

#1. Get A Good Quality Yoga Mat

This is the only thing that you will need to buy.  I just replaced my mat after 6 years, if you choose a good one it will last you.  You can easily wash it in the washing machine and hang it to dry out side over a lawn chair or balcony.  If you do not get a good quality mat you will find that it can tear or "shed" small pieces around your home.  The only other equipment you will need is a scarf, a hardcover book and loose, comfortable clothing (you already have a computer to use for the next step).


#2.  Set A Reasonable Goal

Goals are important for everything we do.  They are a way for us to push ourselves and a way to measure our results.  They should not be a way to punish ourselves or an avenue for un-healthy levels of self-criticism.  The goal you choose depends a lot on your experience.  If you are just starting out, a goal to do 30 minutes 2 times a week is a great challenge.  Increase the frequency and length of time depending on your experience.


#3.  Find Quality Video on YouTube

There are a lot of Yoga videos on YouTube.  Many of them are not very good, it is important that you watch the video first to get a sense of the quality and the style.  As there are many traditional styles and modern interpretations of those styles, it is a good idea to choose the ones you feel comfortable doing.  Once you have found the videos bookmark them so they are easy to come back to.   I find that it is very helpful to read a little about the person who posted the video and to choose videos with great sound quality and clear views of the postures I will be doing. 


#4.  Make Enough (Temporary) Space In Your Home

Like I said, I live in a tiny apartment in Tokyo.  In addition to my husband's home music studio equipment,  I also have a graphic design workstation... it is very difficult to dedicate permanent space for anything else. When I do yoga, I clear whatever I can away from the yoga mat.  You need to be able to stretch your arms above you and out to the sides.  You also need space the length of your mat to stretch your legs. 


#5.  Keep Track Of Your Progress

It may sound strange, but if you write notes about your experience each time you practice you can check the progress you make.  If you have written that a certain posture was difficult for your or you had trouble holding it for the full amount of time that the video recommended, and a month later that posture is completely comfortable and smooth you will feel encouraged to keep pushing yourself.  It is also a way to check to see if you are meeting the goals you set for yourself at the beginning.