When I mention the idea of bringing yoga into someone’s life.. I always seem to be given the response of not having enough money or time.
Yoga studio memberships can be an excessive expense for sure. An hour to an hour and a half class can be an excessive time consumption even more so.
But, what if I told you… you don’t have to have any money to practice yoga?
What if I told you that you could do it from your own home for however long you want to?
That’s what I do anyway.
At no financial cost to me.
I wake up in the morning and roll out my mat when I can. I make a goal to do my morning yoga practice 4 out of 5 weekdays before work.
Now, if you haven’t been to many classes yourself, you might wonder how on earth you are supposed to practice without a teacher.
I am so glad to tell you that there are so many yoga teachers out there that offer free videos and explanations on different things and sequences you can do on your mat.
Some examples include:
Once you explore and see what exactly it is that you want to learn, you can first do your sequence on your mat, following the videos, and then eventually do it on your own. It is important to remember, there is no right or wrong way to practice yoga, only a right and wrong way for you. Just listen to your body and try to connect each movement you make to a breathe.
To be transparent, I now belong to a gym where they do offer a small amount of yoga classes taught by 200-hour registered yoga teachers. I aim to go there one or two times a week. However, when I first moved to the North Jersey area, I did not have any membership (yoga or gym) for two months. During those two months, and still now, it is crucial for me to roll out my mat in the morning, or whenever I can, to get flowing and breathing. And the best part is, I usually enjoy my home practice more than the classes anyway. I find this is because I can blast the music I want and can give my body exactly what it wants (hips openers, backbends, twists, folds, meditation, breathwork, etc.) rather than having the teacher be my guide for my practice. I love being my own guide. And I hope you find yourself doing the same.
Now that we’ve covered how you can have the physical yoga practice (asana) be very present in your life, I would also like to enlighten those of you who believe you have to have at least an hour a yoga session available.
The truth is, you don’t. Yoga doesn’t have to be an all or nothing kind of thing. I feel that yoga is very present in my life, and I only attend 1, maybe 2, “formal” one hour yoga classes a week. The rest.. I do on my own, and under a half hour in my house.
Most mornings I actually only fit in 5-10 minutes! And I tell you that I still feel the difference and still have a better day because of those 5-10 minutes. Other times, I can do the full half hour and I feel even better.
It depends what your body needs and what you are looking for. Do you need some low back relief? Do you need some time to yourself? Do you need to calm your nervous system and your brain? Do you need to twist out anything that you no longer want to hold onto? Do you need to open your heart or open your hips to create more space and light?
All of these needs will warrant a different amount of time on your mat.
Here, google can be your friend. Simply google, “Yoga poses to open hips,” or “Twisting yoga poses,” or “Yoga poses for low back relief.” You will find some amazing poses and some days you might need to actually stay in those certain poses for 3-5 minutes, rather than flow quickly through many poses.
It is my belief that everyone on this earth can dedicate 5 minutes a day to their yoga practice. The time is not the issue. You need to ask yourself, “Is this a high priority for me right now?” If it is high, make a commitment to yourself. Remove 5 minutes of an activity that is less of a priority to make room for 5 minutes of yoga. If you find yourself saying that your yoga practice is a low priority, say it to yourself out loud. “Practicing 5 minutes of yoga to relieve (insert ailment here) and to bring in peace and clarity into my life is not a priority to me.” If that statement feels settling, then come back to this idea in the near future. If that statement doesn’t feel right, then I suggest you be honest with yourself about your priorities.
We covered the how long and the when, and now we’ll look at the where. When it comes to yoga mats, here is a wonderful resource that conducted research to find the top 10 best yoga mats: http://www.reviews.com/best-yoga-mat/
Their study involved spending 6 weeks testing 30 mats to come up with the top 10. From browsing their site, you can see which best fits your needs, which could include being low-maintenance, eco-friendly, non-slip, or cost-effective.
I will share with you that the mat I use is “The Mat” from lululemon that I purchased when I was previously an employee there. A representative from the Reviews.com team had shared with me that at the time of their research, lululemon’s “The Mat” was not in stock online, so they had to take it off of the list. Once it is in stock, they will be sure to update.
If you are interested in more information on lululemon’s mat, you can always ask me. And if you are in the need of a quick, inexpensive, possibly temporary mat just to get you started, you can find low-priced mats at 5 Below, Target, Walmart, etc! And to be completely honest- you can even practice yoga on hardwood/wooden floors in your home and towels in your yard. It might not be the best, but the truest thing of all is that all you need to practice yoga is your body and your breathe.
I wish you the best in your yoga practice, no matter what that might look like, where it might be, or how long it might last per session! Only you know what’s best for your yoga practice and for your life right now!