We’re talking about whether you have no money or very little money to spend on doing Yoga. Doing Yoga on a tight budget is 100% possible. It isn’t just for those who have a lot of disposable income!
No, you don’t need to worry about all these brand names. I know we have a lot associated with Yoga, but most of them aren’t necessary at all. And often times, they aren’t actually better! So let’s get started
First things first, mats. If you can afford to go to a class, they usually have extra mats for people who forget or don’t have one. They’re there for you to use. While many studios ask that you clean off the mats after you use them, it’s not so bad if you don’t have to invest in your own.
I find that it’s pretty important to invest in a good mat. Cheap mats can start falling apart, slide, or be super flat. Instead of buying a cheap mat you’ll have to replace there are a few options you can use at home.
- A towel: A lot of the well practiced Yogis in India use something simple like a towel, in fact. It offers a barrier between you and the floor. Keep in mind they can slide, since they don’t have grip like a mat would. Be careful if you’re using it on wood floors, a towel is probably best on carpet or grass! (Bonus, a towel is much easier to wash than a mat too, so why not use it instead of a mat on grass or surfaces like that?)
- A blanket: This is pretty similar to a towel, just larger. You’ll have more room to work with too! I suggest the same precautions as a towel and similar uses.
- An area rug: If you have an area rug already, this can be a pretty great substitute. Most area rugs are made so they don’t slip, but they also sell rug pads to help your rug from slipping. (I highly suggest one of these if you have a rug that doesn’t stick to the floor for everyday life.) An area rug is also nice if you only have tile or a floor that you really don’t want to be walking or sitting on. You can still roll out a mat on top of it as well.
- Nothing: You can also do Yoga on the floor. If it’s safe and comfortable for you, there’s not reason you can’t do this. Just whip our the vacuum or broom first to be safe.
Props can be super pricey too, and most of the time, people don’t use them at home to do Yoga. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love using them when I can, but it’s not always necessary.
- Blocks: Blocks are great, they have all sorts of uses, but they’re not always cheap. Plus there are so many kinds, it’s best to try out as many as you can before buying one. In the mean time, I recommend a book. You can use them to sit on or place your hand on for support. Please don’t use a library book though!
- Blankets: There’s really no alternative here, and I hope you already have one of these lying around! The most common style I see in people’s houses specifically for Yoga is a Traditional Mexican Blanket, but you by no means need a specific type of blanket. If none of your blankets work, you can also use a towel, especially if you just need to fold it a few times to sit on the edge, or to cover that book you’re sitting on.
- Bolsters: I don’t even own one of these. I just use pillows and blankets instead. I found a whole list of uses for body pillows too! Many pillows or cushions can work, you just have to find what works for you. It’s also nice because pillows give you more wiggle room and option to change. Sometimes I stack them and use them.
- Straps: Straps tend not to be too expensive, so if you really want one and you have a couple extra bucks you can order one! Like everything else though, it’s probably not necessary. If you have a normal belt for keeping your pants up, you can use that, I’d suggest a cloth one. They’re often even made out the same material. Keep in mind you want it to be comfortable when you hold it. Anything works really though, a shirt that doesn’t stretch too much, and pair of jeans… a towel (what a multi-tool!)
Once you have the tools, we need to find a place to practice! All you really need is enough space to move around, and we don’t move too far in Yoga. This could be at the foot of your bed, or maybe you’ll need to move a table out of the way so you can practice. Here are some suggestions to spruce up the place a little so you get that “Yoga feel”.
- Lighting: Adjust the lights as you see fit. This may mean leaving the light off in one room and turning it off in the neighboring room. It would be great if we all had dimmers in our house, but that’s often not the case. Play around with it, but try not to let it get too dark, it’s probably best you can still see.
- Candles: If you’re struggling with lighting, or just like candles, they can really set a calm mood. If you can spend a few dollars, they can be super cheap in so many places. Plus they come in all sorts of sizes, scents, and colors! A candle can also give you a point to look at if you choose to meditate. (Fun Fact: The point you look at is often called a Drishti. The act of gazing at a point is called Trataka.)
- Plants: If you have one, move it into the room you’ll be practicing in! Plants can also be super cheap too, and you can buy them at your local drug store sometimes.
So all this is great, but what if you want to take a class? Yoga alone can be nice, but it’s also pretty nice to have an instructor.
- Videos/Blogs: YouTube is your friend. Not only are these classes free, but by watching the ads, liking the videos, commenting and subscribing, you’re still helping out the teacher! I’m totally happy to interact in the comments section as well. There are tons of blogs out there dedicated to yoga too, and the communities online can be so fantastic. Just because it’s not in person, doesn’t mean there isn’t the chance of creating a relationship between different people!
- Colleges/Universities: If you’re a student, then check out your classes and see if a yoga class is offered. (Keep in mind it can effect your grades, not that they’ll fail you.) If you’re not in school, you can still enroll in your local community college! This also gives you freedom not to worry about your grades, just let your instructor know what’s up if you don’t plan on being there consistently. Plus, some teachers are willing to fail students who won’t be effected so that they can re-enroll in the course. (Or they allow for students to continue coming even if you aren’t enrolled.)
- Drop-ins: Find a studio you like with a reasonable drop-in rate. Obviously this isn’t smart to do all the time, and some studios may have higher drop in fees, but some places are only $5, and if you only plan on going once in a blue moon, it’s not a bad idea! (Especially compared to buying 200 classes for $150, but they all expire next month…)
- Free in person classes: No, I’m not kidding. They do exist! I’ve seen Yoga in a library before as part of a summer program, but a lot of places like museums and or parks may offer free classes. Just because they’re free doesn’t mean they’re lower quality either!
- Practice with friends: If you and your friends enjoy Yoga, you can do it together. Perhaps you can also come up with a routine together, which you all enjoy.
- Instructor friends: This is kind of hit or miss. Just because your friend is an instructor, doesn’t mean they can give you free classes, they need to make a living. If they do offer, it’s still a good idea to offer to buy them dinner or something too. They may be willing to offer you a discounted price though, or let you and a friend split the cost. That being said, private instruction can be pretty pricey.
- If an instructor friend is trying to create a new routine they’ve never taught to students, it’s not a bad idea to offer your services as a test run too! They might be really happy to have someone to practice on. I know I would be.
Hopefully those tips helped, but remember, when all else fails, being nude in the middle of a forest is totally fine. For Yoga at least, perhaps not with the law…