Yoga truly can be as simple as a mat and some comfortable clothes. Other stuff is available: blocks, props, belts, no slip socks, toe stretchers, stretchy pants, DVDs and classes. But, that doesn’t mean you need them. In fact, some might say all the fancy get-ups and so on are a bit overkill. Wasn’t the idea simplicity?
Having a knowledgeable teacher at the ready is certainly worthwhile, recommendable even. A mat is nice if one is available, mostly for the sense of there being a set place to exercise and possibly to help with slippage (though mats are often slippery anyway). However, it is possible to start a yoga practice with no cash down. It just takes a little creativity, online research savvy and a few spare minutes.
What is Needed
- Space is probably the number one necessity, and with yoga, it doesn’t take much. Why some writers have even suggested full routines can be done in the seat of an airplane. In other words, a hallway will suffice, as well the space next to the bed or the kitchen floor. Move the coffee table and sprawl out in the living room. Sometimes having a wall around is even useful for support and/or balance. Or, go to a quiet park.
- Traction is also very useful. Anyone who has done yoga knows that, even on the fabled yoga mat, one of the most challenging parts is dealing with hands and feet sliding around. So, yoga mat or no, finding some traction helps. Towels work well, old exercise mats, rugs or just the floor. Something will be around the house.
- Imagination comes in handy for the rest. A normal belt (for the waist) will work if no yoga belt is available. Those old slipper socks might do the job of no slip socks. A phone book, stool or box can sub for a block. Yoga uses body weight and strength to get the job done, so all of these additives can be done away with as well.
- Clothing has become a big part of the modern yogi, especially in modern parts of the world. Yoga pants are all the rage, but they are far from necessary. Keeping in mind that stretching is in the mix (jeans and dresses might not work), it’s fairly simple to come up with a loose-fitting yoga outfit. Or, if no one is around…
What to Do
- Schedule it in permanent marker. Early mornings work really well as the distractions of the day are not yet in motion, nor is there workday fatigue or a heavy meal. Get up, get it done and start the day. Or, choose what works best, but the idea is to have a time, be it fifteen minutes or and hour and a half, devoted to yoga.
- Be basic. Seek out free classes for some initial exposure or have a friend demonstrate some basics. Going into a practice with no knowledge of poses is a bit much, but still possible. There are plenty of easy poses that are already familiar to compile a decent routine to get you started. Even simply doing ten or more salutations is a great work out, as well as meditative and easy to remember.
- Free videos are available online, from beginner to advanced levels, and it’s possible to get all sorts of variations on time as well. Forty-five minutes to an hour is probably a good goal (fear not, there are lots of warm-up and resting poses in the beginning), but it’s possible to do a routine in under half an hour.
- Don’t skip, but when it happens, make it up right away. Most people are willing to give three or five days a week, which is great. Sticking to the plan is important at the beginning, even if that means when a Friday session is missed then it’s made up on Saturday. Once missing becomes an option, it often becomes at option far too often.
In no way is yoga something to be afraid of. It is sort of the antithesis of that. With the massive popularity it has garnered over the last two decades, there are now so many sources online — for finding out how to do poses, for finding new classes, for finally splashing out for that first official yoga mat — that no yogi, new or old, should even be left in the lurch. So, why not give it a go?
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