finding the balance – practicing yoga on the cheap

the problem i have with exercising – besides the actual act of exercising – is that it can be so darn expensive. fifteen dollars for a drop-in group exercise class literally causes me heart palpitations. that’s not the good type of cardio, y’all. to put it simply, i’m cheap. i’ve come to accept it. hi, my name is sarah and i’m a cheapskate.

“hi, sarah.”

now that’ we’ve gotten introductions out of the way, i’m happy to share that i’ve found some amazing ways to perform my exercise of choice for zero dollars or less. how do you spend less than zero dollars? i’m not sure. but the point is, you can. specifically, if the exercise you’re looking to do is yoga.

so i love yoga. i’ve been practicing yoga on and off for the past few years and have recently been really committed in my practice. i make it a point to meet myself on the mat at least five times a week but really even one day a week is beneficial. and when i say five times a week, let’s be honest that a handful of those days are bedtime yoga which is anything but strenuous but hey, it counts!

not me, doing bedtime yoga

not me, doing bedtime yoga

the type of yoga that i practice at home is ashtanga yoga. it’s the type of yoga you’re thinking of when you talk about “power yoga” or “flow yoga” or “vinyasa yoga.” it involves a lot of sun salutations and breathing and stretching while building strength and focus. it’s a great practice to work on alone because it’s so introspective. in fact, the most ideal form of ashtanga yoga is done in complete silence without vocal guidance. that is like, the definition of free. yep, just checked the dictionary. silence definitely equals free.

the cool thing about yoga is that it’s become amazingly “in” in western culture and there are a ton of great videos online. for free. which is my trick for practicing yoga on the cheap. below are some of my favorite videos and daily go-to’s:

leslie fightmaster – 30 min intro to ashtanga

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBaQlOq1KoU

this is in the main rotation of my daily practice. i’m still building my upper body strength so this a great video for introducing yourself to ashtanga and building strength. leslie has a personable voice and a clear way of explaining poses and giving directions. i also love that she begins the video with the traditional opening ashtanga chant/song. makes me feel like i’m doing the real thing even though it’s the beginner version.

adriene yoga – bedtime routine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOTGz-1vizY

i legit do this routine at least three times a week. i love it and i love adriene. she’s balances her humor and free spirit with delivery of clear vocal directions. while describing the form of the poses, she constantly reminds us to be kind to ourselves and approach our practice with compassion. for a perfectionist like me, that type of emotional guidance is much needed. and i swear, i sleep like a baby after this.

tara stiles – headstand how-to

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6wtHly7ZNQ

being able to do a headstand was really important to me when i first started because being upside down terrified me. i’m almost six feet tall. that’s a lot of person to balance on your arms. i spent a lot of time looking for videos to help me learn headstand and love this one. tara’s video really breaks down the steps to headstand in a way that i find helpful, clear and confidence building. when i think of headstand and other inversions, it’s so important to remember that yoga is a practice – it doesn’t always happen immediately. 

these three videos have really meant a lot to me and are great places to start – if you’re new to yoga or new to at-home practice or just looking for a way to spend 30-40 minutes usefully, give them a try. other honorable mentions include any video on leslie fightmaster’s channel (i specifically love her beginners headstand and backbend classes though they are long ones and require a bit of stamina) and doyogawithme.com for their free classes. if you have any other go-to videos, please let me know in the comments!

namaste y’all.

love always, sarah.

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