Yoga is a wonderful way to enhance flexibility, increase strength, and even improve your mental health. Studies have shown that the deep breathing it requires calms the nervous system, for instance. Given its many benefits, both physical and mental, it’s no wonder that some 300 million people practice yoga worldwide. Not surprisingly, an entire industry of tools and technologies has developed to feed this interest — and you don’t have to spend a lot to take advantage of them. Check out these simple and budget-friendly ways to scale up the intensity of your workouts.
Get a streaming device
Thanks to the surge in popularity, yoga studios are more prevalent than ever. The average cost of a drop-in session in the U.S. is about $12. Not in your budget? Instead, get a streaming device to follow along with sessions at home. This also allows you to choose precisely those courses that best meet your needs. Research different devices to find one that fits your television and budget.
Use yoga blocks or bricks
Yoga blocks will make your workout more challenging by demanding greater stability and muscle control. For example, placing a block under the base of your spine allows you to perform a more supported bridge pose. You can also place blocks under your hands to help you with the downward-facing dog pose.
The gains you will make with blocks are great and the investment is relatively small. Check out sites like Yoga Matters for affordable and diverse goods. They have bricks made of colorful foam, as well as simple cork if you’re interested in an eco-friendly product. They also offer variations on traditional bricks, such as a rounded cork brick and a pocket-sized cork wedge.
Buy a yoga strap
While bricks and blocks make added demands on your stability and muscle control, a strap will require more from you in terms of flexibility. Check out DoYouYoga’s guide for ideas on how to incorporate the strap into your flexibility routine. When performing a seated forward bend (or Paschimottanasana) for example, you can loop the strap around the bottoms of your feet to help pull yourself farther forwards.
If you want a truly unique yoga strap that won't break the bank, you can even make your own. All you need is some heavyweight cotton webbing, decorative cotton fabric, and two heavy D-rings. With scissors and basic sewing supplies, you can create a yoga strap that will bring a new intensity to your workouts and also reflect your one-of-a-kind personality.
Download yoga apps for your phone
If yoga classes are out of your budget, don’t despair. There are many apps available for little to no cost that guide you through yoga poses. Healthline has a comprehensive roundup of options. Pocket Yoga provides voice and visual instructions and has 27 different sessions available so you won't get bored, for instance. Meanwhile, the Simply Yoga app lets you choose from 20-, 40-, or 60-minute sessions and offers both audio and video instruction.
When using your phone to do yoga at home, set up an appropriate space to practice in. Choose a calm corner where you won’t be bothered by kids, spouses, or pets. You can create a relaxing atmosphere by playing some soothing music in the background or lighting candles or incense. Aromas like lavender and geranium are shown to support relaxation and can even help you sleep — ideal if you’re doing your yoga before bedtime.
As these tips prove, you don't have to splurge to take your yoga practice to the next level. You can enjoy a challenging and rewarding workout on a budget — and even in the comfort of your own home. When you’re ready for a more intense yoga session, let these suggestions inspire you.
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