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The Budget Smart Girl’s Guide to Yoga

Sticking with a budget, no matter how ‘good’ you are, can be stressful. And if you’re like me, someone who’s running around trying to do a hundred things at once, it’s nice to unwind now and then. A favorite way to do just that is practicing yoga.
In fact, I’ve given yoga a couple of attempts. I’ve signed up for classes only to find that most of the poses are beyond my range of motion and I’ve given up. And yes, lost the money I paid for the class. I then decided to give yoga a try at home. There’s less embarrassment for me and it costs a lot less too. So if you’re looking for a way to unwind, here are some bargain ways you can practice yoga in a class or in the comfort of your own home.

A Class Near You
In my neighborhood it seems like a new yoga studio is opening up every month. And that’s good news. There are a couple of pluses to going to an individual studio rather than signing up for a class at a health club. One, if yoga is all you want to do, it’s usually cheaper than joining an expensive club. Two, most newly opened studios want to get you in the door and therefore usually offer you a free week of classes. In fact, sitting on my desk right now are invitations for a week’s free yoga to two different studios. It’s a great way to try out the facilities, the instructors, and you’ll know if you really like this form of exercise.
If you are going to sign up for classes, ask if they have a pay as you go plan. I know a couple of yoga studios let you drop in and pay on a class-by-class basis. That way if something else comes up, you don’t miss a class or lose your tuition. Secondly, ask what, if any is their cancellation policy. Some give you a partial refund if you can’t finish all the classes.
Check out this site with links to yoga classes in your area www.yogafinder.com

Do It Yourself Yoga
I’ve found lots of great resources if you want to give yoga a try at home.
DVDs
One company I always turn to for my exercise DVDs is Collage Video. Great customer service and you can return any of their products, yes, even if they’re opened. You can also get free mini clips of any DVD, check out their Web site at www.collagevideo.com
And don’t forget your local library for all types of exercise DVDs. It’s the best way to test-drive them without investing money.

Yoga Sites
I found these yoga related sites-
www.iyogalife.com this is my favorite site, here you’ll find a newsletter you can sign up for, plus reviews.
www.yogatoday.com and this site has some great free stuff.
www.yogalearningcenter.com

A word of warning here; if you’re going to practice yoga all by yourself at home, especially if you’re new to yoga, and like me, not that flexible, proceed with caution. It’s not really budget smart if the paramedics have to stop by your house and transport you to the ER.

Music
If you like listening to music while you practice yoga or you’re just looking for a selection of music to relax to, this site has a wide range of styles www.serenitysupply.com

Equipment
One place I think has some of the best deals on yoga equipment is Target. They sell the Gaiam line of products that I really like. And here’s another site I found that has some good prices www.yogadirect.com
I’ve also found you can substitute lots of yoga props. I did buy a mat and brick, but use a towel instead of a strap for some of the poses. And here’s a tip I always give when you’re looking for exercise equipment, check out garage sales. Lots of people invest in equipment and then give up. You might also be able to find yoga DVDs there too. And if you’re buying secondhand mats, give them a wash with some antiseptic soap or spray. Supposedly yoga mats harbor lots of bacteria.

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