Yoga is one of the most popular and well-known forms of exercise today. Everyone can benefit from a regular yoga practice, but not everyone can afford to buy all of the equipment needed for a full class.
I’m sure you’ve seen ads on TV or in magazines that promise “yoga poses for every body type!” and how this program will help you get toned and lose weight. But are these claims really true?
Well, no. Not at all. If anything, yoga is a great way to lose weight because it builds strength while helping you burn calories. It also helps strengthen your core muscles which support and balance the spine, and helps relieve back pain caused by sitting too much.
But if you just want to do some stretches without any of the fancy equipment, there are plenty of things you can use to stretch out and work those muscles right where they are. Buy a coussin de meditation today.
If you have access to a gym, you don’t need any additional equipment to perform simple stretching exercises. The key is to choose a comfortable position for each movement and make sure to hold each position for at least 5 seconds before moving on to the next move. Here are some examples:
Lying down with knees bent and feet flat on the floor (for flexibility)
Standing up straight with hands on hips (for strength)
Lying face down on the ground with legs straight out (for relaxation)
Sitting on the floor with both legs outstretched in front of you (for balance)
Here are some variations you can try:
Stretching your hamstrings:
Lie facedown on the mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring your left foot over your head and place it behind your right ear. Then bring your right leg over your left leg and cross your ankles. Repeat this several times by switching legs. Don’t be afraid to lean into the stretch as you work more muscle groups.
Stretching your calves:
Sit comfortably with both legs outstretched in front of you. Place your left hand on the outside of your right knee and grasp the outer thigh. Pull the ankle toward you until you feel a slight stretch in the calf muscle. Hold here for 3-5 seconds then release. Do the same thing on the other side.
Stretching your quads:
Stand up straight with your arms by your sides and your palms facing forward. Step your right foot forward so that your heel touches your toes. Bend your left knee and place your left arm around your shin. Keeping your left foot planted firmly on the floor, slowly pull yourself forward until you feel a slight stretch in the quadriceps muscle. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds then release. Repeat on the other side.
Dumbbells are great for building strength and tone, especially when used with proper form. There are two types of dumbbells: light and heavy. Light weights require less effort and are perfect for beginners who may be looking to lose weight or tone their bodies. Heavy weights require more effort and are best suited for more experienced yogis, runners, and athletes.
Start with 2-3 sets of 10 reps per station. You can increase the number of repetitions as you gain strength. Here’s an example workout:
Grab two light dumbbells and sit with your legs crossed. Holding the dumbbells in your hands, lift them to your chest and lower them back down. Perform 10 reps, resting for 1 minute between each set.
Grab two light dumbbells and stand with your legs shoulder width apart and your feet turned slightly outward. Raise both dumbbells above your head and then slowly curl them downward until they touch your shoulders. Perform 10 reps, resting for 1 minute between each set.
Grab two medium-weight dumbbells and sit with your legs crossed. Extend both arms upward like airplane wings. Lower the dumbbells slowly, keeping your elbows close to your shoulders. Perform 10 reps, resting for 1 minute between each set.
Lie flat on the ground with your forearms and wrists supported by the ground. Your legs should be perpendicular to the ground with your heels about 6 inches off the ground. Tighten your abdominal muscles and keep your body in a straight line. Hold the position for 30 seconds before performing another rep.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms extended overhead. Slowly squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Avoid arching your back (the traditional yogi’s posture) and focus on squeezing your glutes. Lower your torso to about 45 degrees and hold for 30 seconds before repeating.
Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs straight. Clasp your hands together behind your back. Curl your back up as far as possible without losing contact with the ground. Keep your chin tucked and concentrate on pulling in your abdominals.
Lie flat on the ground with your hands placed beneath your shoulders and your legs straight out in front of you. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and raise your body until your head reaches the ground. Pause for 1 second, then slowly lower your body back to the starting position. Perform 10 reps, resting for 1 minute between each set.
The bottom line is that you don’t need all of the fancy equipment to start working out. You can still reap the benefits of yoga even if you lack the space or money to purchase all of the equipment.