Yoga for fitness
I am as guilty as the next office bound worker of letting things go from time to time with my fitness programme. By the time I have done the nine to five, fought my way home through the traffic , cooked the tea and cleared up there is little time or energy left for fitness.
However, I am stuck in an office at my PC for much of the day. I know how important it is to work at your fitness. Sedentary jobs zap your mental energy. They can also leave you with aching neck and back, tight shoulders and poor posture. You can feel physically exhausted without doing anything remotely physical.
I am a fully qualified yoga teacher. There are no good excuses for not exercising when you have studied how the human body works and understand the benefits of keeping active! It doesn’t matter how shattered I am, half an hour on my yoga mat will revive and re-energise me, both physically and mentally. I know how great yoga makes you feel and yoga for fitness is a good choice for many people.
Fitness is important at any age, but as you hit middle age it really is a case of use it or lose it. As you age, it is harder to get back to full fitness once you have let it go.
The benefits of yoga for fitness
Yoga is a great activity for any age and fitness level. It also has the hugely positive side effects of relaxation and stress relief. Studies have shown that a regular yoga practice can reduce blood pressure, ease anxiety and depression and improve your balance (leading to fewer falls in old age).
It has benefits too for those struggling with conditions like ME, fibromyalgia, cancer, MS and arthritis. If you look at the British Wheel of Yoga website you will find specialist classes alongside general ones all around the UK, as well as interesting articles on yoga. It is also a great exercise during pregnancy.
But this article was headed ‘getting fit and healthy for less’, so how to learn about yoga with no money?
The great thing about yoga is that you really only need a non slip mat once you have learned some basic principles and postures (I prefer the sticky sort). Depending on where you live, classes tend to be cheaper than, say, pilates. If you belong to a gym already you might get a few yoga classes thrown in. Before you do them, check to see if the teacher is properly qualified through the BWY or one of its accredited partner organisations. If your gym doesn’t offer yoga, ask them why not? They might start them if there is demand. You might as well get value for money! Yoga is a great exercise to do alongside running or the gym.
Yoga books for frugal fitness
However, if money is really tight, start with some books. Your local library will usually have a decent selection. Once you know what you like they are worth buying as you will come back to your favourites again and again. Here are my recommendations on great books for yoga for fitness.
The Easy Yoga Workbook by Tara Fraser
This is a nice book for a beginner as it’s not intimidating and you don’t need to be a contortionist! It is well explained with good illustrations.
Yoga for You, by Tara Fraser
Again, lots of nice, clear images to follow alongside the explanations, plus a bit more background on yoga.
Yoga for the stiffer body, by Craddock and Bunyard
Does exactly what it says on the cover – great for those who think they aren’t flexible enough to take up yoga. One for your Kindle at a great price.
Yoga over Fifty, by Mary Stewart
I bought this when I was about 40, so ignore the title! It is a book for anyone with an interest in yoga. It is insiring to see older people in advanced positions but some are quite advanced. I like the sequences in this one so come back to it time and again.
Yoga Mind, Body and Spirit, by Donna Farhi
A really comprehensive book for the keen yogi, with very well explained postures and great emphasis on correct alignment. This is an interesting read! I find this very inspirational to dip into when I am planning a yoga class.
Yoga: the spirit and practice of moving into stillness, by Erich Schiffmann
Another very full and comprehensive read, with instruction on yoga alongside meditation. For the serious student of yoga.
I could go on – I love reading books on yoga and have a whole shelf full of them. There are so many great books out there to start you off on your frugal fitness journey.
To get you started, I have a nice easy yoga sequence here.
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