Home, Sweet Yoga-at-Home
There is nothing like the relaxed, recharged feeling you have as you walk out of yoga class. But what if you could have that feeling every day? Setting up a dedicated place for a home practice will help motivate you to add yoga to your daily routine.
If you haven’t already created a corner in your house for your home yoga practice, here are four (4) simple steps to guide you in creating a home yoga space:
Step 1: Find a Space in Your Home
Many people believe they can’t practice yoga at home because there’s no room in their house. Let me reassure you that you don’t need to have an entire extra room to devote to your practice. All you need is enough space for a yoga mat.
For many years, my home yoga space was in our guest room in the narrow strip of carpet between a wall and the bed that was slightly wider than my yoga mat. Currently my practice space share space with our home office. One advantage of this is that I can use my computer to practice with online videos. The room serves multiple functions but is still relaxing, quiet, and zen.
Take a look around your home and try to find a quiet place, such as cozy corner in your living room or an infrequently used guest room, that you can use on a regular basis.
Step 2: Gather Some Props
At a bare minimum, you’ll want a yoga mat. While it’s not necessary to run out and buy props if you don’t already own them, there are a few worth investing in. Here’s a list of ones I recommend along with suggestions for items readily available in your home you can substitute:
Typically yoga studios supply colorful, cotton Mexican blankets that can be used in a variety of ways. Try substituting a small throw blanket, large beach towel or throw pillows from your couch.
The one prop you might want to invest in are a pair of foam yoga blocks. Blocks have so many uses and are fairly inexpensive to purchase, but in a pinch, substitute a thick paperback book or two or even a roll of toilet paper!
A handy and inexpensive prop you’ll want to have on hand. You can easily substitute the tie to your bathrobe, a belt or an old necktie.
This can be a bit of a splurge item as good bolsters cost about $70-$90. Bolsters are wonderful for savasana, restorative yoga and meditation. Be creative and experiment with couch cushions, bed pillows and decorative chair pillows.
While not a necessity, an eye pillow can enhance and deepen relaxation. Generally filled with flaxseed, they have a little weight to them which can feel soothing during savasana. An easy home substitution is a folded wash cloth or silk scarf.
Finally, don’t forget that a chair or wall can be excellent props. No wall space? Be creative in using the back of a door or other furniture pieces to support you in your practice.
Once you’ve assembled what you need, you’ll want a place to store your props when they’re not in use. A large wicker basket tucked into an empty corner neatly stores my props. Consider other alternatives such as a shelf, drawer or storage ottoman.
Step 3: Make it Inviting
If possible, choose a space near a window or skylight for practice. Natural light boosts the release of serotonin, one of the chemicals that makes us feel happy and relaxed. Having a window will not only provide natural light, but also allow you to enjoy nature and the changing seasons. No natural light available? Bring the outdoors in by adding houseplants that tolerate low light or use candles to great ambience.
Then, let your yoga space be a reflection of you by adding one or two objects that you love– a vase of flowers, seashells from a beach vacation, a book of poetry or a photograph of someone or someplace you love will make your space more personal and inviting.
Step 4: Set the Mood
Your daily yoga practice is an opportunity to step away from the busyness and noise of daly life. Create a mood of introspection by setting up a personal altar with items that speak to your personal spiritual beliefs. These may include pictures of saints or other spiritual luminaries, inspirational books or even small objects that remind you of your connection to the Divine to inspire as you settle into your practice.
Another way to create a welcoming feel to the space is to use scented candles or a diffuser with essential oils. Try calming, grounding fragrances such as lavender, patchouli and cedarwood. For a more energizing, uplifting mood, look to scents like lemon, bergamot and peppermint. Or simply experiment with combinations of fragrances you favor.
I hope these ideas inspire you to create your own home yoga practice space. I’d love to see a photo of your home yoga sanctuary and hear about what makes it special for you. Of course, the whole concept of having a dedicated yoga space is to inspire you to practice. So stay tuned for my next post with ideas of what to do once you get on your mat. Happy practicing!