How To Create a Space for Home Practice
Yoga not easy, said the founder of Ashtanga yoga, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. What's more, practicing yoga shouldn’t be harder just because you are at home.Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. At a studio, your space is clean and clutter-free so practice can be peaceful and mindful. At home, we might have dogs underfoot, telephones ringing and teenagers who seem to need constant feeding.Calgon take me away! So how do we create an oasis inside our busy lives? It starts with intention.What you need to create a lovely space for home practice
Make the commitment to practice. Everything starts with intention. Intention is the mother of invention, so if you want it, you will find a space for your mat and the time to roll it out. Tell everyone in your life the next 60 minutes are for you, and after that you will give them the remaining 23 hours. That’s a pretty good deal.
Not everyone has a spare room for yoga. So if you don’t have an extra 200 square feet, all you really need is space for your mat. A typical mat is 6 feet by 2 feet. Find a place that you can make your “sanctuary.” Do not roll out your mat in a busy area because you want to cultivate a steady and serene mindset. Avoid a foyer, hallway, or any place that is heavily trafficked. Look for a spot in front of a fireplace, at the side of a bed or couch, or in a seldom-used dining room.
- Sanctify it
A space is not a sanctuary until you make it one. Be sure the space you’ve chosen is clean and uncluttered. You might want to burn some sage, which is a traditional method of purification. If you are practicing on a hardwood floor, wash it. If it’s a rug, clean it. If it’s near a bed, then vacuum under it. Make even a tiny space a haven and a refuge from the world.
- Make it special
If your space allows it, create a small bench or low table for a puja. A puja is an altar where you can place yoga murtis, or statuary, such as a Ganesha. You will want to dress it up with a fancy blanket or scarf, some pictures of your loved ones and even flowers. The puja is a manifestation of the beauty in your life, so dress it up and make it an offering worthy of the Gods (or God). Check out home sites such as www.Wayfair.com for resources to build a puja.
Clutter is the enemy of a peaceful mind. In addition to your yoga mat, you will probably accumulate some yoga accessories such as a RadRoller, eye pillows, blocks and straps. Get organized with shelving, baskets and dividers. Cleanliness is actually one of the tenets of an honorable yoga practice (Sauca).
An internet connection is totally optional and I understand that 2,000 years ago no one needed one. So if you are balking at this, feel free to disregard it. However, there are some amazing yoga videos to help you get started on your practice. If you feel unsure about knowing what to do, then you can stream any number of classes directly to your mat to give you inspiration.
- A mat.
I almost forgot! You need a yoga mat. I like to keep one for home practice, and another in my car or near the front door which I use to go to the studio. I find that if my mat is not handy at home, then it doesn’t get unrolled. Make it super easy to get on your mat by having one near your space at all times. Advice on how to choose a mat is here.
- No Excuses.
If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If it’s not, then you will find an excuse. Home practice is just as essential as practice in a studio. It’s a chance for you to concentrate on what you need. It’s time to put yourself first. And ultimately it’s time away from a hectic schedule.Do not worry about all that stuff you have to do. I’m sure it will still be there when you finish your practice, on your lovely mat, in front of a puja filled with mementos of loved ones and fragrant flowers. Forget the Calgon. All you need is child’s pose. Can you say, Ahhhhhhhh?Michelle Marchildon is The Yogi Muse. She’s an E-500 RYT yoga teacher and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. You can find her writing on Elephant Journal, Mantra Yoga and Health Magazine and Sports Illustrated.