A yoga class just may be my favorite place to be, especially if it’s outdoors somewhere tropical…
December 2011, Cost Rica
But it’s not always practical to make it to a group setting. With the closest studio 30 minutes away, I’ve had to develop a strong home practice. Here are some of the ways I’ve made it special.
How to make a sweet and savory home-yoga practice:
- Create a sacred space. I don’t always practice in the same place- I could be in the living room, my bedroom or on the back patio (depending on the weather and who’s home), but I always try to get rid of any clutter or distracting junk. It’s always great to start with a few moments of silence whether it’s to set an intention, meditate with a mantra or just breathe quietly.
- Use scents. Candles, incense or essential oils in a diffuser add ambiance. Spritz your mat or yourself with natural lavender spray or whatever smells divine to you.
- Set the mood with music. Most yoga teachers admit to a slight obsession with iTunes. Create playlists with energizing or relaxing songs. Some of my favorite artists are: Snatam Kaur, Wah and Donna De Lory. Pandora is also amazing! I love these stations: Yoga Workout Radio, Hotel Costes and Snatam Kaur. And for only $34 you can get commercial-free music for an entire year. Of course silence is golden. I work with children, so some days I enjoy the whispering sound of each inhale and exhale minus any chatter or voices.
- Stock up on props. All of these are completely optional but they do help get me into the yoga zone: a mat (my personal fave is Jade brand), 2 blocks (found at Target or Amazon), a set of two firm decorative pillows borrowed from the couch, an old belt or tie for stretching out tight hamstrings, cozy socks for the end when body temperature drops back down and an eye pillow for final relaxation. What to do with blocks and/or pillows? Sit on a pillow in Sukhasana, easy seat. Or place one under each knee in reclined bound angle.
- Make yoga a priority. Cell phones are banned from yoga classes and most of us don’t stop in the middle of a pose to take care of something when there’s a teacher leading the class. Try to find that same dedication at home by setting aside specific time for yoga, even if it’s only 15 minutes. And most importantly, train your family to respect your yoga practice. I felt silly at first, but now everyone knows I’m serious about yoga so they’ll save their questions and conversations for after.
- Find inspiration. The best yoga teachers share quotes, stories or inspirational words of wisdom. Why not do that for yourself? The other day I was admittedly grumpy, so I grabbed the Yoga Sutras and flipped to a random page. I landed on Sutra 2.33: “When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite [positive] ones should be thought of.” Although I was alone I chose to read it aloud several times to really let it sink in. Instant inspiration!
Blocks at the top; socks, spray and an eye pillow for Savasana
What are your tips for practicing at home? Do you do anything to make yoga extra special?