It takes a special kind of person to be able to practice yoga at home. Or, so I used to think. Pre-pandemic, I was at a yoga studio four days a week, and I almost never practiced at home. There were too many distractions, too many noises and too many To-Do’s staring me in the face. But of course, this last year shook things up for everyone. And “home” became the place where we did everything. Where we had to work, teach our kids, entertain ourselves, find “quiet” time (whatever that meant) and yes, practice yoga. But all this time at home can leave us feeling stuck and unmotivated. Not to mention, not everyone has a ton of extra space. So, here are a few pointers to help you get unstuck and inspired to create (and use) a practice space in your home.
- Work with what you have. It’s easy to say, “There’s just no space!” My answer? “Make space!” In a 1-bedroom apartment, I moved my small dining table to the wall (great for propping a laptop), purchased some gym mats to prevent my yoga mat from sliding on the carpet, and used two of my chairs for prop storage. The key here is to think outside the box. Move the couch a little closer to the TV and find space behind the couch. Or, do you have other furniture that is easily moved back and forth, such as a kitchen table, that would give you space? Also, practicing yoga outside can be inspiring in itself; so head to your backyard, balcony, pool area or a local park! And here’s a pro tip: using a Mexican blanket instead of a mat when you’re on grass can provide more fluid movement. There is space; you just might have to look for it.
- Keep it simple. One of the appeals of yoga studios is their simplicity. Windows and bare walls allow us to focus on our breath and our movement without being stimulated by things that are visually “busy.” To recreate this, consider setting up your space where your eyes will be drawn to something “plain,” or perhaps find a way to hang a sheet or curtain in order to physically block out your distractions. If you do enjoy visuals, consider hanging a tapestry or other art that you find relaxing, yet inspiring.
- Remember that you are in control of your practice. Sometimes, it seems as though we just don’t have time for yoga, amiright? The beauty of a home yoga practice is that you are in control. Do you have 20 minutes before you have to pick up the kids from school? Great! Twenty minutes of yoga is twenty more than you would have done if you completely skipped class. Were you overzealous in choosing a Power Flow, and now you’re 20 minutes in, begging for savasana? Good news, friend! You can turn that YouTube video right off and find a better option. (My Vinyasa Practice has a lot of great options in our live stream studio!) Or, go straight into savasana like you wanted. It’s your practice!
- Props! Props! Props! You have to love studios for all the prop options they offer. (Being introduced to sandbags was a life-changer for me and my hips!) For the first couple years of my yoga practice, I had ZERO props at home. But over time, this has changed, and I now keep several bolsters and blankets at my home, as well as a knee cushion, blocks, a strap and yes, a sandbag. Having these options available to you is going to ensure that you have options available to support yourself in your body, and however, it is feeling that day. In fact, just seeing these items may inspire you to come onto your mat! I have more than once been feeling emotionally exhausted, see my bolsters, and think, “Yup, restorative yoga is happening for me today!” But don’t fret if acquiring these props seems like a lot. You can easily sub household items. Pillows can be used instead of bolsters; bath towels can work in place of blankets, and books and belts make great options in place of blocks and straps.
- Involve your senses. I have already mentioned creating a visually pleasing space, either with bare walls, or relaxing visuals. I invite you to consider how your other senses become stimulated during your practice. If you need to drown out household noises, a sound machine that plays ocean waves or white noise could be beneficial. Or, personalized, fun playlists may be the way to go. If you prefer music while you flow, I would recommend getting a small speaker for your space. Poor music quality can be distracting, and almost agitating for some people. And in addition to these tricks, consider how you want your space to smell. Bringing in essential oils or incense can promote relaxation and concentration, as well as increase motivation.
So there you have it. Five things that are going to make you an expert home-practice yogi. (Just kidding.) The above-mentioned items are merely suggestions, or things for you to consider. At the end of the day, your yoga practice is as unique as you! There is no right or wrong way to practice yoga, and even your own preferences may change from day to day. And that is all okay! The founder of My Vinyasa Practice, Michelle Young, often says “We are all spiritual beings having a human experience, and we are doing the best we can.” Whether you get on your mat daily or once a month, remember that you are whole and complete, just as you are. Be well, yogis.
Article written for My Vinyasa Practice by Tara Reyna.