This time of year, things can get a bit hectic. The summer glow is wearing off, the kids are back to school, the weather is getting cooler and the holidays are fast approaching. As you settle back into your daily routine, why not add some calming yoga to the mix? Better yet, why not create a tranquil space in the home that is dedicated to this ancient practice of breathing, meditating, stretching, balancing and strengthening?
Yoga is known to increase flexibility and strength; manage pain; maintain metabolism; improve circulatory and respiratory health; increase mental clarity, calmness and body awareness; and simply deepen your connection to yourself, your friends, your family and your surroundings. Add 30 minutes of yoga to your daily routine, and you may notice some or all of these benefits. If you can’t commit to a daily practice, pencil two to three longer sessions into your weekly calendar.
Many people either don’t have convenient access to a yoga studio, their schedules do not align with the studios’ schedule of classes, or the costs do not fit their budget. These factors should not squander your practice. Yoga is for all. There are countless YouTube videos, DVDs, online tutorials and books that can assist you in your at-home practice. If you have some experience going to classes and can remember the postures, you can even create your own sequences as you tune in to your body. Take care that you have proper alignment – it is a good idea to get guidance from a professional a few times before trying on your own.
Whether you have a whole room to work with, or just a portion of a room, the following will be helpful in creating your own personal yoga sanctuary:
This is a golden rule throughout the whole home, but it becomes even more essential in a yoga room. You need space for a whole range of motion to stretch and twist. Clear areas also clear the mind. The yoga space should only have items that are useful or inspirational. There should not be an excess of furniture or knick-knacks. Openness is key to an uninterrupted session.
Select a spot
The area that you choose for your yoga space should be one that does not have excessive foot traffic. A quiet corner of the home with ample natural light and enough space to fit your mat both lengthwise and widthwise will work well. Windows allow for energizing light and uplifting fresh air to enter your space and encourage your practice. If it is not a dedicated room for yoga, make sure everyone in your home knows that you are practicing meditation and yoga, and to please give you peace to practice for 15 minutes to an hour. If there is enough space, you can even invite a family member to join you.
Choose your furniture
Furniture needs to serve a purpose – be it spiritual or practical. It’s even better if it can serve both functions to save space. A low-lying piece works well in a yoga room. Check your thrift store, you’ll be amazed at the treasure you can find in the furniture arena. The top surface of the furniture can serve as an altar, holding sacred, precious or inspirational items – whether a crystal, religious statue, plant, candle or other meaningful item. Take some quiet time to arrange your altar with love and intention. In the shelves, drawers or cabinets of the furniture you can house your props – blanket, block, strap, sand bag, eye pillow and any others that you like to have for your practice.
Relaxing color scheme
Choose soothing colors reminiscent of nature – think sand, sage, sky, earth and sun. A soft sand colored wall and deep hardwood floors are a great place to start, adding small or large plants, a sky blue mat and pillow, and a gentle burst of color in the form of yoga-inspired wall art or decal. You can work quite liberally within your color scheme, so long as you keep it calming and relatively simple.
Complete the color scheme with mood lighting. While you want the space to be evenly lit to avoid slippage, you do not want lights to be blaring in your face. Avoid overhead lights, sticking instead to Zen-inspired, pink salt, and other soothing decorative floor and table lamps. It’s always helpful for the lamps to be on a dimmer for the different portions of the session. A simple google search can get you excited about all of the affordable lamp options out there. Don’t forget to finish off your lighting with a beautiful array of candles.
With a few alterations to an existing room or space in your home, you can encourage a regular yoga practice and enjoy the physical, mental and spiritual benefits.