It can be hard to work up the motivation to stick to one’s home yoga practice. Chronic pain is a giant demotivator, and yet hatha yoga can be irreplaceable as a physical foundation for self-management of pain. One of the ways I keep myself coming back to my yoga practice is my yoga space. I turned a corner of a room in my apartment into a yoga healing sanctuary, and you can too.
My yoga room is also my piano room, my computer room, my recording studio, my crafts and sewing room–it’s the Everything Else Room in our apartment. When you create your yoga sanctuary, if you have the space for a permanent space solely devoted to yoga and meditation, good for you! If you live in a smaller space where most places need to serve multiple functions, like mine, creating a yoga sanctuary may be easier than you think.
First I selected a room: in the Everything Else room, I can close the doors and my sweetie knows not to open them unless there is an emergency during yoga time. A space where you can be uninterrupted is mandatory. I started with three yoga mats, unrolled on the floor side by side. This is nice because my floor is tile and I don’t have to worry about protecting myself from the hard surface if my pose takes me off the side of my mat. With carpet, this is probably unnecessary, but it feels luxurious and helps define my space. Next, I found a container to keep my yoga and meditation accoutrements in: I have a strap, some books and pose cards, a towel, a foam ball (for extra stretch in certain poses), and I plan to add an eye pillow and an inspirational statuette when I find the right ones. Nearby I keep my bolster and any other large props. With all my tools close at hand, I don’t have to spend time gathering things up, which leaves more time and energy for my practice.
Once the bare necessities were taken care of, it was time to look to the senses to set the space apart. For my eyes, I turn the lights off and light candles around the room. The creates an instant atmosphere that I find calming, and since I only do this for yoga and meditation, the set-apart feeling of a sanctuary settles over the room as, one by one, the candles provide a calming glow. I keep some prayer flags up in the space, and have my current mantra posted where it easily catches my eye. For my nose, I like an essential oils warmer, and I choose oils by their correlation to the chakra I’m currently focused on, or a general calming or meditative blend that I find pleasant (lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, and jasmine are favorites). If you are able to set up a space outdoors, some natural incense could be a nice alternative to oils, which could get lost outdoors. I would not recommend incense inside, because all that smoke could be hard on the lungs while you are breathing deeply. For my ears, I often enjoy the quiet of a room to myself, but sometimes I’ll play some music that doesn’t tend to interrupt my concentration–a friend introduced me to the music of Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, which I find great for yoga and meditation. For my skin, I adjust the temperature of the room to slightly cooler than the rest of my tropical house, so I can stay comfortable while moving. If you get chilled in Savasana, a blanket would be a good addition to your yoga space.
I use my Everything Else room often for all kinds of activities. If I need more room for a project, I just roll up the yoga mats and stand them in the corner, and my stored sanctuary takes up about a 3 foot cube in the room. It takes only a matter of moments to light the candles, add oil to the warmer, and turn on the music. Then, with a flick of the light switch, my yoga sanctuary is complete and I can have a beautiful yoga practice in my lovely, relaxing space.
Anyone else have any special ways to enhance their home practice by altering their yoga or meditation space? How else do you keep yourself coming back to the mat?