by Kathryn Farrugia
Photo courtesy of: Pxhere
Going to a studio is not the only way to maintain a strong yoga practice. In fact, during this time of quarantine, my personal practice has gotten stronger; no yoga studio needed! Sure I miss the group energy and sense of community that comes from practicing in a studio, but a home practice can be just as powerful.
With so many wonderful online platforms and youtube videos, it’s easy to create a yoga studio in your own home. You have access to some of the best yoga teachers around the world and you can practice whenever you want. There are certainly major benefits to practicing at home.
One thing that I’ve noticed however is that I am often scrambling to find suitable props. Now, props in yoga are not essential to the practice, but they can assist you if you have tight muscles or help you go deeper into a posture. Props can enhance your practice and help you get the most out of it. Typically we are able to borrow props from the studio, but a home practice might leave you empty-handed.
I wanted to give some suggestions on how to set up your own personal yoga space at home and some alternative props that you can use.
Photo courtesy of: Pexels
Choose your space
The place you choose to unroll your yoga mat is probably the most important choice. You want to choose a spot where you have enough space to move around freely and that is free of distractions. Make this place special and comfortable. We may not all live in homes large enough to have a dedicated yoga space, but you can create a sacred space wherever you are during the time you are practicing. I like to incorporate some incense and crystals, but you can add whatever brings you a sense of peace and joy.
Here are some other suggestions:
Pictures of nature
Photo courtesy of: Pexels
Get your goods
The great thing about a yoga practice is that it can be done anywhere and does not require any special equipment. However, there are some things that you might want. You’ll definitely want a yoga mat and perhaps a few other props. Personally, I don’t use props often and choose not to buy my own so I have to get creative with things around the house. Here are some prop replacements I came up with that might work for you too.
~ Instead of a strap, use a towel or a belt. Straps can be really helpful when opening up the shoulders or doing binds. This is also the easiest prop to replace, so I usually have a towel handy.
~ Instead of blocks, use a book or water bottles. Blocks can be a little bit tricker to replace because there are a variety of different ways they are used. Sometimes the block is used to sit on or support the low back. In this case, I would recommend using a book. Other times, blocks are used under the hands to create length in the upper body, such as in triangle or half-moon. In these postures, water bottles might work better. You’ll want to use a sturdy, reusable bottle, not a plastic disposable one. Measure the height to make sure that it’s not too high or too low for you.
Photo courtesy of: Pexels
Choose your teacher
There are so many wonderful teachers with an online presence, especially now! They may have their own website with classes available, or maybe they teach on a yoga subscription platform like YogaGlo or Yogaworks. Even YouTube is full of great quality classes for beginner to advanced students. I recommend checking out MateaYoga for some great flows and guided meditations.
The important thing is to find a teacher and a style that resonates with you. After a yoga class, you should feel clear and refreshed. Look for a teacher that creates this feeling for you. Eventually, you may turn off the videos altogether and flow on your own, using your own intuition to guide you.
Relax your mind
Practicing at home can have an added challenge of staying focused. There may be kids in the background or chores waiting to be done which are battling for your attention. Take the time on your mat to be fully present and let the background fade away. Think of your mat as a sacred space and when you step onto it, come into that space in mind and body.
With a physical and mental space created in your home, you have a place to escape to when the world gets overwhelming. Think of this as your safe space to unplug from the external world and plug into your inner world.
Structuring an at-home yoga practice can have enormous benefits. You are able to focus on exactly what it is you need. Maybe you feel you need to increase your strength or flexibility, or maybe just stay present. Practicing at home allows you to tailor your practice to achieve your personal goals. With no other students, you have fewer distractions and a greater ability to dive deep into your body and mind.
Perhaps after such deep practice, you’ll decide that you want to share yoga with others and do your yoga teacher training. Great idea! This is the perfect time to start a YTT course. Here at the Hari Om Yoga School, there are opportunities available for 100, 200 or 300 hour trainings as well as ayurveda courses.
We are inside more than usual these days, so it’s the perfect time to dive into your yoga practice. It will have immense benefits to your mind, body and soul.
About the Author:
My name is Katie and I am an educator, yoga teacher, plant-based cook, and world explorer. After discovering yoga nearly 10 years ago, I felt inspired to share with others this ancient wisdom that transformed my life. I am dedicated to helping others become their best selves and realize their full potential. My hope is to bring light into the world through my yoga classes, writing, and plant-based cooking. You can learn more at ZENutrition.