Combine the right equipment with the right vibe to create a rewarding home yoga practice
Setting up a yoga space at home offers the rewards of peace, exercise and harmony. It’s a way of making yoga part of your life in your own style.
As many continue to shelter in place or begin to rejoin the world, it’s a great time to carve out a spot at home for self-care and well-being. Here are a few simple tips to help create a home studio with the right feeling:
Mat with Good Grip
A quality yoga mat has a good grip or stickiness. The grip helps keep hands in place and minimizes slip, thus building trust in the pose and inspiring confidence to go deeper by pushing the body further. So, yes, a good mat can help you become better at yoga.
Tall people need an extra-long mat, such as the Heathyoga Eco Friendly Non-Slip mat. The Jade Yoga Harmony mat is another great eco-friendly choice. For a premium mat, try the Lululemon Reversible Mat, which costs a bit more and weighs a bit more, but offers more grip and cushion.
Pair of Yoga Blocks
When modifying yoga postures, a block helps maintain proper alignment and makes it easier to reach the ground. Have a set of two blocks strong enough to hold your body weight. Inexpensive pairs of foam yoga blocks are available online from Gaiam, the standard, trustworthy brand. Cork yoga blocks, like the ones from Manduka, cost a bit more but provide stability and durability.
A strap can help users accomplish some poses. Either procure one online, such as the Manduka Unisex AligN Yoga Strap, or use an old wool scarf or a necktie.
Note that some companies sell complete yoga kits that include a mat, a pair of blocks and a strap. A beginner who does not want to spend too much could look into companies such as YogaDirect and Gaiam. Just be aware that the mat—not the blocks or strap—makes the biggest impact on a physical yoga practice.
Some Real Estate
Use a part of the home with pleasant surroundings, a clean, level floor, and a neutral or pleasant smell. The practice space should promote a positive mental attitude. Have natural light, plants and good airflow. If there isn’t extra room for a dedicated space, don’t sweat it. Just roll out the mat to practice yoga and roll it back up when finished. Then the living room can go back to normal.
The right music can help with focus and add some fun. For a meditative mood there’s MeditativeMind on YouTube. The long playlists of binaural beats and solfeggio frequencies align brainwaves. For a more upbeat, energetic yoga practice, try playlists by MC Yogi on YouTube or Spotify. He mixes hip-hop beats, electronic and traditional Sanskrit music.
Some 300 million people joined Zoom during the pandemic to work or study, so why not practice yoga online too? Besides, some people remain hesitant to head back to studios, and that’s created a new wave of online yoga. The shift to virtual classes brings opportunity to either start or go deeper into a home-based practice.
While getting the home studio to come together, here’s a simple upper back and shoulder stretch to do in the meantime.
Stand up and find some free space. Tune into your breath. Breathe in deep and out deeply. Space the hands apart as if holding a basketball. Now reach that imaginary basketball all the way out in front of you. Push the ball forward so that you round your upper back, tuck in your chin and look downward, but keep the lower back against an imaginary wall. With the arms outstretched, reach the ball above yourself, looking up at the ball. Really push the ball as high as you can, getting the shoulders up toward the ears. Then “release” the imaginary ball and bend the elbows as you begin to open the arms wide. Squeeze the shoulder blades together as you move the arms down to get a more satisfying stretch in the chest. Release and repeat. Pro Tip: For more engagement, synchronize your breathing to the movement.
Lissette Caballero teaches pilates, yoga and breathwork in Miami. @yogitraveladdict