So you finally tried yoga and realized that you like it. You’re comfortable in downward dog, love child’s pose and even some intimidating postures aren’t as scary as you once thought. How do you keep doing it at home?
For those with enough room to create a designated area for yoga, there are a variety of tools you can include, everything from a mat to blocks and chairs, depending on available space and budget. But the good news is that you don’t need a lot of space.
“There are so many things that you can do just standing in one spot or even sitting on a chair,” says Jenny Ahn, a Seal Beach yoga instructor, who says she’s even done yoga in an airplane. “I think you can do yoga anywhere, even in your kitchen.”
Amisha Stanley, who teaches yoga for beginners at Los Angele’s The Tree, says you can do poses in all sorts of tight quarters, from office cubicles to corners of your home.
“If it’s in your hallway, you can use that hallway to practice your handstand,” she says. “You can use the wall to practice standing up straight and working on your posture. If you’re in your kitchen and your kitchen is your sanctuary and you enjoy cooking, use that opportunity to work on your balance.”
And you don’t have to buy the extra accessories either.
“Everything is a yoga prop: the couch, the chair, the table,” says Los Angeles-based instructor Clio Manuelian, who teaches at Equinox and Wanderlust. “If you have a very narrow kitchen with counters on either side, that’s a great space.” That said, serenity breeds mindfulness and vice versa. No matter where you’re practicing at home, keep the space tidy. “The place should be clean and should have some uplift to it,” she says.
If you do want a prop suitable for a small space, Tawna Renee, who teaches at Laguna Beach’s YogaSapien, suggests a balance ball.
“You’ll see that alone is one great practice to help alleviate tension and activate the body a little bit more,” she says. For students practicing in cubicle-sized spaces, she often suggests sitting on the ball (“nice and tall,” she adds) and working on nadi shodhana, or “alternate nostril breathing.”
Noise will filter into a home studio, of course, but whether it’s traffic, construction or simply the sounds of other people, those sounds will become less obvious once you’re entrenched in your home yoga session. “You’re able to disconnect from some of the other sights and sounds and smells that are going on around you,” Stanley explains, “because you’re more internally connected to what you’re doing instead of what’s going on around you.”
But if you’re having trouble filtering out the noise, Ahn suggests earplugs. “When you wear earplugs, you can actually hear your breath better,” she says. “That would be a really great practice if you want to deepen your pranayama, breathwork, practice.”
Maintaining a self-care routine is important and that, Renee notes, extends to starting your day with an intention and practicing mindfulness throughout your day. “That’s really the goal of yoga,” she says, “Full awareness, mindfulness and presence in everything that you’re doing.”