In Video #3, of the Yoga for Digestion Sampler Series we’ll warm the body through gentle movements, stretch and lengthen the side body and breathe deep. Pair this practice with other videos on my YouTube channel for a more complete practice.
|My mat during Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training|
We are currently converting the yoga room in our house to a nursery in anticipation of Baby Carr’s arrival. When we first made the decision I thought, “where will I practice now?” Our office is sort of cramped and the basement ceiling is low enough that even at 5’4″ my fingertips graze the ceiling when doing sun salutations. Additionally, I have few a props or two, including my much beloved harmonium and a bookcase dedicated solely to yoga books and study.
Clearly, making space for baby is much more important at this time, and I’m having tons of fun planning out the nursery, but as I seek to find balance in what is sure to be a new-crazy-amazing-time in my life, I had to stop wonder, what will my new practice space look like?
|My beloved harmonium|
Let’s stop right there. If I took away all the yoga accouterments, what would I be left with? My mat? Okay, I’ll give you that, but then, why am I letting my mat define my yoga practice space? The answer-I shouldn’t. I’ve had plenty of amazing practices sans yoga mat, what’s different now? My goal with practice is beyond the rectangular mat space as I aim to incorporate the basic yogic principles, or ethical rules of yama and niyama, in my day-to-day and live the life of a yogi to best of my ability. Who needs a mat for that?
Since I do need a place to store said accumulated yoga paraphernalia, I decided that my new practice space will be shared with my office. I’m always inspired there–it’s where I do my best writing and thinking. When I’m feeling like I need more space, I’ll find some!
Here are my top five tips for creating a simple home practice space.
1) Size doesn’t matter. Can you sit, breathe and move comfortably? You do not need an entire studio space for your personal practice. That being said, you want to be able to move around without injuring yourself and without being distracted by the stack of books or pile of papers on your desk. Find a space that fits your needs without taking over the whole house.
2) Keep it simple. At the very least, have enough space for your mat or meditation pillow and a small altar, if you so desire. Unless you are planning to do a yummy restorative practice, you probably don’t need all the extra props. If you desire props, then find clever ways to store them. I used to use my yoga blocks to sit on while watching T.V. or eating at a low table.
By the way, you don’t always need fancy yoga props. Try using items you already have like pillows, couch cushions, scarfs, belts, blankets and towels, before adding more to your inventory.
3) Keep it clean. Practice the niyama saucha, cleanliness or purity, by keeping your space as neat and organized as possible. As mentioned in step 1, you want to stay focused on your practice, not the mess you left behind last night.
4) Remember, practice is more than just asana (poses). Which means, maybe your home practice is focused more on meditation and pranayama than it is nailing your next arm balance and inversion? Consider what is you want to get out of your home practice and make that the intention for the space.
5) Keep it fresh. When you start to feel confined by your small space, change it up. Go outside, take a class or share your practice at a friend’s house. The options are endless. Changing up your space will give a fresh perspective on your practice and maybe even your personal outlook on life.
What are your favorite ways to practice at home? How do you make use of a small space? There are lots more practical ways to get the most out of your home practice. Share your ideas in the comments below!
I’m happy it’s March. I’m hopeful that the weather patterns will start to stabilize a bit. It’s been crazy here over the past few weeks. The flowers are starting to bloom, but I can’t recall that ever happening so early on. Regardless, March has always been one of my most favorite months (with exception of the seasonal allergies that are in full bloom) because everything is in full bloom. Ironic, I know. The birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and color returns once more to Mother Earth. Spring is certainly in the air and I can’t wait to catch the fever—Spring fever that is!
To me, the most beautiful thing about Spring is the ability to capture transformation right before our eyes. We see it as the leaves return to the trees, the birds prepare to nest and flowers start to blossom. This is a perfect time to reflect on the transformation and change you notice with your practice. Take note of where you began and where you are today. Can you see or feel a difference? Relish in the beauty that is all around you and feel revitalized by the energy of Spring.
Dates to note:
March 1: World Book Day. What are your favorite reads?
March 8: Full Moon and International Women’s Day
March 11: Daylight Savings Time. Clocks spring forward one hour.
March 12: Plant a Flower Day
March 17: St. Patrick’s Day and Mercury Retrograde through April 4.
March 20: Spring Equinox
March 22: New Moon. Set intentions for the month ahead.
Did I miss any fun events or dates? Let me know in the comments below.
Photo by Bogdan Sudito
I told the Universe today that I want to write a book.
I’ve been wanting to write a book for sometime, but I’ve never put it out to the Universe all loud and proud like that. We’ll see what happens.
Now on to the real story. February is month wrought with inspiration and dare I say, way to much expectation. Yes, it’s all about love this month, but I prefer to focus on self-love as well as appreciation for the loved ones in my life…all of them. Let’s be honest, if you don’t love yourself, how will anyone else ever be able come close enough to love you? But that’s a different post…to come!
I’m still super excited about breaking out of my comfort zone. Even today I met a yogini friend for coffee to talk about her experience with the 500-hour training I’m considering. This is something that normally I would have scheduled then rescheduled time and time again letting my nerves get in the way, but this time I stuck with it and I’m happy I did. Next week I head to NYC with a dear friend to take class with Sri Dharma Mittra. And for what seems like small potatoes, but is really big potatoes given my experiences over the last three years, for once I’m not stressed about my health coverage or my taxes. Although I know this can change at any given moment, for now I’m enjoying the less-stressed approach to both of these situations.
So what’s on the docket for this month? I’m so glad you asked.
Feb. 2: Groundhog Day. Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow or not? Stay tuned!
Feb. 7: Full Moon and maximum illumination. And if you’re like me, some technical difficulties may occur. Take a breath. it will be okay!
Feb. 12: Lincoln’s Birthday
Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day
Feb. 15: Nirvana Day. Nirvana Day is the celebration of Buddha’s death when he reached total Nirvana, at the age of 80.
Feb. 20: President’s Day (U.S)
Feb. 21: Mardi Gras and the New Moon
Feb. 22: Ash Wednesday
Feb. 29: Leap Day/Year
February is also Black History Month and National Mend a Broken Heart Month which is supported by the My Stuff Bags Foundation a non-profit organization that provides new belongings, comfort and hope to thousands of children each year who must be rescued from abuse, neglect and abandonment across the United States.
Share love. Give love. Spread love. Receive Love. Be Love. And let the Love shine!
I made my way to the living room and sat down in front our large picture window. It was still dark outside, but the light was starting to peek through the trees. I sat for a moment and stared out of the window and then I began to move and stretch. I started with a nice long Balasana (Child’s Pose), found my way into some yummy cat-cow stretches and then worked my neck and shoulders. Next, I moved into gentle twists, forward folds and stretches for my back. Finally, I found myself in my seat, or Sukhasana. Sitting upright, spine lengthened, crown of the head lifting towards the sky, palms resting easy on my thighs, I watched the breath go in and out through my nose and consciously worked to quiet the mind. After a while, I broke my meditation and came on to my back, gazing out of the window again. I studied the way the trees looked against the morning sky and took note as the wind blew through their branches. I considered what I needed to do for the day, but more than that, I considered not doing anything for a little while longer. Finally, when I felt it was time, I got up and started my day.