Practice Yoga At Home

YOGA SPACES

how to create a home yoga practice space

A beautiful open space for yoga

A few weeks back I attended a yoga retreat in the Catskills. The practice space was glorious, and faced out into the mountains. Trees were visible through the windows, there was a sense of light and air, and we all had quite a bit of space around our mats. This is, or can be, a completely different experience for us when we are at home, trying to vie for a peaceful corner of a small apartment, or in a yoga class with others where space is at a premium.

CREATING YOUR YOGA CORNER

how to create a home yoga practice space

the wall as a yoga prop

I literally keep the visual of this beautiful and spacious practice space in my mind’s eye, however, at home, I do not have that luxury. I don’t actually care; super grateful to have what I have, which is a blend of home office and space to roll out a mat. I think there are a few key ingredients to creating a yoga space at home, and however you do it, in whatever scale, this mini guide may set you up for success.

WALL SPACE

The wall is a fantastic yoga prop and has always been my top choice for my home yoga spaces.

Here is my corner. What you can do is not actually hang things in one area so that nothing falls on you when you swing up into Viparita Karani

INVEST IN PROPS

how do I create a home yoga practice

invest in good quality yoga props

I have more in the closet, including yoga straps, Iyengar chairs and other tools of the trade. Buy good quality.

Even if you have two good blocks and a 10 foot yoga belt, you can improvise with towels and sofa pillows, especially if you want to add restoratives, or pranayama

ADD PERSONAL TOUCHES

Adding a few personal and meaningful items to your corner can bring your space to life or make it into a “sacred space”. I like plants, and have a few special things as touchstones of peace. Use whatever you like, whether it is a seashell, a candle, a photo, a flower.

making a yoga space at home

some beautiful objects of calm

It really does not matter what your practice space looks like. If you are practicing pratyahara, you can pretty much just focus on your body and your breath…enjoy :-)

a simple guide to creating a sacred space

cultivating inner Strength

inner strength

inner strength

cultivating inner strength through yoga practice; “Make a firm decision: Whatever happens, I will be happy, I will be strong, God is always with me”. Very affirmative. Maybe you can’t digest all of it, but the sentiment behind the words is very inner strength building. Yoga is a multi-dimensional practice aimed at quieting the mind so that we can live a healthy, balanced life, make informed choices, and face our circumstances with flexibility and resilience…..but it is a very conscious process. We have to use discipline in many areas and as much as possible, remind ourselves that when we are challenged, we often have reserves that if we tap into, if we decide to tap into, we can rise to the challenge with softness and strength, stability and ease.

We tend to think of strength as brute force, but I think it is more of an integration (mindbodysoul). I just read an article in Psychology Today in which the author says;  “a strong person has great capability at facing challenges. Being strong means having the resources, the mental skills, and the physical capabilities to confront difficulties of all kinds. When you are strong, you have the ample excess of energy and stamina, so that when facing a challenge that depletes you of energy and inner strength, you still have enough left in you to act”

After reading this, maybe you can come to see that the softer sides of yoga ~ pranayama, relaxation, restoratives, meditation, all help to cultivate inner strength

yoga and resistance

yoga and resistance:

Do you ever stretch in a pose and come across a sensation where the body/mind won’t budge? Did you ever have to get moving on something (like a project) and meet with a reluctance to begin, or a lack of impetus and focus to sustain the project once you have started it? One definition of resistance is “a force that tends to oppose motion”. I like that, as it pretty much covers the physical, mental, emotional components of life, and I see life as a moving meditation.

yoga and resistance

Sometimes we hold ourselves back from positive change, especially when things are unfamiliar. Sometimes we refrain from pushing ourselves into a yoga pose because the resistance is a closed door, and we know busting through willfully will likely lead to injury. There is certainly a spectrum of what is appropriate. In fact, our immune system is the best example of resistance in that it is built to ward off sickness and disease. A good question to ask oneself is whether there is some kind of fear lurking in the mind that is preventing and sabotaging our potential new growth, purpose, or path. Certainly, deepening one’s awareness, one does come face to face with revelations and truths that staying distracted can camouflage.

The mindfulness built into yoga can help. I chose this quote because I think acceptance is key. Know who you are, honour yourself, and choose to challenge yourself purposefully bit by bit. Accepting where you are takes the resistance out of the moment, and may teach you a thing or two about what, if anything, is standing in your way of moving forward or beyond

 

Word of the day: dharma

Word of the day: Dharma

dharma

This quote reflects the meaning of the word dharma in the yoga tradition. In the broadest sense, the word signifies ‘life purpose’.  Many people find, once they start to practice yoga, and experience a quiet mind, they can hear the voice of intuition and inner guidance. This is different from the “I should do” voice, and often, people start to align more with a sense of what I am here to do. Is this you?

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it” ~ Buddha. Yogis believe that finding your life purpose, or dharma, can be a vital component of balanced and healthy living. With the sensitivity and self-study that are cultivated, we often find we make more nourishing choices. Self-examination is not just about uncovering negative thought patterns, but also, extends to lifestyle.

Are you living in a way that promotes healthy thinking, eating, behaviour? Do you get enough rest and sleep? Could you organize your life differently, eat more regularly? Do you work too much or not enough? Is your work meaningful or, is there a meaningful aspect of your life that you could devote more energy to? Just questions.

In any event, I am off duty today, Labour Day, and conserving a bit of energy for the busy week ahead.  I have updated my group class schedule and available for private yoga lessons in Hoboken, and Jersey City. Some of the group classes require registration.

Yoga and Union

Yoga and Union

My teacher always said there is fear/panic/anxiety on one side and trust/calm/spirit on the other. If you practice and keep building up the surrender/relax side you feel more of a symbiosis with your life, more connected to what is happening. It is an easier way than fighting it, for sure.

In the Bhagavad Gita, the great yogi warrior and Godhead of the Indian bhakti movement, Krishna emphasizes that yoga is union, love, the source of all things:

He who is rooted in oneness
realizes that I am
in every being, wherever
he goes, he remains in me.

When he sees all beings as equal
in suffering or in joy
because they are like himself,
that man has grown perfect in yoga.
 (BG 6.29-32)

In the yoga sutras, Yoga is set out as :

Yogah Citta Vritti Nirodahah which is translated as follows by Georg Feuerstein:  Yoga is the restrictions of the fluctuation of consciousness.

The term yoga is derived from the literal meaning of “yoking together” (horses) but came to be applied to the “yoking” of mind and body. Certainly, when your mind is focused, and you go beyond the distractions and drama in life, you feel more connected to everything, more plugged in. This is a nice way to affirm that concept: “The way to become one with the universe is to trust it”

Yoga and Union

The Om Symbol Breakdown

The OM Mantra

Using a mantra, such as the classic OM, also pronounced AUM, can be transformative;

it is not about mindless repetition though – so if you use one, the more you understand about it, the more you vibrate on its frequency.I typically start and or end a yoga class with 3 rounds chanted in unison.

Maybe knowing what it is about, you will be more inclined to embrace the chant. (I have seen it and heard it chanted with more of an “OOO” but also enunciated where the sound is more AUM) ~ Typically for a practice like that we inhale rather fully, with the exhale let the A resonate in the belly, the U resonate in the chest, and the M resonate in the top throat…

“Om is the all encompassing cosmic vibration of the universe”

The OM Symbol breakdown

Let me mention, I am not the author of this beautiful chart and I must have found it from the Internet, where I am only assuming, it is safe to borrow from. This is a great breakdown of the symbol which we see everywhere.

The Om encompasses the waking, dream and unconscious states. As we develop spiritually, we pass through the illusion that is said to veil us and prevent us from moving towards the Absolute state of consciousness

Hopefully even just reading about the symbolism transports your consciousness :-) enjoy and see if you can fit some practice in along side your pranayama

om infograpphic

Yoga To Keep A Grateful and Prayerful Heart

Another snow day in New Jersey. Just gets me reflecting  on the idea of staying a calm centre no matter what is going on.  If you struggle with this, try my YOGA MIND cd for some great practices; 5 or 15 minutes can make a difference. When the weather passes, feel free to contact me here in Bergen County for a private yoga class – one of the best ways to practice YOGA since it personalizes all the benefits 

Stay calm, warm and safe and do a little practice to keep a grateful and prayerful heart

everyone in gratitude praying

Yoga is a great way to nurture yourself

The “goal” of practice is to quiet the mind and this in turn leads you closer to your highest self.  There are options: in this very moment you can start breathing and relaxing with a few tips from my Yoga Mind Cd; – join one of my public yoga classes in Tenafly or book your private yoga class with me ~ In a private yoga class, we focus on your goals, it is a very nurturing time for the student

always take time for soul searching

Coherence

“Yoga..is the art which brings an incoherent and scattered mind to a reflective and coherent state” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on PranayamaNew year, new you. Perhaps you are seeking to be more peaceful or be able to move through daily and or sport specific activities with less pain, and better posture. All great reasons to contact me for private yoga classes here in Bergen County, or check out my Yoga Class Schedule

nourishment