Moving Inward: Practicing with Closed Eyes

eyesI recently learned a style of yoga where you pursue practice with your eyes shut. The whole time! Yep, no peeking.

It is actually quite an interesting take on one’s yoga practice. The first time, I attended a class, I didn’t get it. I wondered what’s the point and as you probably guessed, I opened my eyes eventually and they stayed open. I was used to always having a specific spot to focus on (dristi).

It is easy to lay down or sit on the mat with eyes shut. Once, we started moving, that’s when it got harder. A lot harder! I found myself drifting off my mat a few times too.

Once, I started learning about this “quiet wakefulness” approach to practice, the light bulbs for me turned on. I could really tune inward and deeply explore my practice. Being able to truly inwardly practice is wonderful and I became more successful with my poses.

Curious?!? What’s the point?

1. Having your eyes closed really changes your yoga experience! Poses that you have regularly practiced (with eyes opened) with little effort are suddenly much more difficult. A big reason is due to our sense of sight contributing greatly towards our equilibrium. However, with eyes closed, slight shifts and wobbliness are apparent and you might fall out of a pose. To make up for this, you might be tempted to open eyes, but if you don’t, you’ll find that the body taps into your muscles to keep you in your desired positions. Muscles work harder and you’ll definitely feel the difference.

2. You have to really tune into the instructor and listen if you aren’t peeking.

3. You’ll fine tune your ability to concentrate and focus. You’ll actually shift inward. You’ll remove obstacles of judgment and competition that often come when you see others on their yoga mats doing something you maybe can’t do. Our ego isn’t in charge.

Some Benefits:

Sight, is probably the most used sense out of our five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell). Closing the eyes allows the other senses to take over and grow strong. Ever wonder how a blind person gets around? It is because their brains are wired differently so that their other senses are well developed. Our bodies are very adaptive and rewiring can happen at anytime. Just ask someone who had an accident change their life.

It is relaxing and refreshing. Think about what you do when you take a relaxing break. Often, you close your eyes and rest.

Have you ever seen someone close their eyes as they attempt to remember something or answer a difficult question?  Closing eyes removes distractions and improves the ability to recall.

Giving it a try.

1. Try rolling your mat out and practicing in a dark room. Maybe tie a handkerchief around your eyes so you won’t be tempted to peek. Use soft, lyric free, spa like music to encourage slower movements.

2. Start practice either laying down or seated. Center yourself with your breath and tune inward. Try deep diaphragmatic breaths verses Ujjayi breath. Diaphragmatic breathing is slower paced than the Ujjayi technique.

3. When you move, start with more grounded poses before the less grounded ones. An example would be modified crescent lunge over crescent lunge. When you become comfortable, try the less grounded options. The worst that will happen is you’ll loose your balance and come out of a pose.

So give it a try. Change it up. See what you discover.

Namaste,

Kristen

Posted in Exercise, Fun, Habits, Learning, listening to your body, mind-body connection, Yoga | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Partner Yoga and the Power of Touch

Picture from Yogaglo: Partner Revolved Triangle

Picture from Yogaglo: Partner Revolved Triangle

There are two ways to communicate, verbally and nonverbally. I’ve always learned that the bulk of what we communicate is really done nonverbally. That is our facial expressions and body language. Touch is a form of nonverbal communication too!

Problem is today, we exist in a very “touch-phobic society.” I remember growing up and hanging out with my friends back when I was a teenager. We’d go out for pizza or something else and you know what we talked, laugher, made eye contact, touched, and essentially enjoyed each other’s company. You don’t see that today. Not to long ago, I was watching the news and saw where a little elementary school boy was suspended because he gave his teacher a hug. Really! And then, I can’t tell you how many times, I see young people out with their friends, but they aren’t making eye contact. Instead, everyone’s heads are engaged to their Smart phones and they are busy texting. All in all, they aren’t truly there. And it’s sad!

So I propose something SCARY to do in your yoga class. And it’s appropriate since Halloween is tomorrow. What is it? Partner Yoga.

Partner Yoga is a great opportunity to get back to those nonverbals. But, if you are introducing it for the first time, I would recommend a gentle approach. Save the climbing on top of each other aerial and double downward facing dogs for a later class.

Here are some great poses to thread together a class with…

1. Community Pose – This is extended mountain but, you are holding hands or the taller person’s forearm. This works great in your sun salutations.

2. Double Side Bend – This is a great limbering/warm up type of pose. You stand next to your partner but side to side.  Place your hand on each other’s hips and the outside hands connect overhead. Just side bend one way and then the other. This is a wonderful side stretch!

3. Lean Away – Another side bend variation. This time step back with the outside foot and place against your partner. Inside forearms grasp. Have a tight hold and lean away from each other.

4. Double Backbend – This time face each other. Grasp hands or forearms and both of you do a backbend.

When you are putting your class together, think about the stages of your class. What can you do in your sun salutations to incorporate touch or partner work? I already suggested “Community Pose” which works great. If you do a sun B variation, maybe try “Dragonfly Twist” and have the partners kind of high five each other.

5. Dragonfly Twist - While in low lunge, the outside leg steps back. Settle hand next to the inside of the foot and twist into the bent leg as arm reaches up towards the sky.

You might consider poses where backsides are together. Poses to consider might be “Star,” “Warrior II,” and “Triangle.” All of these can be done back to back.

The great thing about partner work is that your partner can truly help create depth with various poses. (I wrote about some of these poses a while back so I’ll just list them here). These include “Double Owl,” “Heart and Butterfly and, “Diamond Pose.” Other poses are just fun to do with a partner. These include “Double Boat” and balancing poses such as “Double Dancer,” and “Double Tree.”

So put together a fun partner class. Again, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Know this, recent studies indicate that “insignificant touches” have big positive impacts out in the world. Better tips for waitresses and waiters for one. Interestingly enough, high fives, chest bumps, and backslaps between athletic team members often contribute towards successful seasons which is great for a sports team. Additionally, people are more likely to remember someone’s name when they meet if they shook hands verses if they hadn’t. Then, after you have a partner class, ask your clients if they had fun. Bet they say yes!

So get to work and design a fun little partner class. Throw it in once in a while. Create a fun playlist. Watch the smiles.

Namaste,
Kristen

Posted in Community, Deep Stretching, Exercise, Exercise Foundations, Fun, Partner Yoga, yoga lesson plan ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ashtanga sequence for the gym population

I just recently learned an Ashtanga sequence that is great for the gym if you teach yoga at one. I do. A gym’s yoga clients can be so diverse…lots of ages, different fitness abilities, different reasons for coming to yoga, and different yoga experiences. As an instructor who teaches at a few gyms, I can’t tell you how many people tell me I am their first yoga teacher.

Gyms are different than yoga studios in that fitness is their business not just yoga. Many fitness rooms are multipurpose so you’ll have a variety of equipment (maybe not the yoga kind) in the room. You may not be able to control the thermostat or even the lights. Also, your time maybe limited to only an hour. Often, the word yoga is what is on the schedule, not Ashtanga, hot Vinyasa, Yin, Restorative…
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The following is great for the one hour gym crowd that comes to yoga. It is safe. Temperature is room temperature, not heated. I play soft background music even though music isn’t traditionally played. I allow blocks whereas Ashtanga typically doesn’t use them. Again, this is meant to be an introduction to Ashtanga not the strict practice. I do this sequence once a month and my clients like that.

So what is the sequence, you ask? (Cliff notes version)
1. Sun Salutation A (Ashtanga version). This is repeated 5 times. Pit stops of 5 breaths occur in each Downward Facing Dog. I usually cue the first two and minimally cue the last three as people are working at their own paces. After the last round, members close out the sequence at the top of the mat in Samastithi. This is also a great place to briefly pause so the whole class will start part two together again.
2. Sun Salutation B (Ashtanga version). This is also repeated 5 times. We start together in Samastithi. Then flow right into the sequence. I tell people to go straight into Warrior I from Downward Facing Dog, both right and left sides. This is where people start to slow down. However, after Warrior I on the left side, there is a vinyasa and it is in this Downward Facing Dog that we pit stop for 5 breaths. Once people finish up, we again meet in Samastithi.

****** You can Google these two Sun Salutation sequences. I follow them as they are described.

3. Primary Sequence (Ashtanga version). Generally, my clients can do this part. I do offer and cue modifications. I do the step backs with the right foot and keep the pivots to the back and front of the mat. I also cue to settle into these poses for 5 breaths.
A.  From Samastithi, separate feet hip distance apart. Forward Fold, holding toes with Peace Fingers. Hold.

B. Not moving up, switch up hand position by sliding hands under feet for Gorilla.

C. Triangle
D. Revolved Triangle — close out in Samastithi (at the front of the mat)
E. Angle pose
F. Revolved Angle — close out in Samastithi
G. Wide Forward Folds (long edge of the mat)
– First one is with palms on the mat
– Next, is with hands on the hips
– Third, is hands clasped behind back
– Last, is toe holds with peace fingers — close out in Samastithi
H. Pyramid (I show both hand options: hands clasping elbows and secret prayer) — close out in Samastithi
I. Next is one Vinyasa (like Sun A). Only one breath in Downward Facing Dog. Option to step or jump to hands.
J. Chair (this is from the vinyasa). Stay in chair for 5 breaths.
K. Another Vinyasa. This is more like Sun B where you step into Warrior I on the exhale.
L. Hold this Warrior I 5 breaths. Keep arms where they are and look up as you pivot to the back of the mat. Again, hold Warrior I for 5 breaths. Next, cue to “T” out the arms.
M. Warrior II for 5 breaths. Keep arms out, pivot and find Warrior II.
N. Vinyasa with a Jump Through to land on butt.

4. Seated Postures. This is where I don’t exactly follow the sequence. Remember, this is for the gym population and I only have an hour. I still keep the 5 breaths.
A. Staff pose.
B. Seated Forward Folds. (There are three variations).
– Peace fingers to toes. I also cue shins.
– Hands around feet. I also cue ankles.
– Wrist grab or their favorite option from the previous two.
C. Reverse Plank.
D. Cross feet to do a Half Vinyasa. Jump through to butt.
E. Janu Sirvasana or Figure 4. Each leg.
F. Half Vinyasa with Jump Through.
G. Half Lord of the Fishes. Both sides.
H. Half Vinyasa with Jump Through.
I. Boat for 5 breaths then cross legs and Bump Up (Arm Balance) for one breath. Repeat 5 times. On last bump up, shoot legs back for Half Vinyasa with Jump Through.
J. Bridge. (15 breaths)
K. Wheel or Bridge. (15 breaths)
L. Knees to Chest. Rock up.
M. Seated Forward Fold. Their favorite variation. (15 Breaths).

5. Finishing Postures. Again, there are variations and modifications. I do anywhere from 5-15 breaths here.
A. Legs Up the Wall. I give the choice to stay here the whole time.
B. Shoulderstand.
C. Plow.
D. Deaf Man’s Pose.
E. Knees to chest for everyone.
F. Fish pose. I don’t do the Ashtanga version as a lot of people say that hurts them. Instead, I cue hands under hips and they can use a block if they’d like. I usually cue this for 15 breaths.
G. Knees to Chest.
H. Supine Knee Twist. Right then Left.
I. Reclined Butterfly.
J. Savasana.

So again, this is a gym version. If you pursue this and your clients are ready for more, maybe introduce some of the Ashtanga poses I’ve left out or introduce a few of the intermediate poses.

In my school, I learned about the Ashtanga sandwich. We were told to always have the two buns and the lettuce. The other sandwich fillers were optional. The above is just that.

Enjoy.
Namaste,
Kristen

Posted in Beginner yoga, Community Yoga Practices, Creating Yoga Themes, Exercise, Exercise Foundations, Learning, listening to your body, Stretching, Weight Loss, wellness, Yoga Flows, yoga lesson plan ideas | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Other Yoga Class Formats???

I can’t tell you how many yoga discussion boards I’m part of through various websites and Facebook. There are lots of interesting discussions ranging in yoga topics galore!

One popular question I often see is the “what should I call my class” topic.  They will describe the class and we in the board’s community suggest all sorts of names. Some are pretty creative.

With that being said, I often wonder while cute, does the name cause confusion to the potential client community? Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t. (Cutesy names should always have a class description). Besides the discussion boards, I have lots of opportunities to talk with people on a variety of yoga topics at the gym, work, with neighbors…

Regardless of the source, yoga classes are a big topic and rightfully so.

If you have browsed the various topics I’ve written about, you’ll see that I’ve mainly discussed “Vinyasa” and “Hot Yoga” class formats. (Check those out). However, did you know there were other types of yoga class formats out there???

Check these classes out:

1. VINYASA – This is a “yang” yoga style and anything with the word “Vinyasa” means the practice will be flowing like a choreographed dance with breath being the background beat we all move to. Essentially, you’ll pursue a pose as you inhale and another pose as you exhale. Instructors often introduce breathing cues when the sequence is introduced. Every class will have a different sequence chorography. Some may have music. Some may not have music. Regardless of whether there is music, you’ll move. Vinyasa has other names such as “Flow.” Vinyasa classes can be hot or room temperature. Usually, the word “hot” is in the name if it is a heated room.

2. ASHTANGA – Another type of “yang” class. This type of class also has flowing movements; however, it is different from vinyasa with regards to the design. First of all, the sequence is set and is always the same. Ashtanga is practiced in room temperature and music isn’t typically played. The beginning of the class has sun salutations which are designed to heat up the body. There are built in pose settlings where you hold a pose to find depth (you can call them breaks too) in the sun salutations. Then you’ll move onto the “Primary Series” or “Intermediate Series.” Next, is the “Finishing Sequence.” The rational for pursuing the same poses is there is opportunity to build strength, endurance,  and flexibility within the poses because you are constantly working on them.

3. RESTORATIVE – This is a pretty grounded and static type of class; a “yin” style. You won’t be moving up and down like you do in yang classes such as vinyasa or Ashtanga. Instead, you’ll do a lot of seated and lying poses and you’ll hold these poses for several minutes like 5, 10, or even 20.. You’ll use a lot of props such as bolsters, blocks, straps, blankets, and the wall. The props are meant to fully support the body. The music is usually chill or spa like and the instructor will guide you through a series of poses. This type of class is perfect if you are stressed out, need recovery, or did another workout. I think of it as a yoga spa-like experience.

4. YIN – the name gives it a way. This “yin” class is similar to restorative but the main difference being that you really don’t use props or the props are minimal. You’ll be pretty grounded and have long static poses often held for 3 – 5 minutes. Holding the poses can be intense, but do your best to breath through it allowing your body to slowly release and settle. Breath will be your best friend in this sort of class! Some poses like pigeon seam familiar but the instructor will use other names like swan. After, you come out of a pose, the instructor will cue a short flowing movement or counter pose before moving on. The music will again be more background like restorative. This is the perfect class if you are looking to really deeply stretch your body out but it can be intense even getting out of them. This is why there are counter poses or shortish flows.

5. CHAIR – This class has a prop and its a chair. All the poses will use the chair in some form. You’ll be seated in the chair or you will use it as a support for standing and balancing work. Although chair yoga can be practiced by anyone, it is perfect for seniors, pregnant ladies, people with disabilities, or even those with injuries.

6. FUSION classes have a blend of formats in them. Usually, the blends are yoga, Pilates, cardio, barre, and weight training. Popular fusion classes are called: “Piyo, Warrior Sculpt, YogaFit Strength, and/or Yogalaties.” To name a few… What the classes are called really depends on where you are taking the class at.

So as you can see, there are a lot of class options within yoga. Look at what the gym or studio is offering. Focus on these key words so you’ll have a better idea as to what to expect.

There is nothing worse than an uninformed client thinking they are going to take an active “yang” yoga class like vinyasa but find themselves in restorative (yin). Then these clients whine about it. Don’t be this person!!! However; on the flip side, do we as instructors or managers assume the newbie client should know the difference? Prevention is key! Use fliers and post people to explain what to expect. Maybe have a short demo class prospective clients can sample.

We instructors teach the format that is on the schedule. If it isn’t what the client preconceived, it doesn’t mean the class or the instructor sucked. So if a client throws a temper tantrum and I’ve heard stories, remember it’s them, not you the instructor.

Be informed. Know what’s out there. Or maybe step outside of your box and try something new…. who knows it might be your new favorite class!

Namaste,

Kristen

Posted in Beginner yoga, Community Yoga Practices, Creating Yoga Themes, Deep Stretching, Exercise, Exercise Foundations, Learning, listening to your body, mind-body connection, Stress Relief, Stretching, Tension Relief, wellness, Yoga | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

National Yoga Month – September 2014

Hello Yogis!
Wow, I can’t believe it is September already! This year certainly is flying by. The good news is that it is “National Yoga Month” once again. Yay!

Normally, I celebrate our month by teaching special classes where I slow down from a dedicated vinyasa to highlight a certain pose, break it down, show modifications, make adjustments, introduce or reintroduce the Sanskrit pronunciation, give out handouts, and answer questions. I’ve employed this technique for the past few Septembers and it has been well received by my clients at the various locations I teach at. I’ve learned from my clients that they want to do the pose correctly to achieve the highest amount of benefits or how they can modify a pose to suit their own unique needs. So with that being said, I will continue on the trend this September.
*** If you wonder which poses are great to break down, I’ve done the following successfully:
Chaturanga Dandasana
Half Moon
Camel
Boat
Side Plank

Recently, one of my clients has asked if I would break down some of the breathing techniques (Pranayama) also. So with that request, I will additionally highlight a different breathing practice for each class. In the past, I’ve broken down “Alternate Nostril Breathing” and I still think it is a great exercise to take some time with so it will be one of my choices.

So that is what I’m doing in my classes for my clients.

Now, for me personally, I have my own plans. I plan to celebrate National Yoga Month by incorporating some new and different yoga practices into my personal routines.

• Just recently, I wrote about possibly learning a different style of yoga which I’ll incorporate into my teaching. Well, if you were wondering, I decided to pursue that training. It starts on 10 Sept 2014 so I will be immersed in my own learning and growth of another style. (I don’t think it will be difficult to learn as well as blend into my current teaching since I practice at this studio several times a week). I’ve already started reading the books on the required reading list. I like the books so far!

• The first school that I am trained with is YogaFit and I love YogaFit! They are kicking off a program called “YogaLean.” It sounds interesting and as such, I’ve ordered the DVD and book. I have the DVD and soon I’ll have the book. Overall, it is my plan to incorporate this program sometime this fall with what I will learn. Eventually, I will likely seek the training, but nothing is coming my way anytime soon. Boo!
You may recall that last August, I did a program called the “Yoga Detox” and I blogged about it. (This happened to be from the studio that I am getting ready to train under). While, I liked the Yoga Detox program, I felt it was extremely strict (avoiding the Big 5) and is something difficult to maintain for more than 21 days but it is a great kick off program if you want to make some changes. (I guess I was seeking more of a life long lifestyle/eating change that was doable). Don’t get me wrong, I did the program for 21 days. I learned some things. As a result, I did incorporate some of the changes into my lifestyle and that has been good. However; I’m thinking YogaLean maybe a better strategy based on previews, but as in all things, time will tell.

• And lastly, I ordered a training DVD from YogaFit for what is called INDOBOARD (Standup Paddleboard) SUP Yoga. (I haven’t ordered the board yet, but think I can start on BOSUs which are plentiful where I teach). The INDO board is a great tool to teach and practice on, do SUP in the winter or when you are landlocked, or if you want to increase your core engagement. It is my plan to learn and perfect the technique so next summer, I can incorporate SUP yoga into my own practice, share with friends, and spend more time on the board vs the water.
I’m excited about SUP yoga. From April 2014 onward, I’ve seen tons of pictures from some of my yoga friends on Facebook who were doing SUP yoga in tropical locations. (I’m envious). It looked awesome and really fun. Here in Colorado, I’m landlocked so SUP isn’t plentiful and I haven’t tried it yet but I really want to.
The good news is that I’ve recently learned that you can take classes in a pool via our local dive shop. Those same teachers during the summer teach SUP yoga at two local lakes here in town which is cool. And the best news is that I can do my own SUP in these same lakes with a permit (day pass) and there are some other nearby lakes that have potential.
It is also interesting to note that one of my yoga friends who travels frequently and regularly teaches SUP uses an inflatable SUP board and loves it. I’m happy to learn this since I only have pools and lakes to practice on here, but I could take it with me when I travel to more tropical locations. Regular SUP boards are pretty big!

Can you tell I have some big yoga eyes? For me, September is kind of like January except I make yoga resolutions. The biggest thing will be the studio training, but the DVDs and books will be fun too.

Happy “National Yoga Month!”
I hope you are doing something new or exciting with your yoga practice and if so, I’d love to hear about it.

Namaste,
Kristen

Posted in Community Yoga Practices, Eating Healthy, Exercise, Fun, Habits, Learning, listening to your body, mind-body connection, Personal Home Practice, strategies, Weight Loss, wellness, Yoga, yoga teacher training | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Yoga Fork in the Road

I guess it was bound to happen eventually. I love yoga, doing it, sharing it, talking about it, and teaching it. Not to long ago, I went to my first ever Mind-Body Conference. I enjoyed every minute of it’s total emergence. I learned quite a bit a great stuff.

Fast forward several month’s, I’m frustrated because my school isn’t offering anything I need anywhere near me. I’m post 200 hours and if I want training that means flying and staying in a hotel. Ugh.

I really want a 100 of my post 200 seeking 500 hours to go towards a Warriors training. My school has a Warriors training that the VA will even provide Tuition Assistance for. Anyways, I had the opportunity to take the first class at the conference and then nothing! Nothing is coming near nor anytime soon. That first class was awesome and overwhelming with information. Love the teaser!

I do want to learn verses take classes so I can get hours that would add up to a 500. There are a lot of fluff classes out there. For instance, I paid $199 to basically sit in a circle to hear women talk about menopause. While that is useful information, it isn’t worth paying $199 for it. Essentially, I want QUALITY over quantity to be my 500 hours.

In the mean time, I regularly attend a studio from another school but as a participant. I love this place too. I’ve met friends, have a strong practice, and I like what they teach as well as their style.

I like both styles….

The studio where I practice at is hosting a 200 hour teacher training in September which is just around the corner. I’ve asked about what they teach and what books they use. Interestingly enough, every book on their reading list is not even on my other teacher training list. Wow! Who would have thought.

So if I do take the studio’s training, I’ll have a dual 200 hours. I’m still working on my 500 too. Will I learn a lot of new stuff? No fluff? Is it worth it? I already started ordering their books on Amazon because I will read them.

Maybe I should just read these books and add to my knowledge. Maybe, I’ll love the training and the experience plus learn the new style.

The decision is not about how much it costs or if I can get more teaching gigs. It’s about the journey. And another thing that struck me, was my school that I have my 200 from never had a reading recommendation from anything written by the late Iyengar. The studio does.

Decisions! Anyone else experience this?

Namaste,
Kristen

Posted in Community, Community Yoga Practices, Exercise Foundations, Learning, mind-body connection, Recommended Readings, yoga limbs, yoga teacher training | Tagged | Leave a comment

My Home Yoga Space

There are several places I regularly frequent for my yoga practice. From time to time, I attend my friend’s class at the gym where I also teach. I also regularly visit a yoga studio near my home where I feel very comfortable. Once in a while I’ll go out of my way to experience studios across town or to a park for a sponsored yoga event. All of these yoga opportunities do not include my teacher trainings or when I’m in instructor mode.

What all of these places have in common are that they aren’t at my home. Home is convenient and pretty much available 24/7, basically whenever I am! So to remedy that, I decided to take one of my spare bedrooms and make it my yoga space and I love have a special dedicated yoga space.
Since I have a whole room to turn into a yoga space, I’ve turned to Googling and Pinterest for ideas and inspiration. Let me tell you there is a lot out there! (I also want to tell you up front that I had picked out my room before I started researching the internet).

Thought I’d share some interesting things I’ve come across:
1. MINIMIZED DISTRATIONS:
If you have a dedicated room or space for yoga, you can actually use all of the time you’ve set aside for practice verses moving furniture or being distracted by the kids or a messy house. Another benefit to using a dedicated space is that it helps foster awareness where it is easier to become present in the moment and to listen to your body and with this experience you evolve into your own best teacher. It was this concept that led me to designating a yoga place.

2. DIRECTION:
There is a practice out there known as Vaastu. The practice of Vaastu is essentially designing your home taking into account the four cardinal directions of North, East, South, and West so as to take advantage of certain polarities of the earth. So with regards to your yoga space or room, if you have a choice or at least options, pick the Northeast room or corner. Why? North and east are considered positive directions. To elaborate, according to Vaastu practice, northeast is the direction for spirituality and is also the best section of the home to benefit from healing rays of the morning sun.

Besides Vaastu, I’ve learned that we should orient our bodies to face east during a standing or seated yoga practice with north being our second choice. This includes asana, kriyas, pranayamas, and meditation. (I did see a variance concerning Sun Salutations. If practicing in the morning, face east. If practicing in the evening, face west). For Savasana, the order is reversed. Orient the resting head to the north with east being the second choice.
*** I just happened to designate a northeast room for yoga without even knowing this! Kind of cool! Since I recently started decorating the room, I’ll now look to orienting pictures and furniture so my practice experiences the best direction. I didn’t learn about these directional influences in my yoga teacher training, but I’m excited to know about them as I put together my special place. I believe that there are unexplainable influences that unconsciously affect our experiences so if I can make my practice more positive, I’m all over that!

3. DÉCOR:
All in all, I want my yoga room to be a stress free place and décor is something that influences the environment. To me décor consists of temperature, scents, furniture, room colors, window dressings, and decorations.

I think the best advice that I’ve read in this area was to “design the space to express you and not to impress others.” So with that, I’ve bought things that speak to me. For instance, recently, I was in Kirklands and I saw this beautiful “Tree of Life” picture. I roamed the store for a while and all the while, I couldn’t stop thinking about that picture so I bought it for my yoga room. I also have a beautiful salt lamp and a few tapestries. I’m still looking but I definitely like how my room is evolving.

4. TOOLS AND PROPS:
Again, another top piece of advice that I’ve come across was to think about what I wanted to do in the room and stock it accordingly. For me, that means that I have a dedicated yoga mat for this room for my asana practice. I also, keep a mat in my car so I always have a mat. I also have a book shelf in my closet where I have a nice collection of yoga books, DVDs, blocks, blankets, straps, balls, bolsters, sandbags, and small weights. In my room, I’ve explored various asana based practices, Thai massage, restorative, and a little yoga Nidra. I’ve even invited friends over for a little yoga. So far, I’ve had everything I’ve needed but I know I can make a wish list as applicable.

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All in all, I wanted to share what I’m doing and learning about having personal home yoga space. My curiosity led me to research and the Pinterest pictures are inspiring.

I love finally having my own special place for my practice and to reinforce the concept that health and wellness actually starts in the home! I’d like to hear about your special yoga space or if you are considering one.

Namaste,
Kristen

Posted in Community Yoga Practices, Designing Yoga Spaces, Fun, Habits, mind-body connection, Personal Home Practice, strategies, wellness, Yoga | Tagged | 1 Comment