Yoga at Home
Very little is required other than the human body to do yoga. For this reason yoga can be done any place that feels safe and comfortable to the person doing the yoga, including in the home. The area of the home selected for yoga may change frequently from room to room or there may be one spot that becomes the favourite.
Whether or not a person feels safe and comfortable in any given setting depends on individual disposition and preferences but the following factors are basic to creating a space for yoga:
- An even and sturdy floor. When the floor is slanted, it is difficult to feel grounded and balanced in your yoga postures.
- Enough space to stretch out the arms and kick the legs up.
- A comfortable surface such as a yoga mat, soft carpet, smooth floor, or blanket to provide cushioning and grip wherever the body touches the ground at the knees, feet, hands, and elbows.
Pictured above on the left are some props that expand the range of postures you can do at home. The orange scarves in the foreground of the photo are used to cover the eyes during reclining poses and savasana. In the dark and under the weight of the scarf, the eyelids can relax and the eyeballs become still.
Bolsters like the purple one in the left of the photo can support the spine in backbends like reclining butterfly and reclining hero. Leaning forward onto a bolster in upavistha konasana or paschimottanasana creates a calming effect by encouraging blood flow to the belly and allowing the head to rest.
The blankets in the middle come in handy during any posture that happens on the floor by providing warmth and weight. Cover yourself in savasana, place them on your belly (backbends) or over your back (forward bends). You can also use blankets to add height to your bolster when you are folding forward onto it. If you do not have a bolster, you could make one by wrapping a yoga mat in blankets. Some blankets (like those filled with feathers or sleeping bags) squish down when you fold them up or sit on them. This makes them good tools for pigeon, reclining hero, or any seated pose. As you open up, your body will release more and more onto the blanket. The blanket will get compressed under your weight and will allow you to get closer to the ground.
Blocks (pictured second from the right) and straps (far right) have a myriad of uses in standing postures and on the floor.
The second photo (on the right above) is of one space in my house where I like to do yoga. You will know best what could help you to create an atmosphere that keeps you focused on yoga. Here are some suggestions and options:
- Surround yourself with houseplants, light candles and burn incense.
- Make a playlist of songs you love that lasts the amount of time you’d like to do yoga for. Or in a quiet environment, let any sounds from inside and outside be part of your practice.
- Dim the lights and close the blinds. Or let the sun shine in.
One of the cool things about doing yoga at home is you have the freedom to do whatever you would like. You are your own teacher and it’s all up to you: how long to stay in each pose, what pose to do next, whether or not to do an inversion. You can also do things on your mat other than yoga poses. You can meditate for some minutes at the beginning or the end, do pranayama (breathing exercises), or dance. You know a lot about your own body and what it has so far lived through. This knowledge is a good guide to choosing the yoga poses in your practice and for deciding how to sequence them.