As our lifestyles are getting more and more hectic and our minds are getting clogged up with thoughts, worries and anxieties - many of us are looking for a release. Yoga originated in India 5000 years ago and offers a holistic approach to mind, body and spirit, by creating an inner peace.
Today, it’s a tool for people of all ages, shapes and sizes to relax minds and tone bodies. While there are many different variations of yoga, a session will usually involve a combination of posture work, stretches, gentle movement and meditative and breathing exercises.
Whether you’re looking to shape up, relax your mind or save money on expensive yearly gym memberships, creating your own yoga space in the house may just be the answer. It’s a great excuse to take up something new, a fun project to keep you busy and a great weather-proof activity you can enjoy without ever having to leave the house.
Picking your space
As long as your body can move 360 degrees in all directions, you have enough space to do yoga. That said, the more space you have, the better. Any redundant or barely functioning rooms in the house could be perfect - such as a storage room full of clutter you can clear out, an ironing room or an under-used study or guest room. Try to completely clear the room of its original contents, or hide them with the use of screens.
If you can’t dedicate a whole room to your yoga space, just using the corner of your bedroom or lounge can work as well. Just make sure you have enough room to move, can keep that space completely free of any clutter and that there are enough moments in the day when that area is quiet. You should also make sure your yoga space has sufficient heating to keep you warm during your sessions.
Finally, a room or corner with plenty of natural light and a nice view will help to keep you in touch with nature and the change of seasons. It’s amazing how different your space will look as the weather changes. If such a room is currently in use and another is standing empty, why not swap them around?
Yoga is best practiced on a hard, clean floor and with a yoga mat. Although much of the work happens on the mat, you will still need a good, non-slip, stable floor for a lot of the poses. Carpets are not ideal for this and have the added disadvantage of not feeling pleasant under bare feet and being stuffy. Wood flooring is most popular with yogis because it has all the required properties and creates a natural, warm environment. If you can’t afford real wood flooring, consider a laminate or vinyl – you’d be surprised at how realistic these have become! See directwoodflooring.
Next, a simple lick of paint will transform a dull room into a tranquil oasis. Pick your colours carefully as they will have an impact on your emotional state during your sessions. Light hues of blue or green, mixed with white and earthy, natural colours work well to create a calming environment. Avoid big splashes of red or orange, as they are too stimulating. To learn more about the psychology of colours, visit Colour Therapy Healing.
Sarah Dawson is a yoga teacher at Karmi Yoga and gives the following tips on decorating your yoga space: 'Scented candles or incense help enhance the atmosphere and depending on your beliefs or spirituality, a Buddha or picture of a deity/yoga guru can also be inspiring for your practice. If you're limited with space you can easily transform a room in your home at any time by setting the scene with any of the above.'
Yoga equipment and tools
At the very least, you’ll need a yoga mat to complete your room. There is a whole range of other equipment available, from blocks to eye pillows that over time you may wan to acquire to build out your yoga space. To learn more about all the yoga tools available, visit the British Wheel of Yoga shop.
If you are learning yoga from scratch, it can be helpful to practice to a DVD. In this case you’ll need a TV and DVD player or laptop and somewhere to put them. Books are also a great way of learning more about yoga, so a comfy seat in the corner means you can brush up on yoga in your peaceful space. You may also want to include a stereo for playing relaxing music and enhancing the experience.
Whichever tools or equipment you fill your yoga room with, try to dedicate some storage in your room for these tools to minimise clutter – a simple screen might be all you need.
Finally, some more words of advice from Sarah: 'Above all of this is the commitment, discipline or desire to get on the yoga mat and actually practice, even if it is a few minutes of deep conscious pranayama (yogic breathing) - the rewards are huge.'