For thousands of years, yoga has been practiced around the world, offering those who use it improved posture, flexibility, cardiovascular health, mental clarity, and a more enlightened way of living. However, for many of us, finding the time to practice yoga can be difficult, with our long days at work, countless social commitments, and inconvenient yoga studio hours standing in our way. Fortunately, creating your own yoga studio at home is easier than you might expect, and can yield countless benefits for you mentally, physically, and emotionally the more you practice. With just a few additions to your space, you’ll be practicing at home in your new yoga studio in no time. Here’s how:
A cluttered space often leads to a cluttered mind, which is exactly the opposite of what you want when you’re trying to improve your yoga practice. Fortunately, all you need is a bit of room without outside distractions in which to practice. Even if you’re living in the cramped confines of a small apartment, creating a dedicated yoga space, whether that means curtaining off a section of your living room or using a walk-in closet as your serenity space, can make a major difference in your practice.
Finding mental stillness isn’t always enough to get you into the zen zone you seek in yoga. Sometimes, you need to quite literally block out the noise of the world. Adding a white noise machine to your new yoga space can help keep you focused on your practice, making it easier to concentrate on your breathing, the accuracy of your posing, and your strength instead of the sounds outside. If you happen to have a window in your yoga practice space, some window coverings and draft protectors can help limit outside noise and unwanted chills. While your yoga mat may end up covering the floor, putting a rug under it can help muffle noise even further; better yet, it will keep your yoga practice virtually silent, making it virtually imperceptible to cranky downstairs neighbors.
The loud wallpaper or brightly-colored paint you’ve used throughout the rest of your house might not have the soothing effect you want in your yoga space. Fortunately, remedying that is as fast and as easy as breaking out your paintbrush and throwing a tarp on the floor. If you’re looking to create a space in which you can allow your mind to focus entirely on your practice, try painting your walls a bright white — not only will this turn your yoga space a blank canvas, making it easy to redecorate if you decide to move your practice elsewhere, it can also make it easy to clear your mind of intrusive thoughts that might spring up from more vibrant décor. If it’s inner peace you seek, try painting the walls a placid blue hue; research suggests that looking at blue actually has a calming effect and can even help people sleep better.
A little darkness might be fine for a bedroom or study, but when it comes to your yoga space, lighter is undeniably better. If your space has a window, try getting some fun curtain tie-backs so that you can enjoy natural light when you’re feeling a bit gloomy, or install some easy-to-adjust paper or linen shades, which can be raised and lowered from both ends, allowing you to block out the distractions from the street below while still allowing sunlight to shine in from the top. If you don’t have the benefit of natural light in your yoga space, try faking it instead; a sunlight-mimicking lamp can help fend off seasonal depression and may make you happier on a day-to-day basis. If fitness or weight loss factor into your reason for practicing yoga, light can be a major benefit, too; researchers at Vanderbilt University have found that exposure to morning sunlight is correlated with a lower BMI.
While yoga studios may tend to be sparse spaces, creating your own practice space means making up your own rules for what you use to accessorize. If you feel like setting a peaceful mood, try adding some flameless candles or led string lights. Want to keep clutter at bay? Grab an organizer for your yoga mats — metal mesh mail organizers tend to work well for this purpose. And if you enjoy using a meditation cushion at the end of your practice, get yourself a pretty hook and some ribbon and hang it on the wall when you’re done using it.
Yoga is about so much more than flexibility and fitness; the practice of yoga is a lifelong journey that can help improve your emotional and physical health with every step you take. Namaste your way to a healthier, more enlightened, and more passionate life today by taking this sacred practice and making it part of your home. Whether you practice on a daily basis or go through your asanas just once a week, carving out some yoga space at home can improve your life in an instant.