If you garden, Spring is an excellent time to practice getting into all kinds of squats, which are useful for many, many reasons. They build mobility & stability in your lower body, they help you maintain the musculo-skeletal fitness you need to get up and down off the floor, they help your abs and pelvic floor function well...
When I first trained to teach yoga, I wanted to be a yoga teacher so badly it made me feel physically ill. Which sounds like a bad thing but kinda wasn't. You see, until that point, I'd never felt particularly passionate about anything. But when I qualified, I found out things I hadn't expected.
Getting to do yoga or meditate at home can be challenging.
You may not have much time at home - and maybe your kids/dogs/cats view the unrolling of the yoga mat as an invitation to clamber all over it, and you. Believe me, I completely relate:
It can be very frustrating. But with a bit of ingenuity, you can squeeze in some 'you-time' and even create a retreat space for yourself.
Having a special little space set aside can be like having a practice buddy, just quietly reminding you to take time out for yourself, do a few yoga poses, sit and meditate for five minutes.
Here's my space. It's just a corner of my not-very-big lounge room.
I use a few elements to make this a space I want to practice yoga in. Given that I am 100% likely to have my practice interrupted, the feeling of retreat needs to come from something other than actual peace and quiet!
Four elements of a great home yoga retreat:
- An anchor for the space. In this space, it's the Buddha statue. You could also use artwork that makes you feel inspired or peaceful, like these from Sweet Peony Press:
- Candles. I love candles, especially ones made from natural materials with pretty, light scents. Lighting a candle at the start of your practice can be a ritual that helps you get into a calm state before you've even done any yoga.
- Intention cards. There is a yogic tradition of setting an intention for your practice - it's called making a sankalpa. For example, making sankalpa to be accepting. How smart, when your you-time might get interrupted! Getting angry about the interruptions won't help, but accepting them? Well, you are halfway to calm already.
- Special keepsakes. These help to remind you of good times and loved ones. Life can be tough, and sometimes we need tangible reminders that it's not always so. Here, I have a set of mala beads I got at a beautiful retreat centre in South Africa, and a heart made from semi-precious stone. I also often add in gifts small children have given me. Right now, there's a little stuffed hippo on my Buddha's lap! You could also add photos of loved ones, keepsakes from special places…the options are endless.
Even if you don't get to use your little retreat space very often, it's so nice to take a deep breath when you walk past it, and remind yourself that your little oasis of calm is always there for you!
But you know? Like I've said before, life is serious enough. You don't need to make yoga overly serious too.
Here are our top four reasons it's OK to giggle on your yoga mat:
- Yoga is about giving yourself permission to be who you are. It’s about finding your true self and embracing all the things you discover. Including joy.
- As adults we are expected to ‘behave’ all the time, to leave behind the silliness and frivolity of childhood and ‘grow up’. Bah! Boring! Who says adults can’t have fun? Who says we should be serious all the time? Why can’t we laugh more often?
- Yoga is about stress relief & laughing is the ultimate stress relief, so it seems smart to combine the two.
- Yoga is also about letting go of old patterns of behavior and thought, so why not let go of the seriousness we are expected to cultivate all the time?
Yoga is about relaxing, so sometimes it's good to forget about being a grown up and giggle.
As Karen says,
Well, the real question is, why not have a giggle? If I look back on all the happy times I've had, a lot of it is filled with laughter and silliness.
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