On top of life’s many distractions that deter even our best attempts at a daily yoga practice, space is often a hard one to overcome. With more than 1/2 of the North American population living in apartment complexes, not to mention shared space with family and roommates, it is easy to understand why making an at-home yoga space seems like a nearly impossible task. Have no fear yogis, I have compiled a few hints that will make it possible to create your own yoga oasis at home on a very reasonable budget.
Though I personally lean towards accessory-free practices,
there are a few essentials we need for our space.
A great yoga mat
Whether it is a thicker mat for weak joints or a foldable mat for a quick clean-up, it is important to find the best option for your needs. The average yoga mat measures 20 x 70 inches, so with a 4 x 6 ft space, this leaves room for books, a water bottle, and accessories.
To find the perfect yoga mat for you, click here.
Blankets are essential for comfort, to be used as an added accessory during practice, or to cover up during savasana. I favour styles that are hypoallergenic and quick dry, like merino or alpaca wool.
Along with straps, yoga blocks are the most versatile accessory for practice. Use them to prop up the body in more demanding postures or as a book and laptop stand. Best yet, they pile up easily for a quick post-practice clean-up.
Straps and elastics
Straps are an incredible tool, excellent for altering stretching postures and helping with upper body stability. As a bonus, they can be used to tie all of your equipment into a tidy bundle. As a retired dancer, I always have elastics on hand that can double as a strengthening tool, take up next to no room and replace your straps in a pinch.
Where to set up
This is one of the most important decisions when creating an at-home practice space. Look for an area with natural light and room around you that allows for a full sun salutation. If you have a window nearby for fresh air, even better! And a nice view never hurts.
Zen killers: what to banish from your space
To get the most out of your practice, you want to avoid loud or stressful noises and high-traffic areas. Try negotiating with your roommates, partner and kids to have the space to yourself during your practice. Though there is often a certain amount of open space in the middle of the kitchen, I wouldn’t recommend it as there will be a constant battle between your practice and that tub of Cherry Garcia in the freezer (FYI; ice cream always wins). Also, fluorescent lighting and screens can be a real mood killer. The rule of thumb is to make the space as natural, calming and unencumbered as possible.
Go the extra mile
The final and most important thing when setting up your space is to have FUN and make it your own! You can add an essential oil diffuser or an artisanal incense burner. Plants bring us closer to nature and purify our air. Colourful rugs and tapestries awaken the senses and stir our passion. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to decorate your space, if it is a reflection of you and the things that bring you to your mat.
Gabrielle Coulter is both a choreographer and a healing educator across various forms of movement. She has been actively involved in the fitness industry for about fifteen years. Her curriculum includes contemporary dance, yoga fusion, YogaJam, GROOVE, and movement therapy for physical and emotional rehabilitation.
Passionate about health and well-being, Gabrielle recently contributed to the emergence of a dance and yoga community in Gaspé. She has been in charge of various philanthropic projects, including fundraisers for L’Aid-Elle, Accueil Blanche Goulet and 60milliondefilles.org, a non-profit organization based in Montreal bringing education to girls and young women in economically disadvantaged places.