Is it easier for you to zip out to a yoga class, rather than practice at home? A home practice takes some getting used to, but sometimes, that private space is exactly what you need. And you don’t need an immaculate dedicated yoga room to make your home practice more meaningful. Wherever you choose to practice, Kara Jovic brings a little Wanderlust wisdom our way today, sharing 5 simple ways to bring more clarity to your practice outside the studio.
Balance out all that at-home-yoga love, by signing up for the Movember Foundation’s 30-day MOVE challenge and be automatically entered to win our Move Your Way to LA giveaway. Prizing includes a $750 travel stipend, a week of unlimited yoga + meditation classes at Wanderlust Hollywood, a four-night stay at Loews Hollywood, and some sweet TOMS sunglasses (because you honestly cannot hit LA sans shades.)
Here’s Kara from Wanderlust on five ways to spiritually pimp out your private at-home practice…
As yogis we know our inner strength, our boundaries, our edges, when to push through and when it’s best to relax. Our thoughts come and go with the ebb and flow of our breath, the rhythm of our asana.
Despite the noise of the world around us, yoga creates a quiet space inside, clearing away the mind-chatter so our innermost needs and hopes can be known. Sometimes they may come in a whisper and at other times in a flash of clarity or a long-held desire or dream.
The use of ritual in our home practice can help bring those whispers to life, nurturing them into a courageous roar of action, inspiring us to follow through on what we often already know. Here are 5 ways you can integrate the power of ritual into your home practice.
The Power of Ritual: 5 Keys To A Home Yoga Practice
Have a dedicated and clutter-free area for your practice. Steamer trunks or other storage units are great ways to keep everything like mats, props and books accessible and ready-to-use. This is especially helpful if you have a room that needs to serve multiple purposes throughout the day.
Placing plants, flowers, crystals or personal items you love can also bring meaning and create a space that’s as enjoyable to look at, as it is to be in.
Smudging (burning white sage or sweet grass) has been used by Native Americans in ceremonies and is also a great way to clear a space as a form of ritual. Beyond the traditional idea that smudging can dispel negative energies, it can also add a lovely aroma and set the stage for deeper meditation.
Essential oils, whether diffused through the air or placed on your wrists, neck, or temple, can calm (lavender, bergamot) or energize you (peppermint, citrus oils). They provide pause for greater awareness and a deeper experience on the mat or during savasana. Just make sure that the oil you’re using can be applied directly to your skin, as some oils need to be combined with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil to be used topically.
Resins like frankincense and myrrh or Japanese incense made from sandalwood and spices are also great, natural options. Being mindful when applying or using aromas can evoke a peaceful and reflective state.
Sound is one of the most ancient ritual elements. Music can lift your spirits and resonate in unexpected ways. Tibetan singing bowls or kirtan (chanting) can be powerful ways to begin or end your practice.
By creating your own playlist or getting inspired by your favorite yoga teachers on Spotify, there are many ways to bring greater meaning to the mat.
Mantras & Meditation
Thoughts are things. People can be in the same situation but take away completely different experiences based solely on the words they use and the stories they tell themselves. Numerous studies have shown how a positive attitude impacts how fast someone will recover from illness. The power of words is undeniable.
Using words to ground our experience is one of most impactful ways to bring meaning to the mat. Dedicating your practice to someone you love or holding gratitude in your heart at the beginning or end of practice reminds you of what you do have vs. what you don’t.
Placing a word at the top of your mat that you can look at as you progress through your flow keeps a quality you want to embody – clarity, peace, love or adventure – top of mind. It can be a word you write on a piece of paper or you could keep a bag filled with different words or quotes and serendipitously pick one either at the beginning or end of your practice.
Let there be Light!
Lighting candles creates a warm and soothing ambiance. They can be chosen for their aroma or color and fill your space with a calm, reflective feeling. Using candles as a focal point for meditation also helps center you in the present moment.
The simple ritual of holding an intention or word while you light the candle or blow it out can bring that quality further into your consciousness. A single word like courage or love may come to mind. The first word that comes to your mind is usually what you need most in your life. Sometimes the word that comes to you may be something you need to release or let go of – the idea is to not edit yourself. We censor ourselves too often in our daily lives and the ability to simply be without all the stories and expectations we usually hold against ourselves can reveal what really matters most.
WIN OUR “MOVE your way to LA” Giveaway
Sign up for MOVE and enter to win a yoga trip to L.A., courtesy of Wanderlust Hollywood, the Movember Foundation, Daily Secret, Bootprints, TOMS and The Chalkboard Mag. MOVE is Movember’s latest way to raise funds for men’s health.
What you'll win:
– 1 week of unlimited yoga + meditation classes at Wanderlust Hollywood (valued at $199)
– $750 travel stipend
– Loews Hollywood Hotel 4-night stay (valued at $1339.18)
– TOMS Sunglasses Pack (valued at $152)
The Fine Print:
This giveaway closes on November 10, 2015 at 5 p.m. P.S.T. Open to continental U.S. & Canada residents only (Quebec excluded). Winner will be chosen at random.