Yoga classes, workshops and retreats offer excellent educational opportunities, but sometimes, it's nice to escape the potentially competitive nature of these environments and shift all focus inward. This is best accomplished in a dedicated home yoga studio.
Many yogis go through great efforts to set up comfortable and stylish studios in their homes, but even those living in small apartments and dorm rooms can find sufficient space for their yoga endeavors. No one object or type of scenery is essential for a home yoga studio, but the following recommendations may prove useful while creating the perfect space for practicing yoga:
Nearly any floor imaginable can be used for yoga practice, but many yogis prefer the bamboo used in their favorite studios. Not only does bamboo flooring provide the perfect ambience for a yoga studio, it also is comfortable, stylish and eco friendly. Consider outfitting an entire room or home with bamboo flooring and then simply dedicating a portion of the bamboo-covered space to that daily yoga session.
If bamboo floor is not a possibility, never fear; a comfortable yoga session is feasible in personal studios featuring anything from carpet to tile. For less than ideal flooring, all that is necessary is a proper yoga mat. If the yoga mat does not provide enough support on its own -- as is often the case in dorm rooms with concrete floors -- consider using a traditional area rug and then covering it with a large and reasonably thick mat.
Whether holding a tree pose or finishing that final savasana, even the most focused yogi can be thrown off by poor lighting. Ideally, a yoga space will be fairly dim, although some enthusiasts prefer bright, naturally lit areas. Determine which approach is most favorable and, from there, choose lights or window arrangements that will abide by that vision.
A yoga session in front of a large window can prove incredibly invigorating, particularly during sunrise or sunset. Some yogis love the feel of natural lighting but do not appreciate the increased potential for distraction. If gazing out the window makes it difficult to hold that warrior pose, consider hanging cotton curtains. These will minimize distractions while letting just enough natural light into the room.
For a yoga studio lacking windows, be sure to invest in light dimmers; bright lights are great for studying, reading and checking email, but they tend to detract from the overall yoga experience. One excellent lighting option involves getting rid of all traditional lights and, instead, hanging Chinese lanterns throughout the home studio. These lanterns are stylish and inexpensive, but most importantly, they provide the perfect amount of light for a productive yoga session.
Just as a traditional yoga studio is stocked with pillows, blankets, mats and other essentials, a home studio should feature all of the accessories its user or users deem necessary for success during yoga practice. The type and number of accessories used will vary greatly from one personal studio to the next, but anything that promotes comfort and concentration is ideal. Yoga accessories are not an absolute essential for success, which is why some yoga studios may be completely lacking in pillows and other items.
De-Cluttering: A Yoga Essential
One of the primary goals of yoga is to assist with the de-cluttering of the mind, a necessary endeavor in today's stressful world. Unfortunately, achieving mental clarity can be incredibly difficult when one's surrounding features massive amounts of tangible clutter. Bamboo flooring, dim lights and plush accessories are all nice to have, but a lack of clutter is absolutely essential for a productive yoga session.
This lack of clutter is easy to achieve in rooms that are entirely dedicated to yoga, but for multi-purpose areas, it may be necessary to engage in a bit of clean-up before yoga practice can commence. Clear away any files or papers that may be lying around and get rid of trash anything else that could generate distracting scents. This small amount of work will pay huge dividends later.
Some yogis enjoy using a variety of accessories but do not appreciate the visual clutter they create when stacked in the corner of the room or sprawled out on the floor. This problem can be solved with the assistance of a dedicated storage area. Depending on the yogi and the nature of his or her studio, this storage area may involve a desk drawer, a closet or a stylish bamboo basket.
In addition to finding a storage space, it may be prudent to occasionally sort through accumulated accessories and determine whether any are currently being neglected. Unused yoga accessories can be donated to charity; this simultaneously frees up space and makes it possible for others to enjoy the benefits of regular yoga practice.
It can be easy to get carried away when decorating a yoga studio, but it is important to remember that, in the end, yoga is not about impressing others with gorgeous decor. Rather, it is about achieving a sense of mental focus. This is best achieved through the establishment of a comfortable space with minimal distractions. Do not be afraid to experiment with a variety of setups and discard any approach that does not result in a rewarding home practice session.