Yoga from home
If you’re like me, and if you’re reading this you most likely are, part of what makes you you is your yoga practice. However, since our studio is temporarily closed, even that might be very different indeed. You might find yourself looking at your home in a completely different way as you search for a space to do your yoga. The bathroom? Warm, but a bit too tight. The bedroom? Comfy, but the carpet makes balancing so hard. Where can I place my mat that the kids won’t find me and neither will the dog? The old yogic texts say only that yoga should be practiced in a clean, airy spot without insects. Beyond that, it’s up to you to make your chosen spot the perfect one.
In a similar way to the heat being a challenge to our bodies in the Hot Room, the distractions and constraints of your home are a challenge for your mind. And, in the same way that we learn the heat is actually helping us go deeper into postures, the imperfections of your home space will help you build your focus and will-power. But how?
Focus on your breath
Perhaps the single most powerful tool we have to make our ‘imperfect’ new yoga practice spot into the ‘perfect’ one is our breath. At home, without the heat, the breath is what we will use to increase the intensity, depth, and fire of our practice. Yogis figured this one out a long time ago, and they called it Ujjayi breathing: the victorious breath. You probably know it from the pranayama exercise we do at the beginning of many of our classes, with the inhale through the nose and the exhale through the mouth. But did you know this breathing style can be used during your entire practice?
It’s a very subtle technique, but it can be used even by people just starting with yoga. All you need to do is focus on creating an ocean-like sound in your throat as you hold your poses and while moving in and out of them. Don’t force or exaggerate this sound; let it be soft and quiet at first—like a secret, something no one else should hear. As you breathe in this way and move through the postures, keeping the mouth softly closed, you will feel the heat building up from inside you and notice that your concentration and strength grow as well. With your focus on this interior activity, the outside world will lose its power to distract and rush. You will go deeper, from the inside out.
Though we are sad not to have our beautiful studio to practice in at the moment, we are also so excited to continue sharing our practice and knowledge with you. Even more thrilling to us is your desire to continue practicing and learning, and how open you are to change and this new situation. As always, your practice is there for you—to keep you sane, to keep you fit, to keep you focused on what’s good in life—and now is the time to get to know it in a whole new way.
This article is part of the “Yoga Talk” series where our teachers share their journey in yoga from a personal & intimate perspective.