At APM we have been impressed by (and grateful for) how quickly people have moved their teaching practices online in lock-down. Like many others, we’ve added ‘Yoga practice space’ to the list of roles our home now needs to play… and it’s required a bit of adapting.
We asked Rosie of Do Your Om Thing Yoga to share her reflections on teaching and practicing yoga at home;
Yoga @ Home
We’ve been liberated from some of the barriers people might have to practicing yoga in person! Travel, availability to attend a class at a certain time and oh-my-goodness-I’m-not-doing-that-in-public, aren’t a concern.
It’s never been easier to access yoga online, because us teachers are busy making videos, and live classes. There’s no travel time or expense, no dress code or specialist equipment needed when you move and breathe at home.
I chose to make videos rather than live online classes because it means students can rest without observation. Being in lockdown has been a curious experience of both invisibility and hypervisibility.
I’m so grateful for zoom to keep us connected, it’s a tremendously helpful business and social tool, but for me and how I teach; I’d like my students to feel less public while they practice.
It also means less time thinking of ways to balance your device so you can see it from all angles. However, the practice of propping up your device for all those video calls has provided perfect training to your home yoga practice; you’ve found a whole host of things around yourself which can be used for supports.
Big books (I hear Shakespeare has really come into his own now) act like yoga blocks to sit on or lean against.
Practicing at home means you see your environment from a different angle; you have a chance to gaze up at the light fitting you spent ages choosing, but until now hadn’t fully appreciated the way it shapes the light.
Pillows get pulled off the bed and placed around the body in restorative postures and rolled up blankets or towels make a custom fit bolster.
You’re also going to learn to occupy your space in a new way. Much like we do with the body; we inhabit space, but do we fully explore it’s potential? How versatile our body and environment are? Nothing is fixed, we can move around and notice how that changes how we feel.
It was only when I pushed my dining table out the way to create my own yoga ‘shala’ (the Sanskrit word for ‘home’ or ‘abode’) and I really the support of the wooden floorboards. I remembered how tired and unloved they when I first moved in. They went through a kind and careful process to restore and rejuvenate them. Thinking about that I noticed my body soften even more.
I feel at home.
Rosie Iles-Jonas teaches classes in Hove (and now in your home!), and holds retreats across East Sussex.
APM Top Tips for creating your ‘at home yoga zone’;
The space doesn’t need to be much bigger than a yoga mat to work – but ideally make it fairly tidy and free of distractions. If you have a space you can dedicate to your practice, spend some time de-cluttering. If not, look for a piece of furniture you can move to carve out space (e.g. a dining table) and have a basket or attractive box (lock-down crafting project?) to hand for swift pre-practice tidying.
Make it lovely
Do something special to signify that for the next hour, this is a yoga zone. That could be putting on music, a favourite lamp, or lighting a candle. See Liz’ advice on creating an at-home sanctuary – similar principles apply here!
Prepare your tech and props
As Rosie says, your favourite pillows and mighty tomes can make excellent yoga props. Work out what works for you and gather your favourites together before you start.
Make sure you have your screen set up somewhere where you can look at it (when necessary) without straining your neck
Depending on your preferred style of practice you may get too hot or cold during the practice. If possible, choose a room with easily opened windows, and / or prepare layers and blankets to warm up.