Since the beginning of February, I’ve been a “biggest loser” contestant in a challenge between a group of friends who all rather fondly remember being a lot slimmer. The eating healthy part is easy. The exercise, not so much. I’ve tried zumba (the classes were at inconvenient times – really), kettlebells (the pain!), power walking (yawn) and even contemplated a few kick-boxing sessions (emphasis on “contemplated”).
Long story short, the best I’ve managed is a few early-morning yoga-Pilates-body conditioning sessions in the comfort of my PJs, on my enclosed patio. And trust me, there’s nothing quite like dragging yourself from under your duvet at 4am only to find your face centimetres away from a steaming pile of puppy poop as you grimace into that first downward dog … Oh for a dedicated yoga space!
Interestingly, the reserved-for-yoga room is increasingly being inked onto house plans. Important aspects being considered are natural light, sprung hardwood floors, clutter-free walls for inversions (I think that means balancing on your head – I haven’t quite progressed to that yet) and soothing white décor with plenty of organic elements.
Fine and well, I hear you say, but normal people who live in normal homes and make do with normal budgets can’t really free up a whole room for stretching and meditation. And that’s OK, says practitioner and instructor Meg DePriest. Your yoga space doesn’t necessarily have to be nine by nine feet, as is popularly believed. If you can stretch out your arms and legs while lying on the ground without bumping into furniture, and can go through Sun Salutations without having to restrict your movement, then you have enough space for asana practice.
In the event you don’t have a room that can be kept clear at all times, DePriest advises you to clear the same space every time and then light a candle to signify the transition from what that space was to what the space has become.
Another tip for making sessions less uncomfortable is to make sure the room is ventilated properly and can be warmed in winter. (Also, keep your pets out of it, especially if they’re not yet properly house-trained.)
What many people don’t realise is that yoga is much more than poses and practice. “For me, yoga is also about sitting and meditating. The poses help you achieve strength and flexibility so that your sitting and meditation practice can be more comfortable. Anyone can do yoga anywhere in the home. You work with what you have,” says DePriest.
What DePriest implies here, is that yoga can also be done outside. Pranayama (breath work) is made easy with fresh air, and the sun’s warmth can help improve flexibility. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen. And, I add, it may be preferable to change out of your PJs if your neighbours have a view of your patio or pool-deck.
With a view like the one above to distract me, I may not get around to doing any poses at all.
One thing’s for sure though: if I don’t get off my butt I’m not going to earn the biggest loser title. Sigh. I’m off to look for my yoga mat. And the poopa-scoopa.