Tonight I thought we could chat about Space.
I have heard that as Western Yogi/nis we are quite spoiled in the ways of the space in which we practice yoga. We prefer quiet, bamboo/cork floored studios, pretty wall hangings, soft spoken instructor, no outside noise or interference, no cell phones or interruptions and LOTS of personal space. I do believe that becoming angry during a class because: someone's cell phone rang, a yogi was coughing, the busy traffic outside was seeping in etc, is somewhat of selfish and non-essential. However, I do find myself expecting a certain level of exterior peace when I pay ridiculous prices. Following that thread, if it's free than I can't be picky and truly; yoga isn't about the space, it's about our Inner Selves and our Sacred Spaces. The idea is to let go.
For that exact reason, practicing in a Free Lulu community class definitely taught me a few things about the angry voices that still remained in my head and just how little physical space you actually need to practice yoga. Instead of being surrounded by yogi/nis who could afford 16$ classes, we were surrounded by new/experienced yogis who came to practice. Together. People who may have never discovered yoga otherwise or who truly needed it. (not to say that more "well-off" individuals don't need yoga, I just figure that there are many people without food, love, shelter and light). Like when you lived in the dorms, your mat ("bed") is YOUR space and swan dives are not necessary to forward fold from mountain. Simply bring your hands together at heart centre, lift them up above your head and fold with your hands together in front of you.
When you consider yoga as being part of your Sacred Space, the Inner You, then the physical surroundings of your practice no longer remain important. Of course, despite being an "expert" blocker-out-of-sound person (seriously, I studied during Grad school at Cafe Depot coffee shop, Mont Royal & Papineau! in Montreal), sounds and individuals can be distracting and make our Adventure less motivating. Here are some ideas to help carve out a physical space that might begin to reflect your Sacred Space:
Set the Visual Tone:
- Choose some pretty (not too smelly) candles and votives and light them in front of your mat. Not TOO close as those forward folds might result in some hair singe-edge (trust me, it happened last week... lol).
- If you are so inclined, place your favourite Goddess, Buddha, God/symbol near the candles. (my "yoga corner" in BC)
- Buy (or make!) a cheap folding divider and place it between you and the rest of the world. This works especially well if you are practicing in an open space concept area (i.e. living room-kitchen) and would like to separate yourself from the rest of the room. In BC I bought a 50$ divider from Superstore (not very eco, I know!) and it served as a divider between my Yoga Space (ahem- dining room) and the island kitchen. Andrew would cook supper on one side and I'd pretend he didn't exist on the other side.
- Create a permanent "yoga alter" on a little shelf with candles, yoga statues/religious statues, incense (not too strong as it makes it difficult to breathe during your practice) or personal paintings. Have it tucked away in a corner, to be brought out front and center during your practice.
- Bring out larger indoor plants to create a beautiful "green" divider.
- Although, technology wouldn't be ideal, but you could put your computer on a beautiful background or inspiring picture.
- Move the clock, shut off the TV and turn the computer screen to face away.
Set the Auditory Experience:
- Blast Krishna Das to drown out the pressure washer next door (or lawnmower, or kids, or Ninja Warriors lol).
- If you have a fountain or water-dealy bring that out (we have a fishtank).
- Check out "lastfm.com" and sign up for a free trial. Type in your fav "yoga" artist and it will generate a playlist with songs from other related artists you might like.
- Go on Youtube and search for your favourite "yoga" music. Om Namah Shivaya.(my pink yoga/fish room in our fourth place in Vernon)
For myself, the most powerful method to block out the world was through music, even though I prefer to practice in silence. I've listened to Llorca (awesome jazz-house instrumentals), Feist, Tool and the cbc jazz station... and I've found that instrumentals or specific "yoga" music really helps create that "Yes, I am here to practice". Also, one cd of Krishna Das' lasts over an hour... so I can just practice as long as a certain pre-set number of songs. No constantly checking the clock- if there's music than I practice. I've found that only listening to Krishna Das during yoga strengthens that association of Inner readiness to practice.
How do you set your Sacred Space?