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  • Shawntell Layaw

Creating space for your home practice

About nine months after I started practicing yoga, I signed up for a 40-day challenge which included a daily yoga practice and weekly group meetings. As a full-time working mom of three, I knew that I would not be able to go to a studio to practice each day. This is when my home practice was born and through completing the challenge, I learned an invaluable lesson. Having a home practice is key to establishing and maintaining a regular yoga practice. There will always be unexpected things in life, meetings, traffic jams and snowstorms, that will get in the way of getting to a studio. The pandemic has simultaneously closed doors of studios and reduced class sizes, while opening windows of opportunities through online classes. There’s still a lot of uncertainty around how the coming months and year will look. Creating a space within your own home will serve as a constant reminder that there is always time and a place for yoga. Try not to fall into the mindset of comparing in studio to home or vice versa, they are not the same and they don’t have to be. It’s ok to prefer one over another at different times and for different reasons. Consider your space it’s own unique location just like you would if you entered a new studio. Some of the benefits to practicing at home are: 1) being able to design your own space, 2) the ability to move your body freely, 3) building discipline and self-confidence 4) save time and stress on commuting 5) freedom and flexibility to set your own schedule 6) explore and deepen your practice.


Choosing a space. To get started you just need a space big enough to roll out your mat. Depending on the size of your home you may want to try out a few areas and see how they feel. I recommend choosing one to be your designated space to use on a regular basis. How you set it up will depend on how much room you have and whether or not the space will be used for other purposes. If space is limited, you may opt to use a shelf or storage container to keep your mat and props clean and handy for when its time to set up to practice. Include your favorite, candles, aromatherapy, inspirational quotes/books. For a larger space you may choose to have an area set up to practice at all times. Either way, a designated space will inspire a ritual and over time become a comfortable place to practice in, and alternative spaces like outdoor decks and backyards can offer a change of space and scenery when needed.


Create a schedule. I love keeping a calendar and I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t schedule time for myself no one else will. I schedule a minimum of 2 yoga classes per week for on the mat practicing, the same days/time each week. A consistent schedule helps me to manage everything else and when a permanent conflict arises, I make an adjustment to my yoga schedule. That said I wholeheartedly believe in intuitive practicing and allowing your practice to be a reflection of what your mind, body and soul needs and when it needs it. You should do what works for you and if you’re not sure yet be open to playing around and trying different things until you find what works.


Fall yoga classes. I offer three weekly group classes in my online studio. It’s been great to get back to teaching again and to reconnect with former students and meet new ones. The virtual space opens to a warm-up room 15 minutes before class and closes with a cool-down room for 15 minutes afterward. The extra time gives us a chance to talk and answer any questions you have that come up during class or in-between classes. I’m also available for private lessons for individuals or groups. This could be a one-time class to fine tune your practice, a special occasion, or recurring classes.


Vinyasa Yoga Sundays at 10am. A yoga class for all-levels, beginner to advanced. A dynamic style of yoga that connects breath and movement with creative sequencing, builds muscle strength, flexibility, and confidence. Come to learn, play and break a sweat in a supportive environment. How to prepare: Yoga mat, water, and towel Optional props: Blocks, blanket, strap.


Beginners Yoga Tuesday at 7pm. A yoga class for those newer to the vinyasa practice or wanting a basic flow. Class is slower paced than an all -levels and focused on developing clear and safe alignment in foundational poses, breathing techniques, and how to be more present in your mind, body and soul. Come to learn, play and maybe even break a sweat in a supportive environment. How to prepare: Yoga mat, water, and towel Optional props: Blocks, blanket, strap, pillow.

Relax & Restore Thursdays at 7pm. A restorative yoga class for all-levels and all ages. Class typically includes 5 or 6 poses supported by props that allow you to completely relax and rest, creating conditions for healing and restoration in the body. Poses are held for 5 minutes or more to allow time for complete surrender and relaxation. The practice has it’s root in the yoga of BKS Iyengar, who developed a style that allows a student to practice without strain or pain and is ideal for those recovering from injuries or illnesses. Benefits include: release of tension in joints and muscles, improved sleep and digestion, reduction in stress, anxiety and fatigue. How to prepare: Yoga mat, bolster or pillows, yoga blanket or towels, blocks, strap.


During this season of cooler temperatures and spending more time indoors it a great time to set yourself up with the tools you’ll need to stay healthy and strong inside and out. Begin with the space that you have and let your creative juices flow.


Peace and Love,


Shawntell


P.S. A little home practice inspiration from my space. Comment below with questions or share a photo of your space.


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