Setting Up a Home Practice

Its my first day back in the office after Christmas/Cold-a-thon and I’ve had a surprisingly satisfying day.  Just busy enough to make it go fast, but slow enough to make an occasional cup of tea.  Can you hang a sec?

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Much better.  Anyway, I’m waiting for a project to come back to me with edits for filing, so I have the odd minute to comment on getting ready for my home practice and what a weird process it can be.  

The essentials

I already have a second mat (Gaiam, although I’m thinking of ordering a slightly thinner Manduka mat for Ashtanga classes, so my first mat may become my second).  I already have three blocks.  Two full size, perfect for utpluthih at the end of the Ashtanga closing sequence or for practicing jumping back. 

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Another smaller one, which works for seated postures.  I have a stretchy strap, a regular strap, and a towel strap.  But I wanted a couple wool army blankets for seated postures and restorative poses, maybe a bolster or a meditation seat to make it enticing, and hit amazon after finding YogaDirect delightful but overwhelming. 

The thing is, I am using a portion of my cooler family room, not a special zen garden I’ve set up, partially because I don’t have one, partially because I don’t know how I would create one (YET!), and partially because cutting myself off from the house has inhibited practice.  So spending a lot on yoga gear for a yoga room doesn’t make a ton of sense.  

But maybe it does?  One studio I love doesn’t have bolsters, which means, for me, in certain reclining bound or backbend postures, that I am using a variety of contraptions.  So when choosing classes, I’m always drawn to the studio where space and supplies are plentiful.  

This is one of my favorite restorative poses 

 

bound angle with

bound angle flat

The difference with and without the props is huge. While I might choose the later as a way to stretch my hips after a hard practice, it doesn’t accomplish the same goals. Same with backbends like reclined hero’s pose where my (STILL) tight thigh muscles would prefer I recline on something other than the flat floor.

So I’m getting the blankets and the bolsters.

But what about meditation? I’m not only committing to a Hindu style mantra meditation (expect lots on that later), but also to a few minutes of meditation every day before practice. Do I need a meditation cushion? A new mala (never mind that I could make a Tibetan-wrist mala in 20 minutes, I still want one)? Mantra books? Should I make a sacred alter? Do I want a sacred alter? Probably, but I don’t know what one looks like yet, so for now, I’m focusing on mantras associated with the chakras – after a series of amazing workshops and conversations opened me to this practice.

chakra

In fact, books are becoming the biggest stresser of all, if only because I endlessly love yoga books. So surely I should have them? But which? Any favorites I should consider for a home Ashtanga practice?

books

In the hopes of keeping all things in moderation, I’ve decided this month really will be yoga book month (except for my audio books), so I am getting a few already on my wishlist, a few on meditation, and a few on setting up a home practice. Or at least, I am getting a very few, making lists of a few more, and waiting to see if I need anything more than my mat, my props, and the imprint of my practice in my mind.

Guruji

Update on #365Project Later, Gaters! Back to work!! xoxo

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