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How to Create A Om-azing Home Yoga Space

During the pandemic, many yoga students practiced from home via livestream classes and on-demand class platforms. One of the benefits of practicing from home is that students are able to practice more frequently and consistently. Many of us are now getting back to our favorite studios, but some of us will continue to practice from home or find a balance between home and studio classes. This blog offers tips for setting up a tranquil, safe yoga space at home, for the days you can’t make it to the sanctuary of your local yoga studio.

I know a thing or two about creating yoga spaces because I designed my yoga studio! Yoga Next Door started in my living room and then moved to our three season porch. After a year we expanded the porch into a full size yoga studio. These suggestions stem from the experience of designing my space which my students call “beautiful” and “healing” and knowledge of what students need to practice effectively as a yoga teacher.

1. Find a quiet uncluttered corner or room of your home for your practice space. One of the most important benefits of yoga is that it helps us calm and focus our minds. Having fewer distractions when we practice helps us stay focused on our bodies and breath and hone our attention skills on the mat and meditation cushion. If you have a full loud house (like I do) a room with a door is preferable!

2. Set your home yoga space up near a window, if possible. Another important goal of yoga is to feel connected to the present moment. Setting up next to a window will help facilitate this. It is grounding and calming to feel connected to nature or your immediate environment when you are practicing. One of the things I love about the studio space I created at Yoga Next Door is the views of the trees and the sounds of nature when the windows are open.

3. Add a few meaningful objects to your home yoga space to deepen your practice. I like to use crystals and essential oils during my meditation sessions sometimes. Choose crystals or oils that support whatever you are working on emotionally on a given day. I also recommend finding a book of meditations on yoga or poems that you find centering to read before or after your asana (physical) practice. I also have a few pieces of art created by my kids in support of my practice – a painting and a small clay figure. I recommend only a few small things that support getting you to your mat or meditation cushion consistently.

4. Invest in the essential yoga props. At a minimum you should have a mat, yoga blocks, and a strap in your home yoga space. You could use a rope, tie, or towel in place of a yoga strap. I also like to have a blanket and a bolster available when I practice. You can purchase yoga blankets and bolsters or or find substitutes from around your house. Using props in your home yoga practice will make classes more accessible and safe. Since it’s a home practice you’ll have to experiment – noticing whether poses feel better with blocks under the hands, in Runners Lunge for example, or the support of a blanket under the hips in Pigeon pose. If you practice with a good instructor, they will cue and demonstrate how to use your props effectively. If possible practice in a room with a little wall space. You can use the wall as a support in balance poses, or an enhancement for other poses.

Yoga is a unique practice and journey for each of us. Just like finding the right teacher or type of yoga you will need to try different things in your home yoga space to settle in. I hope these tips for creating a home yoga space help you on your way to a consistent, effective, safe yoga practice in the comfort of your hOMe.

Namaste, Jessie

Finding Our Way to Health & Balance

Ah the Winter Solstice and New Year, a time of increased energy and hope. Resolutions are set in January and new habits and self care practices are formed. Maybe you did a 30 day yoga or meditation challenge or went for a walk every day. At the end of January I invite you to hit “pause,” to reflect on what you learned and how to move forward. This blog explores how to (1) maintain your New Year’s self care resolutions, and (2) deepen your wellness practices if you are ready. Discovering my self care balance – a combination of yoga, meditation, diet, sleep and listening to my body – has changed my life.

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Five Game Changing Benefits of Yoga Every Day

Developing a daily yoga practice deeply changed my life. I say that not only as a yoga teacher, but also as a mom of three and a naturally anxious person. A daily practice is accessible to anyone with the discipline to make it happen. In this blog I explain: why yoga now, how to make your practice manageable, and the top 5 benefits of a daily practice. Developing a daily yoga practice can make you stronger, stand taller, more focused and feel better physically and emotionally.

Why Increase Your Practice in Such A Challenging Time?

While 2021 marks a fresh start, the challenges we faced in 2020 will not recede immediately. If you’ve been waiting to start yoga, exercise or increase your practice until after the pandemic, stop waiting! We have to take the time to breathe, move, focus our minds and rest. This is how we can manage our emotions and energy in the coming year.

Expand Your Definition of Yoga

The first step is to broaden your definition of yoga. A daily yoga practice (for most of us) is not a 60 minute sweaty Vinyasa class every day. Rather, it is breathwork, meditation, and any amount of time spent practicing the asana or postures. Your daily practice could be a mediation session, a couple of Sun Salutations, Chair Yoga stretches at your desk, a 20-30 minute flow, or a full 60 to 90 minute class. Having a shorter practice is better than having no practice at all. As the husband of one of my regular students said, “the benefits to her making the time for her yoga practice outweigh not taking the time to do it.”

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Build a Restorative Practice at hOMe This Winter

I always recommend Restorative Yoga between the start of daylights saving time and the Winter Solstice. This is the time of year that our energy levels are lowest (especially for those of us in New England), and there is more on our plates with the holidays. Restorative Yoga is a practice of deep relaxation and rest. A Restorative Yoga practice helps calm the nervous system and release tension from the body. The ongoing pandemic is taking a toll. Many of us are juggling parenting, distance learning, working. We are feeling the emotional effects of decreased community activity and lack of contact with extended family. I encourage you to explore making Restorative Yoga part of your self care and stress management routine this winter. Now more than ever, it is important to hit pause, turn inward, rest and heal so we can keep managing it all and stay healthy in 2021.

While students are still welcome to practice Restorative in the studio, many are livestreaming the weekly Restorative class or accessing the recordings. We ALL have things from around our house that we can use to have a great Restorative Yoga practice at home. Household items you can use for a home practice and my favorite “real” Restorative Yoga props are outlined in this blog. Maybe you will add a Restorative prop to your holiday wish list, or give the gift of a prop and a Restorative Yoga gift card to a loved one this holiday season.

Continue reading “Build a Restorative Practice at hOMe This Winter”

Photo Blog 

Field Yoga & Flower Arranging at Skyline with Farm with Farm to Table Kids, August 2020 (Greenhouse pictures by Thao Kien)

Yoga in the Yard,  June 2020

hOMe Practice Pictures of student’s online practices during Covid-19, Spring 2020

Leap Into Living Well Event at The North Yarmouth Community Center, February 2020

Thanks for the gorgeous photos Maine Tinker Photography , December 2019

Winter 2019

All The Props!

Renovation Complete! Ready for Students , September 2019

Studio Renovation & Expansion ,  Summer 2019

One Year Anniversary, April 2019

T-Shirts

Sunday Yogis Cropped

Chakra Series ,  March 2019

Heart Chakra 2

Next Door Yoginis Ready for Class 🙂 , Winter 2018

Gentle Yogis

All set up for class , Fall 2018

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Studio Fall 2018

Founder & Owner Jessica Petrie (RYT200), Spring 2018

Dancer