Since I started teaching full-time a little less than two months ago, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to teach very open beginners in both home settings and fitness centers. I can’t complain – the students’ development and the growing interest has been more than I ever expected so thank you to the universe 🙂 This blog though will be due to the realization that, though you can practice yoga everywhere, not all practice spaces are created equal. But they can be, with a few yoga hacks 🙂
The beauty of yoga is you can literally practice anywhere where there’s a clear surface with flooring that isn’t so hard on the knees. Some people think that space and a few yoga mats are all you need and to an extent, that’s completely correct. But here’s what fitness centers who want to bring yoga to their clientele, as well as we home practitioners have got to remember: yoga isn’t just about physical practice. (And if ever you’re in a gym or any fitness center that offers yoga, that’s what you should come to expect.) In yoga, a centered mind is equally important (maybe even more important than) a strong body. Let’s be real, it’s so hard to meditate and this ‘centered mind’ can be difficult to achieve – so we have to help ourselves a little by creating the ideal space.
A lot of it is the teacher’s responsibility 🙂 Here’s what you can expect from us:
We decide how best to set up the mats so everyone has clear view of demonstrations and people aren’t hitting each other when they lift their arms up in trikonasana/triangle, or kicking each other when they get to their virabadhrasana 3/warrior 3.
If your teacher likes to use music, you can expect they’ve brought with them the right music to get you in the correct mindset and give you energy cues through what you’re hearing.
To create ambiance, some teachers will even bring candles, aromatherapy, blankets, maybe even plants.
Most importantly of all, we come with as centered a mind as possible so we can share this energy and our calmness to the people who’ve come to be taught.
But! It’s a two-way street 🙂 If you’re holding a yoga class in your gym, fitness center or even your home, here are just four simple yoga hacks you can do to turn your studio or your living room into an instant shala.
1. Minimize noise.
- At the gym, fitness center: If you’re playing music in the gym, tone it down just a little bit. Enough that the people outside can still hear it, and enough that it doesn’t bother people in your studio who are trying to get their ohm on. It’s also best to warn the teacher if you do play music nonstop, so they can prepare their own class soundtrack.
- At home: The easiest way to minimize noise is to pick a quiet place to begin with. If you’ve got a patio, a garden, or a room no one really uses, that’s your yoga space. But, if it isn’t possible, just identify the possible sources of noise and see how you can turn it down. If you can turn the ringer off the phone, go ahead. Otherwise instruct someone to answer it right away. If people are watching television in their rooms, kindly advise them to close their doors. So on and so forth 🙂
2. Lessen the foot traffic.
- At the gym, fitness center: One way to do this is to maybe advise people once they sign up that when there are group classes going on, it’s best not to go inside the studio. If there’s shared equipment in the studio that people need during their workouts, just put a sign up on the door that says something like, “Pass quietly through the sides and handle the equipment gently.” The last thing you want your students to experience is hearing loud chatting or dropping weights and equipment while they’re trying to get centered. For people who are new to yoga, it’s easy to get distracted and keeping focused is sometimes a delicate task. It’s also a way to show respect to other people who have come to the center for the class.
- At home: If you’ve got a set time and day with your instructor, inform your household of it and tell them that your yoga time is your me-time. As much as possible, tell them not to enter the space when you’re practicing. If they have to, ask them to pass by quietly. This includes adults, children, and even our pets.
3. Get the right equipment. Another thing that will make it hard for you to get into your practice, slipping and sliding because you’re using a substitute yoga mat. Aside from it being difficult to get centered, this could definitely lead to injury. So what will you need? At the very least, yoga mats.
- At the gym, fitness center: If you’re a fitness center – don’t worry this is an investment. Aside from being used for yoga, a lot of other exercises can be done on the mat. You can be sure you’ll be seeing your other clients pulling the mats out for their own regimens. Also look into getting straps and blocks. Just like the mats, these can be used for all kinds of exercises and it will most definitely enhance the experience of your students when they take the yoga class. This gives the teacher more leeway to be creative in how she/he teaches and how things can be easier or more difficult. If you’re offering a yoga class, might as well make it a good one 🙂
- At home: Invest in getting a mat for yourself. Aside from being useful for other activities (like a picnic or camping), getting the equipment you need will motivate you to practice even more 🙂 You don’t have to get the expensive ones, whatever you can afford will do. And if you find that the mat you got can be a little slippery, just put a towel under your hands or feet to give yourself a little extra traction. If you don’t have a mat yet, just tell your teacher and she/he will find a way 🙂 Bringing out thick towels and blankets is also a good idea, you can use them as replacements for straps and blocks, as a cushion for your knees, as a cover for your eyes for savasana, etc etc etc 🙂
4. Get warmed up. This applies more to fitness centers and gyms 🙂
- At the gym, fitness center: Possibly unlike other group classes, yoga is not a class that’s super open to latecomers. . 10-15 minutes late is still okay but halfway wouldn’t be ideal. The class progresses so the first 15-20 minutes are usually spent in warmup – if students miss it they won’t really be able to do the full expression of the continuing poses and they might even end up injuring themselves.
If you want to go all out, go ahead and get serious about creating the space by adding a few props like candles, plants, pillows, aromatherapy and whatever else floats your boat. But at the very least, take the three hacks above to heart 🙂
Need inspiration for your yoga space, check out this board I compiled on Pinterest. My space at home is nowhere near this yet but it’s nice to dream ♥
Hope this was helpful!