You know that feeling you get when you first walk into your favorite yoga studio? Maybe it’s the warm lighting, the gentle music, or the smell of incense trickling through the room, but there’s just something about a yoga studio that creates an instant Zen feeling. Even before you step on your mat, the space itself encourages a sense of calm that overflows into your practice, allowing for a deeper, more mindful experience. Whether we recognize it or not, our environment can play a huge role in our focus, mood, and intention. However, not everyone can head to the yoga studio every day — sometimes the little corner of the living room will have to do. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still achieve that same yoga studio feeling in your own home. With a designated space and a few small adjustments, you’ll be able to find your Zen in no time. Keep scrolling for our top five tips on how to create your own at-home yoga studio.
1. Create an ambiance
First, you’ll want to set the mood. Wherever in your home you decide to practice, your yoga space should be your oasis — a place where you can retreat from the everyday busyness and focus solely on your flow. So, decorating and transforming the designated space is key to creating a calming, distraction-free sanctuary. One of the best ways you can instantly create an ambiance is through lighting. If you’re a fan of natural sunlight, roll out your mat by the window, or if the light is too harsh, try hanging some lightweight cotton drapes to create a softer effect. Or, if you’re looking for some serious mood lighting, try placing candles around the room or using a dimmable lamp. Another great way to enhance your space is by giving it that inviting yoga-studio scent. You can try lighting a candle, burning incense, or investing in an essential oil diffuser to instantly create a more relaxing atmosphere. And lastly, make sure your space is somewhere peaceful and quiet. Nothing is more distracting during a yoga class than the noise of traffic or your neighbor’s dog barking next door, so try to find a spot that’s away from distractions, or if that’s not possible, try playing ambient music or a sound machine to drown out the noise.
2. Find the right class
Practicing at home means you’ll need to find the right online yoga class. Luckily, there are a multitude of online resources available for beginners and experienced yogis alike — it’s only a matter of finding the one that works best for you (check out our online yoga guide for more helpful resources!). Hundreds of certified yoga instructors have their own YouTube channels, such as Yoga with Adriene or Yogi Approved, where they post weekly or even daily videos, ranging in length, intensity, and style (and it’s free). Another option is to find an online yoga studio. Especially amid the pandemic, many studios have gone digital, allowing yogis to access unlimited, on-demand classes for a monthly subscription. Many of these online studios provide a digital library where you can filter by duration, style, and instructor, making it easy to navigate your ideal class.
3. Have the right equipment
Of course, you can’t have an at-home yoga studio without the essentials — first and foremost, a yoga mat. Just as gyms and yoga studios often provide yoga mats, having a good quality mat at home can help transform your practice completely. If you’re practicing on carpet, the cold kitchen tile, or even on the grass in the backyard, having a yoga mat can provide a bit of cushion on hard surfaces and create traction so you don’t slip and slide in the middle of your flow. But more than that, a yoga mat can help define your personal space and get you in the Zen mindset even before you begin your practice. While it’s perfectly okay to practice with only a yoga mat, there are some optional props that may come in handy. Many studios offer blocks, straps, a blanket, or a bolster, which can make great additions to your at-home studio and help enhance your practice. However, if you don’t have some of these props already, feel free to use household items as substitutes, such as a belt or scarf instead of a strap or a stack of pillows as a bolster.
4. Get rid of distractions
Your at-home yoga studio should be a sanctuary — and that means keeping it free of distractions. When you step on the mat, though it may not be easy, it’s time to ditch the iPhone, the laptop, and any other gadgets that may go off in the middle of your flow. This will not only allow for a more focused practice, but it will also help keep your yoga space separate from your work, school, or any other responsibilities that may be weighing down on you. But technology isn’t the only potential distraction. Keeping your studio clean and organized is also a major way to maintain the calm feeling of your space. Remove any clutter that’s in the way or doesn’t aid you in your practice, and keep your surroundings minimal and purposeful. Maybe try storing away your props after each use or cleaning your equipment after sweaty sessions to leave your space feeling fresh and organized. That way, instead of having to clean up your space right before your next session, you’ll be able to immediately roll out your mat and jump into it.
5. Set an intention
All else aside, creating an at-home yoga studio is about the intention behind it. Whether you’re out on your back porch or in front of the TV in your living room, you can still set an intention just as you would in a traditional yoga studio. As you step on your mat, try focusing your attention on a quality or virtue you’d like to cultivate for yourself. It can be strength, confidence, joy, or awareness — anything that allows you to go beyond the physical practice and into the significance behind it. By letting go of your surroundings and focusing on your intention, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of your yoga practice both on and off the mat. You can find inspiration and intentions on our Instagram or by signing up to receive our Sunday Intention emails every week.