Creating a Yoga Space at Home

Yoga BagI always dreamed of having my own yoga space at home. When I was training to be a Yoga teacher, I would go to a class at least 4 times a week, where the structured environment allowed me to focus. The problem of course was that it felt like I was going to class because I had to, not because I wanted to. One thing I  never fully mastered, was simply being able to practise yoga on my own at home.

Yoga SpaceFinding my own Yoga self practise has taken a long time. For about a year it was only about meditating. I tentatively made my way through the Headspace packages, created a small tiny space in my walk in wardrobe and began to simply connect with my breath. For about 20 minutes every morning I would sit  and let the calm sounds guide me through a gentle meditation, with the sweet smell of a scented candle for company. At time went on, I began to envisage creating my own yoga space at home. I needed a private spot, with room to stretch and a solid floor to roll out my mat. I pondered on where and how I could make this happen in my house, the living room was too public, the bedroom too tight and the guestroom carpeted.

Yoga SpaceAround about this time, I started the decluttering course. My most major excavation was in fact my walk in wardrobe. I narrowed the whole wardrobe down to 2 rails of clothes, along with shoes and bags and by doing so I created a lot of space. I ripped up the carpet and put down wooden floors. I also had the walls painted a clean pure white. In the corner of the room, I placed a small table and with precious bits and pieces creating a yoga alter, complete with incense sticks, precious stones and calming statues.

Yoga SpaceIt seems like such an indulgence to dedicate space in the house to a pastime I only get to do every other day, if I’m lucky. But in reality I feel so blessed to be able to have this space. I like to think that it represents the space that I so badly need in my brain and in a crazy frantic world it is my own personal oasis of calm. My mat is permanently rolled out and the convenience of this means that I can fall out of bed in the morning and plant my feet on its familiar surface without even thinking. Some evenings I wander upstairs and simply sit in its calmness and appreciate its stillness. My yoga practise is still evolving. Ashtanga provides a natural flow and depending on how much time I have in the mornings, I always start with a series of sun salutations. In fact its really quite easy to work my way through the standing sequence without stopping and starting or giving up.  Sometimes I play some soft gentle background music or sometimes I count the sanskrit movements that I learnt (by heart it seems) when I was training to be a teacher.

Yoga is of course a journey – a life time journey and right now creating a Yoga Space at home is where my journey is at.

 

 

Seven day yoga retreat in Montefiore

Montefiore

As if by chance or maybe destiny, I find myself in the lucky position to be able to attend a week long yoga retreat taught by Paula and David from ashtanga.ie in the small hilltop town of Montefiore, on the east coast of Italy. The road to Angeli di Montefiore where the the yoga centre is located is steep, winding and narrow but offers the most beautiful panoramic views overlooking sloping valleys down to the sparkling blue Adriatic Ocean. The owner Heike, who picks me up from the nearest bus stop, tells me that angels brought her to Montefiore and indeed the old stone farmhouse and courtyard alongside the purpose built yoga shala do seem to have a celestial mystique about them.

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A morning with Manju Pattabi Jois

Manju Pattabhi Jois

Manju Pattabi Jois is one of the most experienced teachers of Ashtanga yoga in the world and as the son of the Sri K. Pattabi Jois the renowned guru of Ashtanga Yoga Tradition, he has been practicing yoga since the age of seven. Manju has been coming to Dublin annually for many years and his workshops are typically full, drawing a large crowd of yoga practitioners. When I was just starting out in yoga as a beginner, I attended one such workshop and remember being genuinely inspired by his wise and learned approach. Last week, he held a 5 day workshop in ashtanga.ie and though my schedule was tight, I managed to sign up for one morning of mysore practice, pranayama (breath) and chanting. Continue reading “A morning with Manju Pattabi Jois”

Returning to Yoga class

Returning to Yoga Class

It gets to the point sometimes where my yoga mat literally calls to me to return to yoga class – usually when I haven’t been very disciplined or at practise in a while.  This morning I finally got back on my mat and went to a Mysore Class at ashtanga.ie, where I have been a student for a number of years. Continue reading “Returning to Yoga class”