The atmosphere and setting for each yoga class varies greatly, as does the home practice environment for each student. Some classes are held in church basements, some in window-filled studios with hardwood floors. Yogis who have a home practice might workout in their living room, their kids’ playroom or in a yoga room.
It doesn’t really matter where you do yoga; it’s how you approach your practice that’s important. Creating the right mental environment sets the stage for the rest of your yoga practice. Here are a few key things you can do to prepare your mind for yoga.
When you step onto your yoga mat, leave behind all stresses or worries. Let go of any thoughts of your day, your week or your month. Take a deep breath and commit yourself to simply being in the moment for the duration of your practice.
Resist the urge to interact with others unnecessarily before your practice. Even if you came to class with your best friend or can hear your husband walking around your house, allow yourself to turn your focus inward. Take a few moments to close your eyes, feel the ground beneath you and become centered in your body.
Set an Intention
By establishing an intention for your practice you create an anchor for your thoughts. This keeps you grounded throughout your practice, keeps you rooted in the present moment and allows you to quiet the chatter that can fill the mind.
Meet Yourself on the Mat
Commit to experiencing your practice as the person you are today, not who you were yesterday or last month. Let go of any expectations of your body, of how your practice is going to feel or of the way the yoga instructor is going to teach it. Simply be open to and accept how the practice feels — mentally and physically — right now.
By following these tips and creating a mental space that is clear, present and focused, you can move deeply into your yoga practice regardless of your physical environment.
Annabel Fitzsimmons is a freelance writer, runner, yoga and Pilates teacher and a mother of two young children. Her online yoga, Pilates and meditation studio is at http://www.annabelfitzsimmons.ca/.
Here are some of the many ways putting your mind to yoga can benefit you.