Creating a yoga space can be a lovely thing to do to keep you connected with yoga in your daily life. A yoga space can contain anything that reminds you of yoga. A yoga space can be a shrine, or a corner of a room, or an item on a bookshelf – anything that draws your consciousess to a state of calm and well-being; anything that fosters a sense of gratitude or love or joy within you. For some, it might even be an empty space! There are no rules around it. Like yoga, it is a personal experience.
The yoga spaces in my home seem to have evolved quite unconsciously. I have a habit of collecting objects at church fetes and op shops. Many of my spaces contain items I have created myself, indulging my love of crafts. I love colour. Colour warms me inside and out.
I’ve become quite a collector of cushions. When I ran out of lounge space, I started making cushion piles on the floor around the skirting boards. Cushion stacks remind me of the ashram where I studied yoga. They have a practical purpose (great for propping under the tailbone to align the spine for meditation!) but I like the aesthetics, especially of the lovely warm colours and different patterns. I got 3 of these cushions at my local St Vincent de Paul op-shop. They cost around $2-$3 each. The covers got a good wash and away we went.
Candles… yum! I am a sucker for candles and candle holders. There is something lovely about the ritual of lighting a candle. I don’t know what it is but I don’t need to. I light a candle in my room every day. I light a bunch when I have friends over. They seem to create a beautiful and calm atmosphere. In the background here is my tibetan singing bowl – a magnificent gift from my parents for my 40th birthday last year. I still can’t play it. But I’ve added it to my list of things to do. I’d love to play it for my students during meditations. It makes a sound that seems to resonate with some deep part of the human consciousness. It’s a profoundly comforting sound.
I have a thing for Ganesha. I’m probably the least ‘spiritual’ person you’ll ever come across but for some reason, I am so attracted to Hindu art, I keep collecting bits and pieces. Again, I love the colours and the whimsical nature of the paintings and illustrations. Ganesha is known as the ‘remover of obstacles’, as patron of the arts and sciences, and the God of intellect and wisdom (golly-gee… no wonder I can’t get enough of him!). This postcard was given to me by my lovely friend Katie (aka Yogachakra) who inspired me to train to be a yoga teacher. I bought the frame for a dollar from my beloved St Vincent’s. The candle was a valentine’s day gift from my precious boyfriend who is a total non-yogi bloke’s bloke but who seems to, against all odds, know just what speaks to me (it is berry scented – yum!!).
Another precious cargo – my yoga texts. These are a source of unending inspiration for me. I dip into them daily, both to help me with my teaching, and to inspire my own personal practice. These fabulous retro bambi bookends I found at a car boot sale at $15 for the set (bargain!!). Yoga texts and bambi are an unlikely coupling. But then again, maybe not. They speak to the child in me. Maslow (the great social psychologist) declared that having a healthy relationship with the childish/playful part of the self is an important factor in self-actualisation. Yoga tradition also directs us to take ourselves lightly. (It also guides us not to attach to material things… I’m still working on that one… hehe).
Yoga in the garden. I can’t recall where I picked up this little fella but he is sitting amongst by beloved succulents in my balcony garden (along with many other little buddhas hiding among my pot plants). When I look at him, I am reminded of where I want to go; of what I hope to attain for myself. He has a book in his hand – a representation of knowledge. He is my little jnana yogi – seeking answers through his own experiences; looking inward to try to know himself better; seeking meaning in life.
I have more yoga spaces to share. I will do so along the way. I hope you have enjoyed this taste of my yoga spaces. I hope it inspires you to create spaces of your own.
(c) The Yoga Experiment, 2012