general blather, nuts and bolts

Where I practice at home

I use the basement family room. The dog is afraid to come down here, because an aluminum softball bat was leaning against the wall and happened to fall on the cement floor just as he was passing by. I’m sorry he’s such a chicken, but I’m glad he doesn’t come down and get on the mat and lick my face while I’m practicing. The floor is polished stained cement, very smooth. I don’t need a mat for standing poses. Actually, I don’t need one upstairs either, because the floor is bamboo. For some reason my feet slip on tile but not on wood or concrete. The whole room is very bright and sunny, and because it’s at ground level looking out onto a field and woods I get to see a certain amount of wildlife in the early mornings (coyotes, skunks, deer, turkeys, marmots, owls, harriers so far).

We built this house three years ago, and so I was able to make a little yoga wall for myself. I got the idea from the one at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Center of Lawrence, which came from plans done by the BKS Iyengar Yoga Centers of San Diego. Mine is made for only one person, but I kinda wish I’d made it bigger. We used birch plywood and it’s a smooth clean surface, great for various ways of sliding around on it.

I had originally planned more space than I actually have, but somehow our treadmill and ancient giant weight machine wound up in my area. I have enough floor room, but not enough open wall space except in the hallway, where it’s dark and I often seem to end up with my head in the bathroom.

I can’t kick up into handstand (yet), but I can climb up into it. Under the stairs in the family room there’s a big empty space just the right width.

I have places to store my props so that they’re easy to get out and put away. I used to be lazy about using them – too much trouble – but at the YCL classes we do it so often that I changed my habits.

I love this spot. In our old house, I had a space that was OK, but it was in the pathway to my husband’s office. It’s distracting to have someone step over you when you’re in Savasana.

nuts and bolts

Home props

With a little imagination, you can find props all over your house. The obvious ones are blankets, pillows, and towels. I have several Tae Kwon Do belts inherited from my son that make excellent straps. But it’s also good to look at the architectural details of your house and at your furniture to see what you can use.

Here’s a setup for supported Ustrasana, made out of yoga blankets and bolster on two round stacking stools.

Setup for supported Ustrasana (camel pose)

Our coffee table works well for supported Chatush Padasana. Mary Obendorfer taught me this setup for my disk-degenerated neck, and I believe it is also in Iyengar Yoga Asana Alternatives: Neck and Shoulders, by Lois Steinberg.

Chatush Padasana on the coffee table

Here I’m using the wall between our family room and the hallway to do supported Supta Padangusthasana. (Note the yoga ropes – I did have to buy those and pay some guys to make that bit of wall.)

Supported Supta Padangusthasana on the wall

I’d be interested to know what anyone else has found to use around the house.

nuts and bolts

Why people quit doing yoga

  1. They get hurt.
  2. They get bored.
  3. They get busy.
  4. They forget that they’re not going to get any more flexible, mentally or physically, just sitting around.
  5. They think they’ll do it on their own, without classes, but they don’t.

1. I’m finding that if I get hurt doing yoga, it’s because I am not listening to my body saying “Whoa, whoa, whoa! That arm doesn’t go that way!” But the fix for that is NOT to quit doing yoga but to find ways to practice that work better for your own body. It’s weird – there is no reason I should try to keep up with anyone else, because with my level of stiffness I’ll never be competitive. So I should be listening to my body.

2. I don’t get bored. I know a couple of people who do. My own personal husband finds yoga too slow and insufficiently competitive. Now, hmm, he’s got some back trouble, and if he doesn’t do something about it he’s going to be exceptionally bored by immobility.

3. I definitely get too busy. I’m going to post separately about an interesting fix for this. I wonder why I get too busy to do yoga, but not too busy to play a computer game or watch some junk on TV.

4. The analogy for this one is people who want to be writers but are afraid they’re too old. Those years are going to go by anyway, so you might as well do something good with them now.

5. It’s awfully hard to maintain a solitary practice. I suppose some people can do it, but I’ve never met one. Going to class is a big motivator for my home practice.

nuts and bolts

Using a timer

I got a timer on my Palm recently that is just terrific for yoga practice.  It’s called PocketDoan, and it’s a free download.  It’s designed for meditation, so you can set it to loop in various increments.  The sounds are soft (unless you want them not to be), and there’s a good variety of them.  I have been setting the timer for a couple of long poses (legs up the wall and Savasana), and using the Tingsha, which I think is the little bell that Holly uses at the end of class, and the cricket chirp.  It beats the heck out of some electronic beep or buzz.

nuts and bolts

Getting started

I’ve been posting intermittent yoga posts at my other blog, Wonky Wheel, but I’m pretty sure most of the 11 or 14 people reading it don’t really care. I want to be able to get nitpicky about yoga without boring anyone.

Also, I’m hoping that some of my yoga friends will

  • read this
  • be inspired to practice at home
  • keep me on track with my home practice
  • comment often
  • occasionally write a guest post