When I was brand new to yoga, I barely had a home practice. When I did practice at home, I practiced anywhere and everywhere I could squeeze in movement.
I like to tell the story about nearly setting myself on fire trying to do handstands in a small NYC apartment. It’s funny because it’s true.
Once I left NYC and I had a little more space, I created dedicated yoga spaces in my subsequent apartments and houses. I wanted specific and intentional space for yoga and movement. It felt important and necessary and the adult thing to do.
When I taught workshops on “how to create a home yoga practice” I included this idea of having a dedicated space for yoga. I felt that without it, people would be less inclined to actually DO a yoga practice. Setting aside a special space made it easier and more accessible.
Flash forward 15 years, 3 kids, several cross-country moves, and various living spaces and I can honestly say that where you practice is unimportant.
Yesterday I did a 6-minute yoga practice in the doorway to my kids bathroom and it didn’t suck.
Actually, it was really fun.
I moved through familiar poses in unfamiliar ways. The practice challenged my brain as much as my body. And it got me thinking about how many limitations we put on our movement practices.
It has to be 60 minutes long.
It has to have a perfectly crafted soundtrack timed with every pose.
It has to be super challenging.It also has to be relaxing.
You need to do meditation every time.
You have to have a plan.
You have to go with the flow and move from your heart.
You need to be on your yoga mat.
You need to practice on hardwood floors.
You need to use all of the props.
You shouldn’t have to use any props.
Your yoga practice should be enough.
You should be doing weight-training, too.
You need to do cardio, too.
You should do your practice free from distractions.
You should just have “you time” when you’re on your mat.
You should include your kids in your practice.
Yoga is a physical practice.
Yoga is a spiritual practice.
You need to follow certain alignment rules or you’ll get hurt.
You should ignore all of those silly alignment rules.
You should practice first thing in the morning.
You need to have fancy yoga pants.
I look at this list and I know it’s not complete.
There are so many restrictions that we place on yoga and movement.
Some of them are self-imposed. Some are ones we’ve picked up from teachers or friends or Yoga Journal.
The thing is, the more we restrict our movement practices, the less we’re actually moving.
Movement can be fun and playful and empowering and transformational. When I limit my options, it makes it hard for me to practice. And it makes my practice feel rigid and un-fun.
Where you practice is less important than actually moving your body.
Using a mat is optional. Having a sense of adventure is essential.
I am committed to staying adventurous with my yoga and movement practices. Exploring different styles of movement and different places to play.
I’m also committed to moving my body everyday, no matter what or where. This means that currently, I do my HIIT practices on the carpeted floor of my living room. Not ideal, but it keeps me closer to my baby so that if she wakes up, I can get to her more quickly.
And lately my yoga practice is in the kitchen because I don’t want my baby messing with the plants in my “yoga room.”
If i’ve learned anything about having a daily movement practice in the past 20 years, it’s this:
There is no perfect space to practice yoga.
There is no best place to meditate or dance or do squats or move your body.
Everywhere is the best place.
If you want to liberate your yoga and movement practices from your mat, join me for a fun 7-day challenge starting Sunday, October 11th. If you sign up and participate everyday, you’ll be entered to win 1 of 3 awesome prizes.