Staying indoors presents us with the opportunity to spend a little less time rushing around and little more time on ourselves. It might not be possible to get to the gym or to our favourite yoga class at the moment, but we do need to find ways to maintain our mental and physical health at home. By considering all of our senses, we can create a home yoga experience that allows us to escape the outside world, take our attention inwards and check-in with ourselves.
When we experience the world, each of our senses is switched on, ready to interpret any external stimulus it can identify, for example: our eyes look for visual clues, our skin recognises whether we are warm or cold and our ears listen for sounds. All of the information gathered by our senses has an impact on our mood and our experience of the space that we are in. This means that we have the power to choose how we experience our homes and spaces around us. By designing our environment, we can design how we feel about a place, and design our experience of the world.
Below we share a few ways you can transform your space to give you a unique experience that will truly have a positive impact on your health and happiness, giving you the space you need to escape the outside world, if only for a little while...
Sounds can transform our thoughts and emotion almost instantly. It has the power to engage our imagination and as a result have a deep impact on our emotional state. Sounds of waves crashing and rain pouring can help reduce our stress levels by making us feel closer to nature. Choosing a song or natural sound like waves or wind, is the first step in creating a new sensory experience. Why not try a Form Playlist to get you started?
Our sense of smell is often overlooked in our home environment. We may spray perfume before heading outside, to work or to meet friends, but why not harness your sense of smell at home and allow it to transform your experience? A diffuser is a great way to fill your home with smells that can stimulate your brain. For example, lavender can make us feel calm, whilst Eucalyptus oil stimulates the brain and improves your energy levels.
Our sense of touch can help us feel more calm and comfortable and is the reason why many of us fill our homes with cushions and rugs and soft bedsheets. Touching soft surfaces like the luxurioius top layer of one of our Pro or Travel mats, can activate particular areas of our brain, influencing our thought processes and reactions. Covering yourself in a soft blanket or a silk eye cover with a few drops of lavender oil on at the beginning and the end of your practice can make you feel instantly relaxed and calm.
Research in spatial syntax has shown that our environment and surroundings have a fundamental impact on our behaviour, so it's important to consider how you react physically and emotionally to the layout of the space around you. Think about a time when you've felt trapped, or boxed in by the space around you. Did you feel claustrophobic? Did you have an emotional reaction?
Make sure you have room to breathe at home by positioning your mat in an open space, if possible, facing a window where you can see far into the distance. Give yourself plenty of room to move around so that you don’t get distracted from your practice by knocking over a potted plant! Close the door if you think you may be distracted by others in the house. If you are practicing on a rectangular mat, make sure there is plenty of space either side of your mat if you need to step off at any point during your practice.
Give yourself the gift of mental clarity by creating a clear space, free of clutter. This can help you to clear your mind and stop you from being distracted by chores that need doing around the home. Allow yourself some time out from the fast-paced world we live in.
Placing plants and natural objects like shells or a beautiful wooden table for example, can help us feel instantly connected to nature, grounding us. Connecting to nature has been proven to reduce anger, fear and stress and boost pleasant feelings. Surrounding ourselves with beautiful things also has a proven impact on our well-being, reducing feelings of anxiety and depression.
Objects that stimulate our imagination can also increase our feelings of curiosity, happiness and interest in the world around us and research has suggested a strong link between imagination, art and delaying the onset of Dementia.
The right lighting can make us feel cosy, relaxed and warm. If you’re practising during the day, then bright natural daylight can boost your mood and reduce the production of melatonin which boosts your energy levels and can help you sleep better at night. If you are practising during the evening, then why not try burning a small candle to create low-lighting, signalling to your body that it’s time to rest and leading to an increase in the production of melatoinin. A small candle can also provide a great focus for meditation. For more ideas and information on how to meditate, read this.
Movement can increase our feelings of connectedness, an important feeling to boost during these times of social separation. Increasing blood flow through movement can heighten our senses, allowing us to fully absorb the beautiful multi-sensory experience we have created!
Interested in finding out more about how you can boost your Home Yoga practice? Check out these blogs