The Best Places to Practice Yoga
Anyone can practice yoga! As long as you have breathe you can practice. There are so many different ways. Concentrating on the breathe, in a chair, on the mat, outside, on vacation, at work and the list goes on and on. I'm a yogini so this list incorporates where I enjoy teaching as well as where I enjoy practicing yoga. Each one on my list holds a special place in my heart. There are so many benefits. My flexibility has increased tremendously. I like to incorporate yoga every day in each moment. Whenever I'm in a stressful situation I try and remember going back to my breathe and slowing things down. Although I am in now way perfect at remembering this all the time, I'm starting to remember just a little sooner:) It has changed my life and I love sharing the experience with everyone!
Where you are!
No matter where you are right now you can practice yoga. Right now concentrate on the air coming in and out of your nose. Clear your mind. Get comfortable and bring your awareness to each and every part of your body. Start with the tips of your toes and linger for a while. Move up your body going with your breathe moving up on an inhale and then relaxing into that area with the exhale. Just witnessing your feelings and breathe. By doing this you are sending blood and oxygen to that area. Try imagining a ball of light expanding and contracting with your breathe. Still having difficulty, count from 27... 27 breathe in; 27 breathe out, 26 breathe in; 26 breathe out and if you loose your place start at 27 again. Don't worry if it's 15, 10, 5 or even a moment. Always time to breathe!
Living in the country I have the advantage of being surrounded by the most wonderous gifts nature has to offer. We even have bee hives. My friend gave me a book on bee keeping and meditation. Being a witness to nature and taking in all the beauty, sights and sounds is such a delightful experience. Try looking up at the sky and being a witness to all that surrounds you. I love to hear the birds and feel a cool breeze. Be playful. Let that ant crawl on your foot. If he's really driving you crazy, set him on his way and let him go. Maybe they have a yoga instruction at your local park or check Meetup.com for hikes with fellow yoga enthusiasts.
Go to an ashram!
Don't know where or what an ashram is? It is a spiritual retreat. There might be one closer than you think. They teach Iyengar yoga at an ashram 45 minutes from me. I love Iyengar yoga because the instructors teach to every level. I feel so comfortable there. There are many places of worship that are wonderful for meditation. I really enjoy visiting different places of worship and experiencing their ways of prayer and meditation. Every place that I have encountered has welcomed me and shared some wonderful teachings. Check online to see if they offer yoga classes.
Check out your community to see if anyone volunteers to give yoga classes. I teach a chair yoga class at an assisted living facility that they offer free to the community. It is the highlight of my week. It's part of my Seva. Seva is a sanskrit word for service.
Check out your local studio for a variety of classes. I just love the assists and personal touches. Sometimes studios will have classes that are based on donations to a local charity! I love my local studio! Taking a class there is like coming home. This is where I completed my yoga teacher training. There is a special place in my heart for the people there that were able to share this gift with me and my fellow students. Words cannot express the joy.
Not quite ready to take your practice public. Try some online classes on you-tube! There are lots of videos on yoga and meditation. Just remember to practice Ahimsa - do no harm. Do not forget it's not about doing the postures. It's about the mind, body and breathe connection. If it hurts take a step back. What's wonderful is that there are so many different levels and styles. If it's not right for you, find another.
See if your local yoga instructor is willing to do a small class in your home. Sometimes this can be pricey. The comfort of your home and friends lends a welcome environment. I love teaching yoga in my home. It is so personal, though sometimes my dogs can bring some unexpected surprises. This only fosters taking the practice with you where ever you go under any circumstance.
I love a yoga festival! There are festivals all over the world. I'm going to Wanderlust in Vermont this summer. It's great to try different styles of yoga. Learning from different yoginis and listening opens your world up to possibility. Last year I learned how to be in a drum circle. Fabulous food, new friends, and great music too. Festivals can offer a lot of variety and fun!
Take a vacation with your favorite yoga instructor or take a seminar at a retreat. Kripalu in Stockbrige, Massachusetts is a repurposed monestary that was an experience that always brings back wonderful memories. I hope to go again soon. I'm always seeing some great trips too. Sadie Nardinie (Yogini with a Rock and Roll Style) had a trip to Italy last year that sounded amazing. Look at your favorite yoga personality and see if they have any trips!
No time for yoga! Try clearing your mind in the shower. Feel the water on the back of your head. Concentrate on the shower. Smell the soap. Feel the lather on your skin. Enjoy the fregrance of the shampoo! Concentrate fully on each body part. Leave every thought and everybody outside :)
Where you are is the best place to do some yoga!