OM Sweet OM

         

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Looking for ways to prolong your post-Savasana bliss? Wonder why you can’t walk around with your yoga glow all the time? Well, you can. With a few simple considerations you can bring your yoga home in thought and deed.

Some of your yoga buzz is created by the postures and the amazing combination of wringing out, inverting and breathing that you do in yoga class, and some of it grows from the core teachings. We’re not talking here about complicated Sanskrit words or deep philosophical conundrums, just a few simple ideas that when applied to the place you call home will extend your circle of peace and vibrance from the gym or studio all the way home.

Yoga philosophy begins with the Yamas and Niyamas, as enumerated in the Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali.1  These are simply “Things to be controlled” and “Things to be cultivated” respectively and, like the 10 Commandments, are fairly uncontroversial guidelines. Take the first of the Yamas, ahimsa, or non-violence. Your yoga teacher helps you find this in practice when she tells you to honor your limits and not to push, but to allow poses to unfold naturally. You can begin a similar conversation at home when you notice children getting antsy and poking one another, or becoming frustrated with themselves.

The Yamas and Niyamas are listed here:

  • Nonviolence
  • Truth-telling
  • Non-grasping
  • Non-stealing
  • Preservation of Life Energy
  • Cleanliness
  • Discipline
  • Contentment
  • Study
  • Surrender

 

You can use this list as a basis for discussion with the family during dinner, thinking up as many applications or places you wish you’d applied the day’s chosen theme in your actions. Put a list on the fridge so that when you refer to them they aren’t completely unfamiliar.

Consider when you are decorating or replacing household items how you can honor themes such as nonviolence or preservation of life energy. Would you rather replace worn furniture with brand new, resource rich and glued together pieces from a chain store, or look for the perfectly idiosyncratic compliment to your suite in consignment and resale stores? To honor Brahmacharya, or preservation of life energy, consider energy ratings when replacing electronics and appliances and encourage one another to turn off and unplug unused electronic devices. Make it a family project to look up the energy usage of several of your most used devices and figure out how to save the most energy. For a treat, you might consider spending the amount you save on an outdoor excursion, or to provide more organic produce for the dinner table.

Have “Saucha time,” or cleaning time (but it sounds more fun when you say it in Sanskrit!) Notice the effect on your emotions and energy before and after tidying a space or getting clean at the end of the day.

Incorporating space for your personal or family yoga practice can be a fun, cheap and funky redecorating project. For yoga space, clear out floor space about 10 feet by 10 feet. Clear a wall as far up as the tallest person in your house, and at least three to five feet wide, for putting your legs up the wall or even head and handstand practice when you’re ready. Paint the room a calm, peaceful color and  put whatever yoga supplies you have in the corner. Maybe you each have a special towel you use for practice, or maybe you have mats. Put blankets, pillows and washcloths for covering eyes during relaxation. If you have meaningful or inspirational pictures and hangings, place them mindfully. Sit together and set an intention for this to be quiet space for yoga, movement and reflection. Move electronics either to the other end of the room or to another room altogether if you have the space. Practice a few yoga poses and a Savasasna, or Final Relaxation Pose, together to make the feeling real.

You can bring your yoga home in so many ways. Your family sees the glowing effect your yoga class and practice has on you. By reflecting on how to share breath and postures as well as a few core values with them you can spread the invigoration and relaxation between classes, and among your loved ones.

 

1 Satchidananda, S. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Commentary on the Raja Yoga Sutras by Sri Swami Satchidananda. Buckingham, Virginia, USA: Integral Yoga Publications. 1990. II.29.


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