5 Ways to Create a Zen Space at Home

We all need a space in our homes to dedicate solely to mental and physical health. Why? Because whether you lead a busy and stressful life or a simple and relatively drama-free one, having a space where you can find Zen, meditate, breathe, stretch, and commit to your yoga practice if only for 5 minutes a day is important, and should be prioritized.

You don’t need a large space for this. If you’re thinking that we’re suggesting you dedicate an entire room to this concept (although that would be awesome), we’re not. But we all need a quiet corner to seek peace and tranquility on a daily basis.

Here are 5 ways to carve out a calm space in your home, so that you can get your Zen on as often as you’d like:

Carve out a Corner

Simple spaces

Find a space in your house where you can be by yourself. If you’re a parent, this usually means the bedroom or another room that your kids don’t frequent often. (Because let’s face it—we love them, but they are the opposite of Zen-promoting.)

The space you choose should be one you love, and one that makes you feel good. Once you nail down a space, make it your own. Here’s how:

Let in the Natural Light

Open those blinds, crack the windows, and let the fresh air and light shine in. Light is proven to immediately affect mood. Think about it: are you generally happier on a dark, blustery day, or a sunny, light one?

Natural light plays a major role in regulating mood and even our hormones. Without the benefit of consistent natural light, we can suffer health consequences, such as depression, insomnia, and weight gain.

Go Green

go green

Keeping some greenery thoughtfully placed around your space may help you feel more Zen. We are naturally connected to the earth, and her creations can help us feel calm and in sync with nature.

Countless studies have found that benefits to keeping plants in indoors spaces include lower blood pressure, increased attentiveness, lessened anxiety, and increased environmental mindfulness. If you think your space is too small, check THIS out and get creative.

Keep it Simple

This is imperative. Think of any yoga studio you’ve ever been in: a resounding theme is one of wide, open spaces, simplistic décor, and flat, clean walls. Even the colours are similar: generally, light colours and simple/no textures.

When you live in a simple space, it gives your brain less external stimuli to work through, and more time to process other things. (It’s like your digestive system: give it a ton to work with, and all your energy is diverted to processing food. If you eat simply with the idea that less is more, your energy can be reserved for other bodily processes, and not just focused on digesting that huge meal.)

Tailor your Tunes

Any yogi would agree that music plays a massive part in the Zen-making experience. So making sure your tunes are in line with your intentions—to be calm, focused, and introspective—is an important part of cultivating a space where you can collect yourself and increase the Zen.

Because we all need to feel Zen every day, for at least a few minutes. Right? If you’ve read through this blog post and are unsure of what exactly ‘Zen’ is, then click HERE.

Namaste.

Yoga Doesn’t Take Time; It Makes Time

We get it: between school drop-offs and pick-ups, plus trying to get homework done before earlier bedtimes, September can be a crazy busy month. But that doesn’t mean you should let your yoga practice fall by the wayside. Rather, embracing and sticking to your yoga practice can be helpful for keeping you calm and focused during the otherwise hectic time. Plus, yoga can help you to feel more energized throughout the day, whether it be a kundalini or power yoga class to invigorate you, or a yin or restorative flow class to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Practicing yoga is an excellent way to practice self-care and get a chance to make time for yourself, whether it be heading to a class at a local yoga studio, popping in a DVD, or simply exploring your own flow.

Benefits of Making Time for Yoga:

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Get a Boost

Yoga is great for so many things, and improved energy is one of them. Not only does an invigorating yoga practice help to naturally boost your energy, but yoga can also help improve sleep, leaving you feeling more rested overall. Plus, the energizing and calming breathing you learn in yoga class can translate to your everyday life, giving you something to rely on during your day-to-day.

Take Quiet Time

Chances are you’re constantly (or nearly constantly) tethered to your smartphone or laptop. Yoga gives you an opportunity to shut things down and disconnect, if even for 5 minutes. Yoga is an excellent, quick vacation from technology, and leaves you better equipped to deal with challenges when they arrive post-practice. Plus, if you’re a busy parent, your yoga practice can be your “me time.”

Prioritize

It can be so easy to try and please everyone and say yes to everything, but it isn’t always the healthiest. By making time in your day for exercise, whether it be walking, taking a yoga class, or heading to the gym, you’re putting yourself and your health first. From here, you can begin to prioritize about what’s really important to add to your calendar and what you may be better off without.

Tips on Making Time for Yoga:

Yoga In The Park

Start Your Day Off Right

Heading to bed a few minutes earlier and practicing yoga when you first wake up is a great habit to get into – you may even find it gives you a better boost than your morning coffee! Not only does it help you begin your day feeling more centered and help you fit in some exercise before your day gets started, but yoga has also been shown to make you a quicker, better thinker, which can help you be more efficient throughout the rest of your day.

Make Yourself Accountable

It’s easy to justify to yourself why you can skip out on that yoga session. But if you make a commitment to hold yourself accountable, you’re more likely to show up. Try registering for a class in advance and scheduling it in your calendar, or make a plan to head to a studio with a friend.

Be Flexible

Not that kind of flexible. Flexible with your time. It can be hard to commit to a full yoga class – especially when you’re not in the mood. However, something is better than nothing! Try to keep a mat in your office or bedroom, so you can roll it out and do a quick practice during the day. It’s also a good idea to try to do a shorter workout than skipping it altogether. Oftentimes, you’ll find you end up sticking it out through the whole thing.

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Bottom Line?

You don’t need to feel like taking time for your yoga class is taking away time from your responsibilities. Rather, making time in your day for yoga can have many benefits – especially when you’re crazy busy.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone & Get Comfortable with Yoga

We all know that stepping into your first yoga class can be overwhelming, especially if the other class members seem to be twisting themselves into a pretzel with no problem.

I mean a pretzel. Come on.

But it’s important to remember that yoga is called a practice for a reason: you’re not meant to be perfect with it.  Yoga is also by definition a really personal journey, and if you can begin to focus on yourself throughout the class, you’ll gain a lot. You can also learn about being more compassionate, both to yourself and to others, by facing your fears head-on. All of those hardcore yogis and instructors are also totally excited to have someone else come and join them in the practice they love so much. So we definitely think you should just get out of your comfort zone and give it a try.

Here are some ways to help you get over your feelings inadequacy in the flex department, and begin to allow yourself to honour your body, mind, and soul through yoga:

Focus On Yourself

One of the major themes of yoga is self-realization, or focusing on your own journey. Sure, you may not be able to get your heels on the mat in downward dog like your neighbour might, but if you begin to focus on your own progress, you’ll see that you’re making big strides. Remember that you are doing yoga for you, not for anyone else. You’ll also notice throughout class that modifications are encouraged, making it possible for any pose to work for you, no matter what your abilities might be.

Arrive Early

Arriving 15 minutes early gives you a chance to chat with your instructor and let them know you are new to yoga.  This will give them a chance to keep an eye on you during the class, and provide assistance by way of cues and help with body positioning. They might also be able to help you out before class with some terms that you may find helpful to know. Arriving early also gives you a chance to relax as you roll out your mat and get prepped before class begins.

Know Others Are Rooting For You

It’s easy to think that hardcore yogis might be judgmental when someone new to yoga steps into the class, but the reality is anything but. Your fellow students and the instructor are excited for you! They all remember what it was like to be the new kid in class, and are genuinely happy to share how much they love yoga with you. Open-mindedness is a big part of yoga, so this is a great first step.

Find a Class That’s Right For You

We all have different goals in mind when we decide to take up yoga. You may be looking for a more meditative type in order to relax and take some time for yourself. Or, you might be an athlete looking to cross-train with yoga in order to gain strength and flexibility. When you find the class that is right for you, and is the right combination of class type and instructor style, you’ll love it even more, which will help increase your comfort level.

Embrace the Nerves

In many ways, the time that you put in on the mat translates into everyday life. Chances are, you’ll encounter nerves and uncertainty again. But the time that you put in to overcome them by heading to a yoga class can help you gain confidence in your daily life and learn to work with the nerves, not against them.

So go on. Get out of your comfort zone and into Happy Baby. You know you want to, and at Parallel Yoga, we’re here to show you how.

Namaste.