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Ah, the bliss of a large, spacious yoga studio. Or an empty grassy park. Although it’s likely that you instead find yourself regularly rolling out your mat in a small apartment, in the middle of your crammed kitchen, or otherwise confined space.
Even though you may be working with (a lot) less space than a traditional studio, it doesn’t mean your practice needs to suffer or become nonexistent. Keep the following tips and tricks in mind to protect your practice (and your sanity), regardless of the size of your space.
6 tips for practicing yoga in a small space
1. Rework your space
Regardless of whether you have furniture that’s designed to be moveable or collapsible, see if you can shift some items to make space for your mat and props. If you don’t have room for a rolled-out mat, consider a hallway as a potential area for your flow. Tables, countertops, and even your bed can also become part of your practice as makeshift cushions and blocks. You can also try yoga in bed, making your physical practice (and your ability to drift off) a little easier.
2. Keep it clean
The yogic practice of sauca, or cleanliness, is especially pertinent when it comes to those tight and tiny rooms. A cluttered space (just like a busy mind!) can detract from the power of your practice and make it difficult to focus. Treat your designated yoga area like you would a studio, Jenny Clise, a yoga teacher and YJ contributor, says. This may mean adding an extra few minutes of tidying and sweeping before beginning class.
3. Notify others
When you’re practicing in a tight space, you may be more susceptible to the distraction of sounds or others moving around, especially if there’s no door to close. “If the space is crowded, the last thing you need is other people or pets taking up that space with you,” Clise says. Try to create some kind of separation, whether that’s creating a physical barrier or wearing headphones.
However, you may have to embrace (some) distraction—and that’s okay. It’s part of your practice. (But please, teachers, don’t host a yoga class in your one-bedroom apartment.)
4. Incorporate some meditation
Sure, you might need your asana practice. However, if you’re feeling particularly stuck in a small space, you may want to prioritize your meditation practice. “To clear your space, you need to clear your mind and practice acceptance and contentment with what you’re working with,” Clise says. “Once you get to that place, you might be able to have more of an open mind about how you start to use the space and discover new ways of utilizing it that can be pretty cool or beneficial.” Plus, a seated meditation doesn’t take up a lot of space.
5. Try chair yoga
We love chair yoga, which offers an accessible way to practice. Even if you don’t have enough room to move into the full expression of a pose (we’re looking at you, Half Moon Pose), you can opt to practice it in a chair. You can also use a stool or the edge of a couch if a chair isn’t available to you or if moving furniture around isn’t feasible.
6. Embrace the adjustments
You may have to shift your position throughout class more than if you were practicing in a studio. That’s okay. What matters most is making time for yourself—and your yoga practice. You may be pleasantly surprised by your modified practice, discovering a new variation that you prefer more than the full expression of the posture. Even in a small space, you can always gain a new perspective.