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Yoga Practice

4 Ways Plants Enhance Your Yoga Practice

Why filling your space with everyday greenery can take your poses and meditation to another level.

What do yoga and house plants have in common? They’re both good for your health—and not just for their visual beauty. Yoga is a way for humans to connect with nature, and plants can play a pivotal role in that. Having a green, foliage-filled space adds multiple benefits to your yoga practice. These include: 

1. Air Purification

Plants essentially do the opposite of what we do when we breathe: they release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. This freshens up the air and helps eliminate harmful toxins. Extensive research by NASA has revealed that houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of air toxin in 24 hours. Studies have also shown that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity (by up to 15 percent), reduce stress levels and boost your mood—making them perfect for not just your home but your yoga space, too. 

2. Visual Appeal

Yoga is about form, self-inquiry and exploring various shapes and poses. For the ultimate balance, you can curate your space with plants through combining yin and yang, masculine and feminine colors and shapes. For example, placing plants with an interesting linear structure amongst robust leafy plants can help balance the look and feel of your space. Curating your personal plant-rich yoga space will give you a whole new appreciation for yoga classes held in greenhouses when they return post-pandemic. 

3. Mood Enhancement

Did you know that different plants have an almost instantaneous positive effect on your mood? According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, people reported higher levels of mood and perceived comfort when plants were present than when they were not. Creating a green space sanctuary can really lift your spirits. 

Pro tip: Mixing different types of plants and positioning your leafy friends in various locations instantly creates an urban-jungle vibe, which encourages a sense of calm and happiness. Consider starting with Aloe vera, ferns, and lavender (for direct light areas inside).

4. Meditation Anchors

Plants are so soothing and calming that they have been shown to help patients in hospitals heal from surgery more quickly. The foliage from plants make for great meditation anchors. Their leaves are intricate and hypnotic to look at, you can easily get lost in them. 

And certain plants, such as roses or lavender bushes, offer a little aromatherapy boost for your practice. Adding a little fragrance to meditation has a very powerful, positive and supportive effect on any type of meditation and can offer a way of helping your mind to become focused, clear, balanced, and peaceful.

The folks at Lively Root recommend the following plants for your yoga space:

  • White Bird Dragon Tree (Dracaena warneckii ‘White Stripe’)
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum Wallisii)
  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
  • Variegated Snake Plants (Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
  • ZZ Plant/Eternity Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)
  • Croton (Codiaeum variegatum ‘Petra’)
  • Peacock Plant (Calathea roseopicta ‘Medallion’)
  • Bromeliad

Looking to go low maintenance? The ZZ plant and the snake plant can grow in almost any location, regardless of the lighting conditions. These plants, like the peace lily, have been shown to filter harsh toxins from the air including formaldehyde, toluene, and benzene.