On Creating a Dedicated In-Home Yoga Space
Turns Out, It’s an Ancient Yogic Tradition!
I’ve been working hard to renovate a room upstairs, one my family has collectively referred to as “The Loft”, for a few weeks now.
Wifey, girly, not-inclined-toward-hard-labor me, with my “princess arms” (as my husband affectionately calls them for their long/ slender structure and lack of bulk… BTW, I am not proud of any of the above descriptors and I actively work to combat them, hence my preference for unisex clothing styles over lacy, frilly things and my regular engagement in Phalakasana-Chaturanga-Vinyasas with diligent precision) — pulling carpet tacks, sanding subfloor, packing away books and video games, dusting, scrubbing, vacuuming, Killz-ing over dog urine that had soaked through the now-absent carpet into the underlayment… name the unglamorous home reno activity, and it’s a good bet I’ve been doing it.
At least, the literally deadly southwest desert heat is finally starting to cool down. This means it is once again becoming feasible to open the windows at certain points: namely, early in the day and again, a couple of hours post-sundown. The fresh, outdoor air drifting into the loft is instantly refreshing.
Stumbling upon a mental block
It is strange, now, to ponder what caused me to balk, for so long, in converting this space.
For a long time, I chalked this up to my being unduly busy (what with my husband’s multi-year cancer spell and my three kids and my two dogs and my two-or-more jobs.) Although I certainly had been a frantically bizzy bee, it hit me one day: my inattention to The Loft had been about more than “just” an insanely long to-do list getting in the way.
The real, deep-down reason for my failure to renovate sooner? The Loft in question used to be our family’s game room. We’d had happy times in that space, during that era of our family’s evolution. My trouble wasn’t about laziness, but rather about difficulty in letting go its former function, which I hadn’t even consciously realized.
This deep resistance, rather shamefully, resulted in a couple of years of The Loft degenerating into a neglected, closed-off, dead zone.
For a long time, in the back of my mind, I suppose I’d hoped that The Loft would somehow magically revert back to its former state. I wanted to take the space back in time, which is impossible — but ah, our minds are not always rational. So, rather than acknowledge and work through the issue, I defaulted to suppression (which is sometimes easier than the former) and allowed The Loft to fall into dormancy.
At a surprising rate, the abandoned Loft succumbed to entropy. After a while, only the dogs ventured in there (hence the aforementioned pee stains.) It sagged into a sad, dusty gloom. It became an unappealing no-person’s-zone, a haphazard storage space filled with no-longer-played video game shells and ghosts of a familial phase gone by.
Once my husband stopped visiting the second story of our home altogether, The Loft began to feel all the more haunted.
I wistfully recalled the times not long ago, when our kids were a little smaller, when my husband and I, both tired after work, would flop gratefully on the worn-out, comfy couches whilst our youngsters and dogs bounced happily about on furniture and none-too-pristine carpeted floor.
The Loft, then, was an unfussy, informal space, where we were all free to just chill. If The Hubs and I were exhausted yet the kids were full of energy, that was OK. They could jump, play and make noise, while somehow we could simultaneously find repose.
Video games were played.
So was hide-and-seek.
Shoddy blanket-and-broomstick forts were built.
On occasion, the beat-up couches served as sleep spots when spontaneous slumber parties ensued.
Unstructured, innocent fun was had.
There were so many hours spent laughing together in that space, enjoying snacks without worry of spills or messes, playing Rock Band (I usually ‘played’ guitar, my older son drums, my daughter the bass, as youngest son took keyboards while my husband sang vocals, though we all switched instruments every so often.)
We honed our skills with the Force in Lego Star Wars and quested purposefully through mythical lands in Legend of Zelda. When we craved passive entertainment, we chuckled at the antics of Spongebob, Patrick, Squidward and Sandy. We cheered Aang, Katara, Sokka, Momo and Appa on as they “bent” their way through their troubles.
I’ve always been painfully sentimental.
I’ve been attached to spaces and wept like a mourner when we’ve moved in the past. Even when we were upgrading to a home I knew was better for us; even when I was thrilled to be moving.
Change has often been tough for me.
Even now, there is some static that comes up when I ponder the renovation in progress; but at least I have realized that.
How to kick some mental block ass
Awareness of a mental block is the first step toward getting past it.
Visualization helps, too.
I can see the revamped space in my mind’s eye. I try to experience the sensation in my body — the joy of having my own dedicated yoga loft! I try to key in on it feeling palpably real even though it hasn’t yet been manifest in physical reality.
Of course I’ve carved out humble spots for my home yoga practice before, but this will be different.
It will be a sanctum, my mini yogi-shangri-la in the midst of our McMansion in the midst of ticky-tacky suburban sprawl in the midst of an improbable city that sprung up in the midst of the vast Mojave desert.
What of the echoes of times-gone-by that I can still hear, the sweet toddler voices, the round, carefree laughter; the candy-colored impressions of texture and movement; the soft missing-toothed chubby-cheeked smiles of my dear kiddos; their glistening big eyes… all of which begins to autoplay like a film reel in my consciousness each time I step into The Loft?
I will simply have to allow those fond memories of the past to add richness to the overall energy of the space.
Out with the old, in with the cow dung (or maybe just a fresh coat of low VOC paint)
I will smudge with sage, when the time is right. This helps to set the intention of releasing stagnant, unserving energies and opening vibrationally to what is fresh, new, and relevant to one’s present state.
In spite of the home-improvement advice provided in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, I will probably not smear the walls with cow dung. (I mean, I do love earthlings of the bovine persuasion, but a yogini’s gotta draw the line somewhere.)
The need for a yoga-themed room of one’s own
This shiz goes waaaay back.
Yes! The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, that oldie-but-goodie bestseller on yogic principles… that hot, must-read tome the ancient yogis all picked up at Barnes and Noble, after trying on the new line of leggings at Lululemon, swigging Kombucha at Whole Foods and washing their Prii.
In his writing, Instagram-famous 15th-century social media influencer Svātmārāma encouraged the yogi to create a space, just for yoga, within the home.
*I wrote the paragraph above with intent of creating a bit of humor at the expense of our current consumerist, capitalist culture. The irony is that the ancient yogis were naturally minimilast… like eons before minimalism became trendy in wealthy, modern countries. These old-school yogis got by on very little, considered simple cloth swaddling to be perfectly suitable yoga attire, and didn’t have to buy fancy cars to minimize their carbon footprint, m’kay?
Hermitage? Or just your friendly neighborhood yoga loft?
Although I have a tendency toward introversion, I don’t think the space will become an “hermitage” (as the HYP describes such a space.)
What to call it?
“Loft” no longer seems to fit.
Yoga + Loft = Yoft?
My friends and family will still be invited in.
Although, in this incarnation of the space — this Yoft — perhaps only healthy, organic snacks will be permitted.
Lumina Loveday is a yoga teacher, wife, and mom to three humans and two rescue dogs. At the age of ten, Lumina was given her first typewriter as a gift from her grandparents. It was a big, clunky Underwood. To write her first “books”, she had to press the keys really hard, but she didn’t mind.
She can also be found over at her website, www.HeartSunYoga.com.