Photo: James Bombales

Does trekking to your local yoga studio in the dead of winter have you thinking namaste at home instead? Thanks to mobile apps and online platforms, it’s never been easier to perfect your bound side crow from the comfort of your living room. To get the most out of your yoga practice, however, it’s important to create an environment where you can not only spread out, but chill out.

For tips on designing a zen-like yoga and meditation space in your home, we turned to Sadie Nardini, an Anatomy of Yoga-certified instructor and the founder of The Yoga Shred®️, a new HIIT and Yoga Fusion style. Here the Santa Barbara, California-based yogi and Instagram superstar shows us how it’s done.

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1. Carve out a dedicated space

Photo: James Bombales

“You’ve got to be able to stand tall with hands up, and then if you’re into a more aerobic style — to jump up — and not touch the ceiling,” explains Nardini. “Technically, you only need about three feet all around a yoga mat to do a full yoga routine, and I have clients who have to practice in their bathroom to get away from the kids, but doing Sun Salutations in a closet-sized space isn’t the most Zen, so as large a room as you’ve got available where you won’t be disturbed for your practice.”

While the living room may offer the most space, if your roommate is in there watching The Bachelor you’re likely to get distracted (“Demi did what??”). “Take it out of a highly trafficked area and into a spot where you can close the door and enter a solo oasis,” says Nardini.

2. Clear out the clutter

Photo: James St. Vincent

“You want your space to radiate good vibes, and the thing that ruins great energy the fastest is clutter,” insists Nardini. “Make sure your spot is clean and organized, with your mat laid out, any props arranged artfully — inviting you to step onto the mat and begin.”

Do a five-minute sweep of the space before you begin, putting items back where they belong and clearing nearby surfaces. “Make it easy for your mind to get your body into that first pose — not easier to think about all the dusting you have to do or bills left to pay.”

3. Decorate with colors that motivate you

Photo: Robert Bejil/Flickr

“Color is so personal,” says Nardini. “I know a witchy yogi who painted her practice room all black. If you can, change the color of your space to something that uplifts, inspires or soothes you.” If you’re renting and painting the walls is out of the question, bring in color through curtains, scarves, rugs, throw pillows and posters, suggests Nardini. Not sure which color will help you reach higher consciousness? Nardini breaks it down for us below:

Red: grounding, fame, sensuality and empowerment

Yellow and orange: core strength, self-centering, willpower and courage

Green: compassion and healthy relationships

Blue and violet: speaking your truth, focusing, finding a broader perspective

White, cream: higher energy, healing, connection to all things.

Black: negativity busting, rooting, presence, introspection, self-nurturing

4. Perfect your puja

Photo: Taylor Stoffers

“Placing ‘spiritual’ power items around the room are big in the yoga and mindfulness worlds — with a main collection somewhere you can see it while practicing,” explains Nardini. “We call this a puja, or intentional collection of things and images that bring in the good mojo.”

Bring in a footstool or side table, or dedicate a low shelf to displaying your prized possessions. “This can be an area dedicated to anything that inspires, focuses and heals you. In mine, you’ll find a John Lennon candle that says ‘rock who you are,’ a smoky quartz crystal to trap negativity, a spiky cactus which represents success, a bowl of coins for financial abundance, and a photo my husband took on a road trip to remind me to adventure daily.”

5. Set the mood with scents and sounds

Photo: craftivist collective/Flickr

“Music and scents are as personal as color and style,” notes Nardini. “I’m not a big incense girl, but I love the smell of organic vanilla or coconut candles, so I light those during my yoga time.” Another benefit of lighting a few candles? Your tree pose won’t be so wobbly. “I always place one out in front of me so I can focus my gaze (and mind) better during the class,” says Nardini.

Search for a playlist that energizes, and then relaxes you. “Sitar and chanting isn’t usually my thing, but I really enjoy classic rock, so I made a few fun playlists including KISS, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin and The Pretenders that gets me amped for my stronger Yoga Shred® workout, then I put on something like lighter Fleetwood Mac or early Heart for my cool down,” says Nardini. Cranking your tunes through a voice-controlled device also allows you to change the song without getting out of pigeon pose, which frankly, we could rest in for hours.

6. Keep props and tools close at hand

Photo: bradleypjohnson/Flickr

If you’re new to yoga and meditation or accustomed to using props supplied by your studio, Nardini suggests investing in the following items for your home: “Two non-slip yoga mats — place them on top of one another while you practice, and you’ll avoid sore sitting bones and knees from using only one thin mat!” She also recommends purchasing two to three foam yoga blocks. “I find the cork ones are too hard. You’ll need these to bring the floor to you in certain stretches, and also for some delicious restorative poses.” A yoga bolster (a firm, supportive pillow) can “double as a meditation cushion,” while a yoga strap will assist you with stretching or alignment. “Pro tip: got a bathrobe tie or necktie? You have a yoga strap,” advises Nardini.  A meditation blanket or shawl is also essential, allowing you to stay cozy during savasana.

“Make sure to perform what I call “prop-asana” (put away your props pose) afterward — stack them neatly somewhere as part of your closing ritual. Leave your space with as much intention as you enter — and practice in it,” says Nardini.

Want to power up your yoga practice at home? You can try the following Sadie Nardini Yoga Shred® and Yoga Flow classes online for free: 25 Minute Core Transformer + Cardio HIIT + Yoga Flow, 25 Minute Core Strength + Whole Body Tone Yoga Flow, Quick Core Strength Amplifying Meditation.

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