While it is true that the original yogis did not practice with such things as yoga mats or yoga blocks, we modern yogis love to buy yoga gear and we’ll take all the help we can get. Why struggle when you can be supported. Am I right? Personally, I keep a couple of yoga blocks under my desk to place my feet on and help bring my knees into alignment with my hips. I have found over the years that using a yoga block or two will help students feel more comfortable with trying new poses and they have also helped me to go deeper into my own practice at times. Occasionally, it is nice to make the practice of yoga more restorative or supported and a yoga block can offer great assistance. Easily available, lightweight and affordable, a yoga block can be a great tool for any practice. The following photos demonstrate some of my favorite things to do with a yoga block or two..
1. Standing Posture Improver - In my new book The Yoga of Cleaning: An Essential Guide, I talk about spiritualizing your cleaning routine and creating sacred space in the context of yoga and its sister philosophies - Ayurveda and Vastu. What better way to connect your yoga practice with mundane household chores than working on your posture while washing dishes, folding laundry or dusting. Try using a yoga block in Tadasana or Standing Mountain Pose.
Instructions: Place a yoga block between your legs and grip it with your thighs. This action will tilt the pelvis down and lengthen and realign the spine.
Creating an altar is a great way to intentionally create sacred space in your home. Altars are intended to act as a catalyst for shifting thoughts and energy from a lower vibration reality to the higher vibrations of the spiritual realm. There is no specific blueprint for constructing an altar. I have several altars in my home and one on my desk at work to help balance out unseen electromagnetic energy created by computers, cell phones and wireless frequencies that can affect your physiology.
The image of the altar above resides in my bedroom, right next to my bed. I sit up in bed and meditate every morning and the items that I have selected for my altar space help me feel more present to all that is divine. The scarf is a souvenir from a spiritual sabbatical and it reminds me of a special time in my life. The statue of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi reminds me to be abundant and prosperous in all that I do as her name literally means “goal”. Her lotus seat reminds me that I should enjoy living in this world but not become obsessed with it. Her four hands represent the four ends of human life: dharma (righteousness), karma (genuine desires), artha (wealth), and moksha (emotional freedom). She also reminds me to be beautiful, generous and graceful in thought, word and deed.
You can create your own special altar in your home by following these steps:
1. Select a place for your altar. Select a space that you will see regularly to remind you of all the things that you love and honor.
2. Select items to place on you altar. Select items from nature, sacred images, books, statues, candles, bells, pictures of love ones or anything that resonates with you. Change it up when you feel that you have achieved a goal or when inspiration sparks.
3. Dedicate your altar to a goal or intention and meditate or pray near it whenever you can. This will elevate the energy of items that you have assembled and the entire space in general.
It has been said that when we create an altar we recollect the scattered pieces of ourselves. No matter what you choose to place on your altar, make it your own.