When you live in a city like Vancouver, doing yoga at home or in the office may seem a bit daunting. With open floor space often at a premium, it can be a challenge to do your normal routine without an arm or leg colliding with a wall or a piece of furniture. But with a few modifications and a little creativity, it's possible for Vancouver's space constraints to present more of an opportunity than a hindrance in your private yoga session. The added challenge of adapting to a small space will make you more aware of your body and can help you break free from the repetition of routine. If you have enough room to lay down your mat, you can have more than enough space for a great practice!
There's no need to follow the sequence of the video to a T – you can adapt it to your experience and priorities however you like. We've included a breakdown of the covered asanas in the paragraphs below, if you'd like to read some more in-depth tips or explanations of why we included them in this routine.
Starting in child’s pose is an excellent way to ground your practice. With minimal distractions, you can relax your mind and get ready to move.
Next, some gentle cat-cow movements are a great way to warm up the spine and figure out what feels tight and what feels good. Each day is different, so use this time to figure out what movements will work best for you today. Pushing up into a downward-facing dog, pedal out the legs to find space in the hamstrings and lower back, before walking slowly up to the front of your mat in a forward fold.
In a small space, I like to roll up to standing slowly – there’s less danger of hitting a lamp or tv set – and gives you the time to move at your own pace, rather than trying to keep up or slow down to match the set speed of a studio class.
Sun salutations are great to warm up the body – the movements are familiar, they don’t have to take up any space other than what you have available to you on your mat, and they can be easily modified to fit what you need. An entire practice – whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour – can be built around these simple movements. You can repeat this as many times as you like – just make sure you do an even number of repetitions leading on both sides of the body.
If your practice is more strength-based, chair pose is one of the best poses you can do – it works your core, your legs and your glutes, while taking up literally no space at all! Again, this can be included in a modified sun salutation. Here, you can see I incorporated some lunges for hip stretches – interior and exterior – and a small warrior II flow, which can be modified depending on the ceiling height of your space!
While arm balances may seem off-limits in your apartment or dorm room, in fact, these can be great locations to practice them! Working here with crow pose, I made sure to keep the pose as compacted as possible, trying to ensure my elbows remained hugged together and using my core to remain strong and steady. If a handstand or forearm stand is in your practice, using the walls in your apartment is the perfect way to work on your technique for these more advanced asanas – although I would always recommend learning the basic techniques from a qualified teacher, who will be able to teach you how to safely come in and out of the pose.
I love to end most classes with a twist, but with the limited space in most Vancouver apartments, a supine or reclined twist can be difficult to maneuver. Here, I used a deep yogi squat as the basis for my spinal twist, but alternatives to this could be a seated twist, or even standing.
If you'd like to have your at-home routine customized or developed further, check out our services page to learn more about the private yoga classes we offer in Vancouver for individuals (or for groups, if you'd like to practice with friends!).