Yoga is as much a fitness activity as it is a lifestyle, and any lifestyle deserves a well-considered space to fully cater to its every aspect. Embodying the yoga lifestyle to its fullest extent is Hong Kong-based yogi Victor Chau, who shares with us his tips on how to enrich your yoga session via small humanistic touches. Regardless of whether you have a spare room or an extra corner to dedicate to the pursuit, apply these expert tips to stimulate both your mind and the senses.
Ideally the room should have a large window facing east so that when you meditate and practice yoga in the morning, you can absorb positive energy from the sun. Early in the morning is a great time to practice yoga or meditation – before you have breakfast or coffee. The window should also have a curtain or blinds so that the brightness of the room can be adjusted. If you prefer to practice in the afternoon or at night, install lights with a dimmer so you can turn the light down when you’re in corpse pose for final relaxation.
You do not need a very large room for yoga or meditation. If it is big enough for a yoga mat or two, it should be sufficient. It is also recommended that you keep at least one wall clean without anything pictures or ornaments hung up because a wall like this will be very useful to practice headstand, handstand or any other challenging poses that require a wall for support.
A good yoga mat (lululemon’s Namaste Mat) is a great investment to have. Other yoga props such as blocks, a yoga wheel (from Zolo Wellness), yoga chairs, firm blankets, bolsters and straps can come in handy depending on your needs and the style of yoga you practice.
I am a big fan of candles and incenses. When you burn a candle or an incense stick, it purifies the air around you. Diptyque makes impeccable candles and Fornasetti offers subtle incenses. For more affordable options, any natural bee-wax or soy-based candles will do. And try to use natural incense such as sandalwood.
It is scientifically proven that plants have a calming effect on humans. Keep a pot plant of any evergreen variety, or a vase of fresh flowers to bring some nature into the concrete jungle of your Hong Kong apartment.
If you follow a lineage of traditional yoga, you might find it spiritually beneficial to have an image of your guru (BKS Iyengar for Iyengar Yoga, Pattabhi Jois for Ashtanga Yoga, Swami Sivananda for Sivananda Yoga, etc), or a deity of your belief (Lord Shiva, Jesus Christ or the Buddha). This can be also be in the form of a statuette, which you can source easily from a yoga or Hindu supplies store, or simply directly from India. Alternatively, a sacred symbol such as the Om sign, Swastika or the Crucifix would also be suitable. Remember, yoga has no religion, but it can be affiliated to any of your belief systems. These sacred representations hold higher spiritual energy to help lift our energy up so we could be enlightened one day.
If you like to play music while practicing yoga or use an audio guide for meditation, install a simple Bluetooth speaker so you can play your favourite tunes or guided meditation podcast. B&O and Bose make high quality portable speakers that can virtually take your yoga practice and music anywhere.
Hong Kong apartments unfortunately do not normally allow a spare room that you can use solely for yoga. You could still cleverly transform an existing room into a yoga or meditation room. Using the tips above, all you need is a screen that can partition yourself from the distractions of the world (family, pets, TV, etc). If time is not on your side, a 15-minute dedicated yoga or meditation practice is better than an hour of practice where you have to talk to other people, pet your cat and check your emails. Make a habit of docking your digital devices away before the practice. Choose a basket from MUJI or IKEA, which have a limitless selection of small containers to store all your digital attachments.
Don’t miss Victor’s yoga-related travels by following him on Instagram.
Banner image: Lincoln Barbour