Plus the story of a NYC yoga convert.

When Corey Bader first started taking yoga classes “I actually hated it,” she says. “It seemed like some trendy thing that only skinny girls with fashionable leggings who were naturally flexible could do.”

But then Corey noticed she’d been feeling more anxious. She wanted to see if yoga might help her, so she tried taking classes again and “quickly fell in love.”

“I realized that this was something I wanted to have for the rest of my life, and something I can do anywhere and anytime,” she says. “I decided to save money and train to be an instructor so that I would be more comfortable practicing on my own and perhaps even start helping other people learn.”

The natural next step for Corey was to start her own space for yoga at home. “I decided to make an at-home yoga space after I began my training,” she says. “It just became more important that I be able to practice at the ready. Plus, who doesn’t want to have a nice, relaxing space available to come home to?”

We asked Corey a few questions about how to create the perfect at-home yoga spot.

What are some essential elements of a yoga space? What kind of decor, accessories, plants(!) do you recommend to make the space as calming and conducive to yoga as possible?

I think the biggest thing is having a yoga mat that you really love. If you don’t feel great about your mat and the way that you move on it, then you’re not going to want to practice. I also love having props handy–blocks, blankets, bolsters — so that you can incorporate them whenever and wherever you need them. The body is constantly changing, and just because you didn’t need a prop yesterday doesn’t mean you won’t want it today. They’re such a useful tool to have. Beyond that I would say just anything that makes you feel comfortable and at peace. Plants, wind chimes, photographs, art. I’m working on making a little meditation area for myself that’s going to involve a canopy and some fairy lights.

Foam block

What are some mistakes you see people making when trying to make room for yoga at home?

Personally, I think that people try to be too regimented and stringent with their at-home practice. If you don’t make it fun and accessible then you’re not going to want to do it. I like to keep a mat laid out where I can always see it and go to it whenever I want to. Come home from a hard day at work? There’s my mat just asking for me to hang out in child’s pose for a while, or throw some bolsters down and do some restorative yoga. Wake up on the wrong side of the bed? There’s my mat ready for me to move through some sun salutations and leave my negative feelings right there. A yoga practice doesn’t have to be a set amount of time or a certain number of shapes or a specific order. As long as you’re being safe and kind to your body then your yoga practice can be anything you need it to be.

Blanket

Any other advice to people interested in starting an at-home practice?

My advice to anyone truly interested in their own at-home practice would be to start by taking some group classes or even some private classes at a studio. Make sure you have a basic knowledge of what you’re doing and are in tune to your own body. Find a studio and a yoga instructor that you can trust and turn to when you find things in your home practice that you’re hung up on. There are just certain things that a DVD or YouTube video can’t teach you, and having someone who knows the body and the practice of yoga that can answer your questions is invaluable. And just keep in mind that yoga is for everyone. There is no single person that can’t benefit from the practice of yoga and there are so many variations and ways to practice and move, just take the time to find a practice that works for you. Don’t be intimidated by the beautiful Instagram accounts and Lululemon leggings. Your practice can be ugly and done in your underwear if that’s what feels good for you (*cough*, my practice, *cough*).

Follow Corey on Insta at @downwarddonut (yes, you read that right) and you can find her teaching at @studioanya.

Photo c/o studio Anya and Rachel Kuzma.

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