How to Create a Yoga Space at Home

You know that feeling when you’re rushing around like crazy, just trying to get to your yoga class on time? Or when you’re scheduling your day and your studio’s class times sadly don’t work? We’ve been there. Sometimes you just can’t make it to the studio. Even though we’d love to see your smiling faces, we’ve still got you covered with The Green Yogi Online!

online yoga

Still, finding a quiet, relaxing place in your home can also feel overwhelming. It’s tough to stay centered when your dog is barking or you can see those dirty dishes sitting in your kitchen sink. More often than not, we skip savasana all together! We admit, we’ve even gotten up during a yin relaxation video to get a snack. (GASP!)

Since you’re probably the only person there to hold yourself accountable, the key is a comfortable, quiet environment that allows you to focus.

Here are our tips for creating a peaceful yoga space in your own home (or right outside it, if that’s an option!) with limited distractions.

outdoor yoga

  • Find an open space. Lay down your mat and test out your favorite poses. Make sure you won’t hit a wall or piece of furniture. Clear away any clutter.
  • Be bright! Because light brings energy, make sure the space is well lit. If you don’t have a ton of natural light, scatter candles around the space.
  • Keep props close by. Eliminate the chance that you’ll have to leave the space to get something like a block, bolster, strap or towel. Keep a water bottle handy, too!

bkr water bottle on yoga mat

  • Stay away from technology as best you can. You’ll need a TV or computer for our online videos, but stash away your phone and get rid of any other distractions that might side-track you.
  • Check the room temperature. Make sure it will still be comfortable once you start moving.
  • Make it beautiful! Just as a new outfit can motivate you to get your downward dog on, a beautiful space can also be inspiring. Decorate with flowers, plants, candles, and/or a colorful blanket.

home yoga studio

Recommended Items:

Yoga mat

Towel (we’re a fan of YogiToes by Manduka!)

Bolster or blanket

Strap

Blocks

Water bottle

Candles

Plants

Essential oils (we love lavender and always have it in our studio!)

Fresh flowers

Share your home studio on Instagram and tag @thegreenyogi and #GreenYogiAtHome and you’ll be entered to win a free month of online classes! A winner will be drawn on May 15th. Good luck!

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Q&A with Instructor Linda

Today we’re getting to know the lovely Linda Baffa! Linda teaches here at The Green Yogi Manhattan Beach on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30pm. She shares extremely insightful quotes in each and every class; you’ll always walk away motivated. She sings, too!

linda smile

Where did you grow up? 

On my yoga mat. All my growth has come from there ;-)

What are your hobbies? 

These days, my hobbies include singing, dancing, puzzles, building sand castles, eating pizza and going to the park…pretty much anything that also involves our 3 year-old.

Bali Retreat 1

How did you get started with yoga?

I took my first yoga class when I was 18 as a freshman at NYU. It was part of our curriculum for drama training. It was ironic because my desire to be an actress was fueled by my desire to be everything other than myself. However, yoga has taught me that I desire to be nothing other than myself.

parivrtta trikonasana

What pose was most challenging for you to learn?

Hmm…probably Downward Dog. I’m still learning this pose! It’s crazy. Every time I take a teacher training or a workshop or even just do my practice, I learn something new about this pose. I think there are probably over 100 alignment cues you give for this pose and you still won’t get it “right”. (Also, holding this pose in stillness for more than a few minutes is a bitch! Haha.) ;-) I love this about yoga. You truly never stop learning any of it. No pose is too basic. I often take take level one classes simply to slow down and fine tune my practice. The more you study yoga, the more you learn how much you don’t know. I love that. I LOVE learning and growing!

badakonasana

What inspires you?

Music. I love how listening to music or chanting can alter my state of being instantaneously… I often listen to meditation music or simple piano playing at home or in my car to maintain peace.

viparita dandasana

What are your classes like? Whats your teaching style?

My classes are mentally therapeutic. I like to offer lots of questions, insight, and inspiration so that class isn’t just about poses… it’s about connecting to who you are, what you want or need in your life, and, more importantly, what you don’t want or need in your life. Yoga is about honoring your true spirit. I hope my classes offer students a chance to find their spirit and to feel lifted, clear, and content. (Editor’s note: They TOTALLY do!)

Whats your favorite quote?

“Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now.”

~Eckhart Tolle, from The Power of Now

(This book changed my life. I would quote the whole thing if I could. It is a bible of peace.)

Do you have any inspiring stories/moments from your teaching or practice?

I was fortunate enough to lead a retreat in Bali a few years ago. At the end of the retreat, I discovered I was pregnant. My husband and I had planned to travel for two weeks after the retreat ended and I sat down one day in meditation and, without searching or knowing what I was looking for, the name “Jones” popped in my head like a bright light. I knew that was our son’s name, and I knew he was a boy…even at being 5 weeks pregnant! (Fortunately, my husband liked the name too!) This is the power of yoga and meditation and getting still enough to just be, to just observe, to just listen…all the answers to all the questions are inside of you.

jones and mama

Want more Linda? Find her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

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Green Yogi of the Month, Berkeley: Martin Taber!

We are so excited to honor Martin Taber as our Manduka Sponsored Yogi of the month for April! Martin has been with us at The Green Yogi since we first opened, and he has taken over 100 classes! He inspires our Green Yogi community with his sweet, welcoming presence as he easily strikes up a conversation with anyone and everyone – making us all feel loved! We are honored to have you in our yoga family, Martin!

MartinTaber

OCCUPATION: Jeweler

NICKNAME: Obiel. As in OBL…of burning leaves. Yeah, I grew up in Berkeley…

FUN FACT ABOUT ME: When I was thirteen I toured Europe with the San Francisco Boys Chorus. I love to sing, I just have a lousy memory for lyrics…hmmmhmmhmmhmmmhuuummmm….I also love swing dancing – doing it, watching it, teaching it. Maybe we’ll put on some music after one of Marina’s Friday night music classes and cut the  proverbial rug.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE INSTRUCTOR AND WHY? 

Kari has such a calming, directive voice. Her classes flow seamlessly from beginning to end. Her explanation of the poses, the movement, and the transitions is very comprehensive and I always feel like the knowledge she is imparting is soaking deep down into my bones. Marina also brings a sense of deep understanding to her flow classes, which are alive and playful while still being wonderfully grounded and balanced. Her joy and encouragement really gets you through (and into!!) your inner edge. The Wednesday evening double header with these two yoga goddesses is not to be missed. I can’t, and I wouldn’t want to, choose between them. I would be remiss, though, if I didn’t also mention Eric, who gave me such a great early role model of a strong male yogi having fun and keeping it real. You are missed, my friend. Mary just seems to draw such a wonderful spirit and circle of teachers to our studio.

WHAT IS YOUR INTENTION FOR YOUR YOGA PRACTICE?

My intention for my yoga practice is to every day find a re-find (refine?) my intention. Each class offers something different, and I try to stay open to what I need and what energy I’m bringing to the studio every day when I arrive. Overall, I would say my intention is to learn to balance out life’s highs and lows, while at the same time training myself to live more deeply and passionately. Yeah, I want to have my cake and eat it too. Whatever that means…hahaha!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE?

Tree pose into warrior three during flow. And sleeping swan into mermaid in yin class. It’s all about the transitions.

WHAT SONG SHOULD BE ON EVERY YOGA PLAYLIST?

“Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova – the theme song from the movie, Once.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? 

I am inspired by the small kindnesses I see people do for each other every day. I am inspired by creative solutions to complex problems. I am inspired by simple, elegant design that doesn’t feel like it’s working too hard. And I am inspired by the gentle beauty of wind patterns in the trees, the still silence in vast fields of snow, and the fresh smell of a warm spring dawn. Oh yeah, and water. I love being on the water.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING AND HOW HAS YOGA IMPROVED YOUR LIFE? 

Just over one year. I was a yoga virgin before joining TGY. I think I have grown more perceptive of my body’s internal energies, and less focused just on the physical and structural elements of how it works. Specifically, I have become much more interested in how the channels carry both positive and negative energy through seemingly unrelated parts of our body. Kari recently recommended me The Web That Has No Weaver (which I tried reading years ago in college) as a primer on the body’s meridians. I’m finding it much more compelling now that I have more nuanced experiences to connect it to.

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April Yogi of the Month Manhattan Beach: NICK JONES

Our Manduka-sponsored Yogi of the Month for April is Nick Jones! Nick has been a familiar face here in Manhattan Beach for over a year now and we look forward to seeing his smiling face everyday! Not only is he a yogi, he’s a student, personal trainer, high school basketball coach and server at a local restaurant! We’re not sure how he finds the time for everything, but we’re so glad to have him here at the studio in his free time.

manhattan beach yoga studios

Congratulations, Nick!

NICKNAME:

Man Bun 

OCCUPATION:

I’m a full time student at California State University Dominguez Hills majoring in Kinesiology. I am a Certified Personal Trainer. I am a strength and conditioning coach for the boys varsity basketball team at Mira Costa High School. I also am a server and bartender at The Greenbelt restaurant in Hermosa Beach.

FUN FACT ABOUT YOU:

I’m half English (British). My father’s side of the family lives near Manchester, England. Also, I’ve been told I’m a gifted shower singer.

WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE INSTRUCTOR AND WHY?

I have 4 favorite (influential) instructors in my life. Wendy, for her grace, alignment tips, and introducing me to Wall Wednesday. Linda, for her voice. Chelsea for her great energy. Matt, because he’s Matt.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE?

I like to work on holding crow to tripod headstand back to holding crow again.

WHAT SONG SHOULD BE ON EVERY YOGA PLAYLIST?

Partynextdoor by Recognize ft. Drake would be nice to listen to while practicing yoga.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

My family along with my close friends. I also am motivated to improve gradually in most aspects of my life. I also love the feeling of giving back and helping others (mostly athletes) with my experience playing college football and being a positive example for young men trying to progress in sports.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING & HOW HAS YOGA IMPROVED YOUR LIFE?

I have been practicing yoga for about 2 years now, it has helped me find a sense of calm that I lacked playing football and yoga helps me remember to enjoy and be aware of the moment. On top of that it is a great way to workout.

Thank you Manduka for sponsoring our wonderful Yogis of the Month!

manduka yogi of the month

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Q&A with Instructor Matt Rothert

Today we’re getting to know our instructor Matt Rothert. You’ll find him teaching Yin Relaxation here at The Green Yogi on Sunday nights from 6-7:30 PM!

Matt Headshot

Where did you grow up? My Dad was a businessman and moved our family where his job took us. So, I grew up in a unique combination of the deep south (Arkansas), the upper midwest (Michigan), the northeast (Connecticut) and the southeast (North Carolina).

What are your hobbies? Cooking, gardening, camping, water sports (body surfing, SUP, surfing), watching the sunset, writing.

matt rothert yoga instructor

How did you get started with yoga? I was going through a challenging time in my life and had this feeling that yoga was going to help me out of it. I went to one of Julie Rader’s classes at the Yoga Loft on a recommendation from a friend and was hooked. I loved the personal Spiritual aspect of the practice that I was able to connect to. Then I fell in love with the community. So many of our teachers from the Green Yogi today were just getting started too and we were all practicing together.. In one class you’d have Jamie, Wendy, Linda, Anne, Heather, Amy B and myself. It was so much fun and everyone was so nice and full of love and generosity.

What pose was most challenging for you to learn? Handstand. It is still a challenge for me, but a great lesson in persistence and practice.

What inspires you? Seeing other people transform their lives.

matt rothert yoga instructor manduka

What are your classes like? What’s your teaching style? My classes are happy and chill and hopefully inspiring. (Editor’s note: They ARE!)

What’s your favorite quote? “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” -Jesus

matt rothert yoga instructor

Want more of Matt? Find him on Instagram or Facebook, and check out his website, yogalovefood.com!

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Q&A with Instructor Amy B!

Today we’re chatting with Amy B., our fearless instructor here at The Green Yogi Manhattan Beach on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9:30 am!

amy b yoga the green yogi

Where did you grow up?

I was blessed to grow up with a wonderful family in Illinois. Eventually, I (very happily!) found my way to Southern California. I have developed a wonderful SoCal family over the years through teaching yoga, staying happy, being a cool friend and meeting inspiring people.

What are your hobbies? 

I’m athletic, so most sports…anything that is genuinely fun! Fun for me is about the people I am with, but hiking, yoga, music, playing with my French Bulldog, and making Kombucha Tea are all at the top of my list.  Recently I have been doing a lot of sound healing, learning about the different instruments like crystals, brass bowls, gongs and other sound tools used for what’s called a “Sound Bath”. Sound Baths are used to heal the body and deepen the mind’s ability to let go, meditate and heal. (Did you see the Super Bowl commercial with Jeff Bridges where he was sitting next to a person in bed and playing a brass bowl?  That was kind of like a sound bath!) (Editor’s note: Amy is actually hosting a sound bath this Saturday, March 21st here at The Green Yogi! Her and Fabian Rodriguez will use about 20 different instruments to help give you the sensation of deep relaxation. Jeff wont be at this event…at least we don’t think so…but you never know!)

How did you get started with yoga?

When I moved to Marina Del Rey I didn’t have any girlfriends in town. A new neighbor knocked on my door and invited me to join her for yoga at Brian Kest Power Yoga in Santa Monica. This was about 15 years ago and yoga wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now.  I realized over time (once I could touch my toes!) I was changing for the better. Needless to say, eventually I realized I was literally head-over-heals for this thing called yoga! I’m calmer, clear-minded, stronger, and more flexible now. Plus, the community is so great – I have tons of new friends because of it.

arm balances yoga

What pose was most challenging for you to learn?

Hands-down, handstand. I have so much respect for yogis who can do arm balances because I realize how much hard work and perseverance it takes to master them. If you want to master handstand, practice everyday. Slowly start to hold the pose for up to a minute. It’s like learning to walk; enjoy the falling and getting back up!

yoga handstand

What inspires you?

Growth. People and events that help us realize we’re never “done”. (Once we check one thing off our list, another inevitably pops up!)  Those who can deal with hard blows in life and still be inspired to move on.  Those who have had a charmed life and always have a smile and kind a heart.  Life inspires me. When I realize I can do better at something, I get up and do it.  Check out this Ted Talk if you need a dose of inspiration:

What are your classes like? What’s your teaching style?

My style is based around motivating, challenging and inspiring my students!  I use inspiration and knowledge to help you achieve a pose you may not have thought possible. I design classes to gradually help you get into a difficult pose through repetitive movements that open the body.  My strength is knowing what you are feeling and helping you get past any blocks you may have.  I think my classes are awesome. (Editor’s note: So do WE!)

I am a very diverse Master Yoga Instructor. I have over a 1000 hours of training in Vinyasa Power Yoga, Yin/Restorative, Meditation, Pranic Healing, Prenatal, Therapuetics, Chakra and energy work, Sound Healing and Athletic Yoga. It’s such an honor to have been The LA Kings Hockey Team yoga instructor during their 2014 Stanley Cup Champsionship season.

warrior poses yoga

What’s your favorite quote?

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”― Dalai Lama XIV

Do you have any inspiring stories/moments from your teaching or practice?

The real joy is watching the daily growth of the people around me. A student of mine, Soo, learned Bakasana, an arm balance. She is pictured below at the age of 70. She started in my yoga classes a few years ago and within a year she mastered Bakasana.  It’s never to late to learn a new trick!  Soo is inspiring to me. She doesn’t only take my power yoga classes; you might even find her in a tabata class!  She reminds me that we’re never too old to act on our inspirations and GO FOR IT!

crow pose yoga senior

Want more Amy B? Find her on Instagram and Facebook, or check out her website at amybyoga.com!

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21 Good Deeds

In week 2 of the #GreenYogiChallenge, you’re tasked with doing a good deed. To help out, we’re sharing a list of positive things you can do for your friends, family, even strangers!

  • Get trained in CPR. You never know when you might need to save someone’s life!
  • Bring a basket of treats or some fresh flowers to a friend or a local nursing home.
  • Sign up to fundraise for a charity you care about.
  • Next time you’re shopping for groceries, buy some extra to donate to a local food bank or shelter.
  • Pay for the person behind you at the coffee shop or in a drive-thru.
  • Drive an elderly neighbor or family member to appointments, church, or a movie. Offer to do their grocery shopping.
  • Surprise your significant other with breakfast in bed.
  • Offer to babysit for a friend.
  • Donate blood.
  • Drop off magazines you’ve already read at a hospital waiting room. They can help make patients’ waits a little brighter!
  • When cooking or baking, make some extra to give to an older neighbor or a friend who doesn’t cook much. Or, cook a meal for friends with a newborn baby!
  • If you’re going on a long vacation, drop off your monthly public transit pass at a school or career center. They’ll pass it along to someone who can use it to job hunt or attend classes.
  • Volunteer for a charity that’s near and dear to your heart.
  • Donate used clothes and housewares to a local shelter.
  • Offer to take care of a friend’s pet when they go away on a short vacation.
  • Visit a nursing home and spend some quality time chatting with residents. Many of them don’t get visitors.
  • Next time you go grocery shopping, pick up a large bag of dog or cat food to donate to a local animal shelter. Bring some old blankets or towels to donate, too!
  • Put money in a parking meter you see is about to expire.
  • After finishing a book, donate it to a friend or a library.

Did you complete a good deed today? Share with us by commenting below – you may inspire someone else to follow in your footsteps and pay it forward!

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