10 Ways to Set the Mood for Yoga

Woman working out doing yoga at the beach

Whether trying to instill the habit of practice or merely bring greater pleasure to your current yoga ritual, setting the mood with intentionality can bring joy and peace to any yoga session. To craft the perfect environment for one’s practice, you should consider the extent to which each of your senses influences your overall being. Here are 10 ways to set the mood before a yoga session.

Sound:

1.    Music— you don’t need to resort to kitschy flute music or soft guitar; practice sessions are your own and you should listen to whatever type of music will put you in the most relaxed mood. Yes, gentle acoustic may bring you a sense of calm, but high-paced drumming may wake you up and loosen your core. Find the right music to either calm you down or energize your session. Soft atmospheric music can help bring you to focus.  Quick syncopated rhythmic music can help wake you up and create a sense of alertness.

2.    Practice outside!— Environmental noises can bring you closer to your non-thinking self and connect you with your body. Set your mat outside and focus on the noises around you. Pay attention to the sounds of your environment while you meditate before practice to find centeredness. Ask yourself, are the birds particularly loud? Can you feel the gentle thrum of passing cars? Does the sound of the breeze block out all other sounds and bring your focus inward? Think about where you would practice if you were on a yoga retreat. Perhaps the sound of the ocean is near?

3.    Meditate on silence— sometimes the best sound is the utter lack of sound. Take a few moments to ease into the peace of practice. Close your eyes and bring your attention inward. Count your breaths. Find the rhythm of your heartbeat. Focus on your breath in a very quiet place and mentally walk through your upcoming yoga session. You’ll find the poses come more naturally and with grace when you’ve mulled them over in advance.

Smell:

1.    Sit in your garden— find or create the environment that enhances your mood. Put fresh flowers in your studio space, light a fire using scented wood, take a short walk before your session and pay attention to the smells wafting around you.

2.    Light some incense / dispense essential oils—light a candle or incense with the smell most closely associated with your desired practice style. Set a reed diffuser or place a few droplets of essential oil on your wrists. Use nag champa incense for a pungent essence of stability and alertness, fruit scented candles for a sense of nostalgia, or whatever smell you associate with your mood.

3.    Hot tea—Drink your favorite herbal tea and focus on the sensory experience.
Lighting:

1.    Sunlight / natural lighting—the UV light in a well lit space provides essential vitamins, such as vitamin D, as well as an awakening that can liven your practice. Place your mat in front of a large southern facing window or in another brightly lit spaces in your home or studio.

2.    Candles—use candles to set a calming mood. The soft light will provide you a sense of relaxation as you settle into an evening routine.

3.    Colored lighting— use different colored bulbs, or drape handkerchiefs over your lamps, to match your preferred mood. Blue light creates alertness, red light will settle your energy, or mix and match different colors to construct a lighting sequence that you find most beneficial, such as red, orange, and yellow for the styling of the sunset.

4.    Decorate the space with things that bring you peace or centeredness. Designate a space in your home specifically for yoga practice. Hang minimalist art and nature scenes, put small totems or tokens from travel on display, or leave the room sparse to create a sense of zen and focus.
Yoga is meant to be your practice, one which can be soothing, invigorating, and strengthening.  Overall, you are communing with your body and feeling the energy flow through you as if you were on a yoga retreat.  Breathe in, breathe out, and enjoy all that yoga brings you after you have set the mood.

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