Yoga is the perfect way to de-stress and exercise without ever leaving your dorm room – it takes up next-to-no space and equipment! Whether you have a crazy week or a slew of finals ahead, creating a zen-friendly space, finding the perfect mat, and penciling in some om-time will help you find your center for school. If you want to step up your yoga game this year, but don’t want to pay for a studio membership, you’re in the right place.
Set the Scene
If you’ve ever been to a yoga studio, you know the feeling of calm that falls over you when you walk inside. While you can’t turn your dorm room into a full-on studio, you can create a calming space that screams—or whispers—stress-relief. Use these tips to prep your dorm room for your first yoga session:
Get rid of clutter: Use yoga as an excuse to tidy up, organize and get rid of items you don’t need. In that small space, anything extra will cramp your yoga style. “Make use of all available closet, dresser, and desk storage. Invest in bed risers to raise the bed up and then place storage drawers or tubs below,” says Alyssa Davis of DoItYourself.com.
Bring nature inside: Bring a small plant into your dorm room (if it’s allowed), like a bamboo tree, succulent or herb garden. All of these will fit comfortably on your desk.
Create relaxing lighting: Turn down the main lights in your room and use the light from candles and a small desk lamp. The reduced lighting will help relax your mind.
Let Someone Guide You
If you’re new to yoga, you likely aren’t familiar with the popular flows and poses. While yoga is all about what feels right for you and your body, it’s important that you know proper form to avoid injury. Flow is also important, ensuring that you warm up your muscles before diving into some of the more strenuous positions.
There are a variety of websites that offer free yoga classes you can stream including Fitness Blender, Do Yoga With Me, and My Free Yoga. Cue up a video for the first few sessions to get used to a routine.
Find the Perfect Mat
Being the main piece of equipment for your yoga practice, you want to find a good mat that will not only support your practice but also stay in good shape as you stuff it under your bed or into your closet. It’s also important to note that not all mats are created equal, so choosing the right one could make all the difference. Here are a few mats to consider:
Light weight: Lululemon The (Un) Mat. Good for especially cramped dorm rooms, or if you plan to toss it in your bag for yoga in the courtyard.
Extra support: MyQuest Memory Foam Yoga Mat. If you have bad knees, this is a great mat for you. With 3-4mm of memory foam, it’s also perfect for sleeping at someone’s house or dorm room comfortably.
Just plain fun: Yogarat Skeleton Charcoal-Ash Ratmat. Covered in skeletons doing different yoga poses, this is the perfect mat for someone who just wants to have a little fun with their mat selection.
Create a Stress-Free Schedule
With your mat, a calming space and your favorite streaming site picked out, it’s time to see where yoga fits into your schedule. As a college student, your life is hectic, so finding time for yoga, between exams, classes, homework and hanging with friends is essential.
Instead of saying “When do I have time to get on the mat this week?” plan yoga like anything else in your schedule and pencil it in on days when you know you’ll need it most, whether you think you have time for not.
If you have a tough exam, plan for a short 15- or 30-minute yoga session before or after studying. If you have a long day of classes, schedule in a yoga session before you head out in the morning. You’ll be amazed at how zen you feel mid-lecture after a quick dorm room yoga session!
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time blogger. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the owner of her own personal training business, Honest Body Fitness. She’s using her experience from writing, editing and marketing to help people get healthy and learn to love what their bodies can do. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for health articles, new workouts and more.