How to Start a Home Practice with Morgan Zion
Author: Lauren Hunsberger | Photography: Taryn Emerick | Posted In: Move | March 2020
A traditional yoga class setting is great for many reasons: community, expert (oftentimes hands-on) guidance and a safe place to get away from it all. However, one of the beautiful things about yoga is that all you really need is your body and breath. Yoga instructor Morgan Zion suggests letting the five senses guide you to create a sacred space for yoga and meditation in your home.
The outside perspective of an instructor is a big missing piece in a home practice, so a floor-length mirror can help with self-adjustments and corrections. Don’t spend a lot of time looking at it, but when in doubt, glance over to double-check your posture. Another visual cue is light. Zion suggests practicing next to a sunny window on a nice afternoon or using a happy light to complement a morning session. “Light helps evoke a feeling of being awake and alive,” she says. “It builds a sensation of warmth and positive energy flow.” The last visual that Zion likes to incorporate is green plants. The color of the heart chakra, green is another reminder of thriving life.
Music and yoga often go hand in hand. Set your mood with the perfect playlist, whether you want an upbeat, energetic morning mix or a soft, restorative session after a long day. However, silence can also be a powerful tool. A lack of sound can let you connect to the natural rhythms of your breath and the world around you. “You can change your environment depending on what your goals are,” Zion says. If you prefer music, try the playlist Zion curated for a calming, centering at-home practice.
Your sense of smell is a potent tool. Different smells can induce a sense of comfort, energy or relaxation. Zion loves to enhance her home practice with aromatherapy. Her go-to scents include lavender and lemongrass, but her all-time favorite is doTERRA’s Breathe, which combines peppermint, eucalyptus and tea with lemon and cardamom.
Taste is not a sense that’s usually associated with yoga, but Zion says that’s the beauty of being in your own space. She likes to curl up with a cup of coffee or tea after moving her body. Her favorites are lemon-ginger-turmeric or mint tea. Her favorite morning move is to put on a kettle of water and perform sun salutations while waiting. “It’s a great way to get energized first thing,” she says.
Zion prefers a warm environment, especially when it’s cold outside, so she turns a space heater on before rolling out the mat. Comforting sweaters and blankets can also be incorporated a little more easily when at home. To end her sessions, Zion suggests placing a small silk spa pillow over the eyes.
Go-to Breath Work
For a simple meditation practice at home, sit cross-legged on the floor, on the edge of a bolster or on a block or your couch. Set a timer for your chosen duration. Zion recommends trying a four-count breath, which is called the box breath. Close your eyes and take a deep breath while counting to four. Hold for four counts, pause, and then exhale for four counts. Repeat, trying to make each part even. “A teacher once told me that if you think you don’t have time for 10 minutes of meditation, you need to make it 20; double it,” she says.
- Keep an open, clean space. Remove any furnishings or art that could get in the way.
- Hard surfaces are best. Use a towel or extra mat if your best option is concrete or another rough surface.
- Go to many classes before starting a home practice to ensure proper form, alignment and technique.