Ways to Simplify your Life this New Year

Photo by Sarah Ball on Unsplash

New Year. A time for a fresh start and new resolutions. Simplicity and streamlining are two popular resolutions people are making. Here’s some pointers on how to review and simplify your life in your new year.

1 Define The Life You Want

Define what you actually want for your year. Doesn’t need to be an extensive essay just a simple list of priorities and things you want to spend your time on in the coming twelve months. Get creative and spend an afternoon creating a vision board to give you visual reference. Fun to look at and fun to do too.

2 Simplify Schedules

Sometimes it’s our schedules and commitments that clutter our lives. If you really can’t fit four running sessions in to your week simply drop back to two. As your schedule becomes leaner you may find time to fit in that extra run later in the year and then it becomes a real treat!

If you’re a yoga teacher this may mean reviewing your classes. If a class you’re teaching is struggling to build in that time slot after six months hard work maybe take a while to analyze the timing and theme of the class. The time slot may be too inconvenient for students or the clientele may not be wanting hot flow at 11am.

Step back from your teaching and try to define what isn’t working. Remember, it may just mean that that timeslot just may not work for any teacher, not just you. Removing classes like this will free up some time for you to focus on building your other classes and organize your yoga business.

3 Enjoy ‘You’ Time

Make time reading the books you’ve bought but never opened. Spend an extra fifteen minutes meditating by waking up just fifteen minutes earlier. Go walking outside at lunch time or after school drop off or for that trip to the post office. Ignore Netflix for an hour in the evening. Pick up an inspiring magazine like Bella Grace and spend an hour reading, note taking, journaling and doodling.

4 Streamline Your Yoga Practice

Get to class when you can but if fighting traffic to get to that 6pm class adds more stress than necessary consider an extra home practice. If you are a teacher then your home practice is critical to your teaching but, now and again, practice for practice sake instead of constantly class planning. Yoga class planning is critical to your yoga business but so is self care. A stressed yoga teacher will not offer their best in class.

5 Declutter

The classic and one of the most popular resolutions! Declutter! Sort all that stuff that is clogging up your life and your mind to create physical and mental space and clarity.

Start small to avoid overwhelm. Focus on one corner of your kitchen, the hanging clothes section of your closet, your yoga space. Work on decluttering as you go and question any new items you buy or bring in to your home.

Increase the simplicity in your life by reducing the stuff and avoiding consumption. This is challenging in a world of marketing, selling and ‘you must have this’ mentality. When the urge to shop comes over you try to replace it with a moment of stepping on the mat, grab a pencil and notepad to sketch or journal, create something to absorb your thoughts – knitting, cooking, gardening, writing – whatever inspires you to create!

Simplifying life isn’t easy. We all have family, work and life commitments that we need to fulfill. Taking a few moments to observe what is filling your life and deciding what fits in to your personal vision helps you prioritize and perhaps delete a few details to ensure that you are working to simplify your life!

Handmade & Unusual Holiday Gifts for Yogis

List of handmade & unusual gifts for yogis
photo credit markus spiske unsplash

There is something about a handmade gift that is extra special. Unique, thoughtful and creative gifts are always winners. With Christmas holidays fast approaching check out these handmade & unusual gifts for yogis.

Whether you are a crafter yourself or you just love to support crafting communities, this selection of gifts are perfect for your yoga loving friend or family member.

Colorful Yoga Straps

colorful yoga strap used in a forward fold
photo credit ReneeSoulie on Etsy

Why does a yoga strap need to be one color? These straps in funky color combos are strong and functional and sure to brighten any yogi’s practice and yoga space! Take a look at all of the wonderful colors.

Funky Upcycled Yoga Skirts

Upcycled yoga skirt
photo credit mojowear on Etsy

Yogi’s love easy to wear and comfortable yoga clothes. Check out this Etsy crafter who makes these wonderful skirts – perfect for layering over yoga leggings on the way to and from class.

There is something about a handmade gift that is extra special. Check out these handmade & unusual gifts for yogis

Handcrafted Wooden Yoga Blocks

Pile of handmade yoga blocks & props
photo credit burmanwoodcraft on Etsy

Popular with the Iyengar yoga community, the wooden block is a yoga practice must have. These blocks are available in the standard size along with other sizes for every yogic application. Made from reclaimed lumber, these beautifully crafted props are a gift to the environment too.

Super Roomy Yoga Tote Bags

Open tote bag containing yoga mat and towel
photo credit LoveMyMat on Etsy

Roomy and full of useful pockets and zippers for all the class essentials. Phone, keys, wallet, towel and yoga mat all fit in this soft, reversible oversized tote bag. Fabrics are sourced from items such as tablecloths and curtains and upcycled in to these unique bags. Win – Win!!

Upcycled Braided Baskets

handmade, braided basket
photo credit Sewvasana on Etsy

These colorful, hand woven baskets are perfect for storing a yoga strap, eye pillow and incense in a yogi’s yoga space. Made from the leftover fabric scraps from other projects. How awesome is that?!

Sari Silk Bookmarks

three sari silk bookmarks in an open book
Make your own sari silk bookmark gifts

And if you are a crafter yourself, these beautiful sari silk bookmarks are a quick craft I like to make and give myself.

Easy to create using sari silk, thread and upcycled beads this is a unique gift for any avid yoga reader! For details on how to make your own, check out yogaskinny’s sister website maycontainpaper here.

All of these gift ideas are perfect for the dedicated yogi on your gift list and all crafted from upcycled materials too.

Please know that, as a member of the Etsy crafting community myself, I am an Etsy affiliate and will make a small commission from any purchase you make via yogaskinny.

Yoga Retreat Travel Tips for the Traveling Yogi

The time has come for those Summer yoga retreats. Whether your trip is by bus, train or plane there are a number of easy to pack items you need to include in your travel tote alongside that yoga mat.

Don’t forget…

  • Essential oil is a great way to ease headaches or tension. I love this calming aromatherapy rollerball oil in lavender to ease tension.
aromatherapy on the go
  • This Origins product packs a minty punch but a tiny amount rubbed in to the temples helps to soothe headaches and relieve travel grogginess.
headache & tension relief
  • Make your own tiny travel altar to transport some sage, meditation cards and crystals. This tiny tin is a great way of taking your yoga & meditation practice with you on the go. (or maybe a candle but buy your matches at your destination!)
travel yoga altar open tin
travel altar tin for your favorite items

Don’t Forget your Yoga Retreat Journal

  • Journal to note down your travel information as well as journal your yoga retreat. This handmade yoga retreat journal is made specifically for a retreat or yoga workshop trip. Dedicated pages for you to note down your itinerary, packing list, contacts and schedule as well as a bunch of separate pages for your notes and thoughts. Totally expandable using a disc system binding it also includes pockets for your receipts & tickets and dedicated envelopes to tuck away your favorite teabag and business cards. Also included is a coordinating bookmark, tags and clips for personal customization. Take a look at this one here on yogaskinny’s sister Etsy store – maycontainpaper.
handmade yoga retreat journal
don’t forget to journal your thoughts
  • A turkish towel makes a great, soft scarf/ blanket for traveling. Perfect for chilly planes and folds up super small for toting around! (It’s also very quick drying if used as a beach towel 😉
Soft turkish towel – perfect for traveling
  • As well as your digital gadgets, you’re going to need a great paperback to absorb you on your travels. Warrior Won by Meryl Davis Landau is a fiction novel with a spiritual edge. It centers around the main character, Lorna Crawford, facing challenges during pregancy when she learns that there may be something wrong with her baby. Filled with references to authors and practices that many a yogi will be familiar this is a captivating read. It ticks the box as a must read, Summer read for those of us looking for a mindful, contemporary womens novel.
Warrior Won – a mindful, contemporary womens novel
  • You’ll need to stay hydrated during the course of your trip. Water bottle or tea mug are critical.
Hydro flask are really good at keeping things hot or cold for a long time!
  • Throw in your favorite herbal teas. Choose ginger to settle your stomach and chamomile to aid with sleep (but only if you’re not driving!)
Pukka Teas make some great herbal teas and the packaging colors are awesome too!
  • Finally, don’t get so comfortable with your travel goodies that you forget to move! Do some simple twists in your chair, get up to stretch and find a moment to focus on some smooth & deep breathing.

Go gather up your goodies and get set for your yogi travels. Bon voyage!

Please know that I am an affiliate which means that I may make a small commission, at no extra cost to you, from any items you may buy through a link from my website 🙂

Great Hand Made Gift Ideas for all the Yoga Loving Friends in your Life

Handmade gifts from Etsy
handmade yoga gifts for your yoga loving friends (Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash)

The holidays are a sneaking up on us already and its time to get going with those gift lists  but what do you give that yoga loving loved one in your life?  How about a little inspiration with these handmade gifts for yoga lovers.

Here are a few ideas from Etsy, the ultimate handmade gift resource, for beautifully crafted gifts that would compliment any yogi’s practice.

Continue reading “Great Hand Made Gift Ideas for all the Yoga Loving Friends in your Life”

Creating a Home Altar for your Yoga & Meditation Practice

A home altar is a sacred space created for your yoga & meditation practice

Creating a home altar serves as a focal place to practice asana, meditate and set your intention for the day.  

The purpose of an altar is to create a sacred space that allows you to reconnect whether you are doing asana poses, sitting for meditation and pranayama or simply pausing for a brief moment to set an intention for your day.

Here’s a simple checklist for creating your home altar.

Identify Your Space

It could be a corner of your yoga room, the edge of your dresser, a shelf amongst your books or a small tray placed at the foot of your yoga mat.  The space is somewhere that you immediately feel at ease and comfortable.

Clean Your Space

Clear the clutter.  Relocate, donate or release excess items from the space.  Keeping the area tidy, clean and bright will energize the space.

Cleanse Your Space

Smudge sage or burn some incense to clear negative & stagnant energy

Sage for a home altar
Bundles of sage for cleansing and removing negative energy

Select and Arrange your Favorite Items

An altar is an evolving and changing sacred space.  There are no rules about what to place at an altar as it is personal to you.  

The best starting point is to gather personal items that you love, that inspire you and give meaning to your practice. 

Items to consider for your home altar

-Photographs of loved ones in frames you’ve chosen

-Symbolic images that hold meaning for you

Beautiful yoga themed yoga prints
Colorful yoga prints

-A candle or incense burner

concrete incense burner
A handcrafted incense burner

-Artworks you love

four mini OM canvas
Miniature ‘OM’ mantra canvas

-Mala necklace that you may like to wear or use as part of your meditation practice

-A small, handmade box to store your incense, sage, candles  & matches

Wooden box for storage of small altar items
Perfect handcrafted boxes for your altar supply of incense, sage & essential oils

-A favorite bowl or dish

-A treasured piece of jewelry or trinket


Creating a home altar serves as a focal place to practice asana, meditate and set your intention for the day. 


-A sculpture of a deity that inspires you

Buddha sculpture
Buddha sculpture for a home yoga altar

-Book of favorite quotes

-Handwritten note, quote or inspiration word for the day

Small vases for a flower
Handmade bud vases

-Element of nature such as a fresh flower in a small vase, shell, crystal or fruit

-A card or postcard that has personal meaning

Gratitude journal
Journal for meditation and contemplation notes

-Small journal for your personal observations and notes

-A singing bowl for use in meditation

Singing bowl
Singing bowl for a yoga and meditation space

Other useful items for your space are a meditation cushion or bench and a shawl or scarf that you may like to drape over your shoulders while meditating.  Using the same shawl is said to absorb the positive energy from your meditations over time.

Meditation wrap for your yoga practice
Paisley meditation shawl

A home altar is a very personal space curated by you with items that you love and that hold meaning for you.  Create a home altar to enrich your practice whether it is a single flower in a simple vase or an elaborate arrangement of sculptures and images.

What items will you choose?


Please know that I am an ‘affiliate’ which means that I make a small commission if any products from Etsy featured here are purchased via this website.  As an Etsy shop owner myself I’m supporting and promoting Etsy’s crafting community.