Ask Om Gal: Which Direction Should My Yoga Mat Face?
Hi Darling*: So, I was doing yoga, yesterday, after my run, and was wondering . . . Is there an optimal location/direction that one should position a yoga mat (i.e. towards East, or Northwest)? I realize this may be a weird question, but it got me wondering about whether or not there was an optimal, zen-capturing position for a yoga mat? xo Angie
Should she face this way . . .
. . . Or that way?
Not a weird question at all! I'm happy you thought to inquire about the optimal "zen-capturing" placement of a yoga mat. Traditionally, yoga is practiced facing the sun. Sun salutations (surya namaskar), for example, literally "salute" the sun, so, ideally, we position our mats accordingly.
In the event that this is not possible given the layout of your space (at home or in a yoga studio), I recommend doing what feels best. Feng shui, a Chinese system of aesthetics, may naturally be a factor without your knowing. For instance, you might gravitate toward an area of your home that feels light and airy for your yoga practice, as your body will absorb these energies by being there. Also, you might not enjoy resting in sivasana with your feet toward the door, as the Chinese believe this is an inauspicious position. (I once heard that the reason for this is that the dead are carried out this way. Spooky, I know . . .).
In summary, face the sun if you can. If you can't, choose what feels best. Good luck with your home practice!
xo Om Gal
[Disclaimer: this person is a personal friend, hence the "darling."]
Rebecca Pacheco photographed in Boston by Jonathan Pozniak for Lululemon
Welcome, Om Guys & Gals!
Rebecca Pacheco is a writer and yogi who began practicing yoga at the age of 16 and teaching at the age of 20. For the past decade, she has worked with students of all levels, including beginners and experienced yogis. She has appeared in national ad campaigns for Reebok, Ryka, and New Balance and taught at an internationally-renowned yoga studio. The World According to Om Gal is her creation and your new favorite hOMepage.