A space at home

by Alice Dommert

Last week I wrote about my decisions to quit the gym in lieu of a home practice guided by my online teachers. For me that strategy better supports my commitment of a daily habit of movement. This decision coincided with an opportunity to continue working toward a more minimalist lifestyle, which means less stuff and less space. It was part of my dreams for 2018 and happened with ease over the Thanksgiving holiday.

My tiny footprint of a workout space will not be on the cover of architectural digest—it is a tiny sliver of space in between my couch, coffee table, my little bird’s cage, my desk and my dining room table. My larger studio home just might be and it’s this larger context that holds my workout space that is continuing to evolve since I moved in.

I share all that to say it is not about the amount of space. As I have explored the minimalist kind of life, I am sure of what I suspected in my first years of architecture school as we began to draw lines on paper to design spaces; it’s not the square footage that matters, it is the quality of space, how it functions and more importantly how it feels.

So here are the questions I contemplated as I imagined my space. I hope these might help as you imagine your space. Sure, you will have some idea of what space you have available. These are questions to ponder to help you discover the little things that are going to make that space something special.

How do you want to feel when you are in that space?
Do you want quiet and relaxation? Or inspiration? Close your eye and let your imagination go. Don’t hold back. Write down a few feeling words to help get clear about what you desire. You may even find some images that have that look and feel.

As I began to inhabit my new space I felt it was a cross between a hummingbird nest and a beehive. I made a Pinterest board with images and colors that evoked the feeling I wanted in the space.

Where will you be looking?
My home practice consists of active workouts that I pull up on my computer. So I need a screen to look at. There are also yoga practices that I have online but mostly just listen to so I also have my mat by my big picture window. I LOVE looking outside and to bask in the natural sunlight that streams in. When it is warm I will have the windows open to also feel the breeze.

All of these elements of my space help connect me to nature and that is a big part of the enjoyment of my physical activity time.

What are the colors and textures you want around you? 
I have a collection of terrariums and love having all kinds of plants. I also was drawn to a beehive pattern for this space and the rich yellow color of honey. Patterns and colors of nature can be very relaxing and as biophilic design studies have shown it soothes our affinity for the natural environment.

What will you listen to?
I have nice speakers on my computer at my desk and for me having good sound makes it a better experience. I can crank the music when I want to or feel surrounded by sound for savasana in my yoga practice.

What stuff do you need and where will you put those things?
I have a yoga mat, blankets, yoga blocks, and some free weights. Even though I step all over it all day long (with my bare feet) most of the time I leave my yoga mat right there in the middle of the floor. I find it a good reminder.

Many teachers say how you are when you practice is how you practice life. When I am on my mat I find I am a better version of myself. When my mat is out it reminds me to be that better version of myself in every action of my life.

I do have space in a bookcase for my blocks and eye pillows and a place to stack my blankets and yoga mat when I do need to move it out of the way. Having those spaces close and convenient keeps things simple.

What has your back?
In my last home, I had more space, but no wall for yoga. I love having a wall to lean against for some days in meditation and for a whole variety of poses where a wall supports my relaxation in a pose like legs up the wall and to kicking up in headstands. It may not seem like much but it can make a big difference in the range of things possible for you to explore.

How much privacy do you want?
Since my yoga space is in the public part of my home I have to work with my family members, doing my practice before they get up or when they are out. Recently I provided great entertainment for my daughter as I did a boxing video on a Sunday afternoon.  Not the best case scenario but I can live with that. You’ll have to decide what level of privacy and quiet you’d prefer.

It may take you a little time and rearranging to get your space set up but I think it is a big step toward establishing the habit of a home practice. Once you’ve done that, here is a great article about what to do in your space.

I’d love to see your space. Send me pics at alice@prasadawholebeing.com. As soon as all of my hive is painted I’ll share mine with you.

Alice Dommert

Alice Dommert

Founder, Wholebeing Architect

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