A room with a view

by Alice Dommert
August 7, 2017
Biophilic Design, Nature, Yoga

I have a beautiful corner bedroom on a second floor in the place I live now. At that corner, right outside is a huge tree. I can’t see the trunk of the tree, but the branches wrap around and fill the view of each of the two windows. One window opens to the rising sun, and through the other, I can see the moon.

I’ve never lived in a place with such big windows. It’s like a tree house, minus the creepy crawlers. With this view, and this tree so close to me I see the sun rise and moon shine. I see robins fly and squirrels leap. I see leaves bud and fall in glorious colors. I have a wall of green fade to beautiful stark branches as the seasons and cycles shift and dance right before my eyes.

I am connected and linked to nature in a way I have not experienced before in the other places I have lived. This physical environment has created a sense of calm, of home, for me.

I am not imagining this link, this sense of calm, this deep connection. An emerging field of planning and design called biophilic design now has the evidence as to why spaces like my bedroom feel so good. My dear friend and collaborator, Liz Calabrese, is an architect, educator and speaker around the world on biophilic design. She and I continue to converse about how the built environment can link us to, or separate us from, nature.

This link to nature is beyond a nice view. When we link to nature we also see the physical forms, colors, textures and get grounded in our own physical form on a subconscious level. Nature is in constant movement at the micro and macro levels. Our bodies are another fractal of this constant movement, flow and cycles.

So how does this relate to yoga? When I first began practicing yoga it was described as meaning “to yoke.” I recently realized this skewed my understanding. A yoke makes me think of an ox with a very heavy wooden collar being restrained, against its will, for service. It sounded heavy. It was my immature imagination that hooked this image and for a long time it seemed like yoga was going to yoke, or restrict me, take me into something against my will.

“I should practice more often. I should be better at this.” Then that rebellious girl would respond. “Hmmm, you think you are going to force me to do something, restrict me, yoke me. No way.” No getting on the mat after that internal conversation for sure.

What was that all about? As I dug deeper into my rebellion and realized something important. Sometimes I force my body to practice in a way that pushes too much. I know that yoga is not a workout but I make it one sometimes. I resist when it feels like the practice is not in alignment with what my heart and soul needs.

I also got curious as to what I was missing when I do not get on my mat every day. I still had the view of my beautiful tree, but I wasn’t noticing it quite as much. I’d lost the link, to the tree, and my view, and myself. I felt disconnected and separate.

When I have a consistent morning yoga practice something magical happens. I link and connect back to me, to my own flow, of breath, mind, body and the bigger cycles and seasons outside my window.

This month of August I am fully committed to coming back to my mat, EVERY morning. This time it is with love, honor and respect for my body and my mind, and ALL of its seasons and cycles. I’m waking up and deciding in that moment what kind of practice will feel right in that very moment.

My intention is to be on my mat, open to being linked and connected to the flow of my body and mind in the beautiful shadows of my tree. I’m letting the rest unfold with ease. So far it’s day 7 and it feels so good.

Will you join me for this 30-day practice? Check in on Facebook for updates.

Alice Dommert

Alice Dommert

Founder, Wholebeing Architect

View my other posts

Photo Credit:

Owen CL


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