In our yoga practice, we work towards creating a place of calmness and serenity within ourselves.
Often we consider this place existing in solidarity from what exists around us. Seeing it in only contrast to the hustle of daily life, work, stress etc. and overlook the control that we really do have over our external environments. Our personal spaces bridge the gap from our outer world to our inner world.
As an Interior Designer, I deeply value the ability to create spaces that support wellbeing. These spaces do not need to cost lots of money or look any certain way that isn't right for an individual.
By following these simple steps, you can start to understand more deeply the power and importance of thoughtfully created spaces, and how you might be able to implement these principles into your daily environments.
Assigning areas or zones that are defined by their purpose is a great first step in understanding how those spaces are supposed to makes us feel. For example, our work space will ideally feel motivating and enlivening, whereas our resting space might feel more restorative and calming.
In the recent year, when many of us were forced to work from home and blur the lines between public and private spaces, this concept is ever-more prevalent to identify within our space. Make a list of the activities you participate in during a regular day, and notice if the places where you do these things is specific and conducive to that task.
Saucha, meaning cleanliness, is one of the yogic Niyamas (moral observances). It is stated that removing clutter in our physical environments actually has a very decluttering effect within our minds. Even if you are not a tidy person, have a look around and notice how much stuff is in your space that you hardly or never even use. Do those items hold more value than the clarity that might prevail in their absence?
This is not a call to throw away all your worldly objects and live on a shoestring, but simply select the items that surround you with care and consideration that less is sometimes more. Allow the personal items that you really admire to be undistracted by items of lesser importance.
There are going to be some spaces that are more special than others, and these will be different for everyone! My special places are where I am most creative - my yoga mat and my office space. For some that might be the kitchen, and for others the garden!
A special bond with this place can be defined by hanging sentimental photographs and decorations, or creating an altar of sorts with anything that is special to you. A really nice idea for any space of dreaming or aspiration is to display a Vision Board so that you can always keep your goals nearby. Keep things around you that remind you of your happiest and best self.
Evoke all senses
A great way to create a healthy space is to use all of your senses to evaluate how you feel when you are in that environment. Factors will include natural light, air quality, cleanliness, and noise pollution. There aren't always 100% solutions to all of these conditions, but a few cheap and cheerful tips you might enact could be indoor plants, warm light lamps, a mirror to reflect more light, and burning candles or incense.
Biophilia is the theory that the human condition is innately programmed to seek connection to nature. This can come in the form of plants, patterns, textures and sounds. In our modern worlds, some of that day to day experience of nature is lost in concrete jungles and synthetic surfaces. So injecting a bit of nature into our personal spaces is a really great way to satisfy those cravings. The obvious solution is indoor plants (all of the plants!) because they look pretty, but they also clean the oxygen and bring a sense of vitality to a space. Beyond that, hanging art or photography with nature themes, using natural, organic products such as wool, timber and jute, maybe even a vase of fresh flowers, or perhaps using patterns such as natural geometry or waves. This design strategy is linked to sustainable and passive architecture, as it is the action of re-connecting people with the natural environment.
None of these ideas are costly or time consuming, and they can be integrated gradually to create overall lasting improvements. Quality interior spaces are not reserved for the wealthy! Our daily environments are constantly affecting us whether we think realise it or not, so we must do all that we can to cultivate positivity from those spaces. I like to look at wellness as a very holistic equation that our physical space has as much a role in as what we eat and how we speak to ourselves. If this article particularly interests you or you have more questions on the subject, I would love to hear from you! Please contact me in the comments or via email and let's chat - I am always excited to talk about wellness, design and nature!