Balance, Simplicity, Adaptableness and Discipline – four aspects that are fundamental to yoga and also very important for designing interiors of a space. If managed well and in harmony, they help create great quality interior design that helps make your space beautiful and serene with positivity flowing all around. Alexandra Conti tells you how…
Interior design and yoga have been part of my life since living abroad. Moving from houses to apartments, from China to the Middle East, my interior design instinct became more evident and the practice of yoga a reprieve, when living such a busy and hectic life. I quickly realized that my interest, through my regular practice, in well-being, mindfulness and meditation had an impact on the way I was designing our homes. Especially when living abroad, you feel the need of creating a home away from home where you can unwind and feel totally relaxed after a long and busy day.
On average, we spend 93% of our lives indoor. There’s an obvious link between health and the design of our homes, which should answer to a user’s search of calm, tranquility and balance within his/her environment. Like in today’s workplace, people want to feel good in their home too, which is now seen as an oasis, a sanctuary, an environment which can boost their mood.
“We all do better when our homes are better”
– Nate Berkus
A regular practice of yoga has been proven to improve multiple areas of your life at once, from increasing well-being to contributing to greater happiness. The question is then, what can yoga bring to the interior design process?
1. FLOW / SPACE PLANNING
One of the most popular contemporary style of yoga is called Vinyasa. It is also called flow because of the smooth way that the poses run together. “People in a state of flow describe experiencing feelings of serenity, total focus on the present moment, timelessness, focus, personal control, lack of awareness of physical needs, and the absence of worries and concerns”, says Cath Witten on Doyouyoga.com.
Enhancing our time in flow makes our lives happier and more successful, leading to a positive disposition and improved performance. Therefore, the importance of finding flow in your yoga practice can totally be related to what is called space planning in interior design.
Space planning is a fundamental element of the ID process. It is about analyzing how the space is planned to be used. It defines the circulation patterns, how people will move through the space. When designing a space, whether it’s a kitchen, a living or a bedroom, you have to pay attention to a good circulation, to provide the occupants with a well thought out furniture layout.
The layout of a home or room has a strong bearing on how your family and guests interact and move throughout the space. Space planning allows all the elements of a space to work in harmony.
In yoga practice, when we balance, we place ourselves in physical equilibrium with the nature and its force. Balance is the alignment of the earth’s gravity field and our body’s center of gravity. But remaining absolutely still is not an easy task and the harmony can’t be achieved without refreshing our balance moment after moment.
When it comes to interior design, the same principle applies – balance is something that appears as a basic principle always respected. Balance is vital in everything in life, so it is no surprise that the importance of achieving it appears highly connected to interior design.
When designing a room, defining the right balance between furniture, accessories, wall decor can be achieved by distributing visual object weight in a way that creates equilibrium. It will immediately impact a space and make it comfortable and relaxing to the eye.
3. SIMPLICITY/LESS IS MORE
The yoga practice is much more than only the asanas which are just one part of it. Ancient texts such as the Yoga sutra from Patanjali focused very little on physical yoga postures. Instead they are more like a guide on how to live, in order to advance along a spiritual path towards enlightenment.
The Yamas and Niyamas originating from those texts are crucial principles to one’s progress along the yogic path. One of the yamas is aparigraha, often translated as non-attachment’, ‘non-greed’ and ‘non-possessiveness’. This important yama teaches us to take only what we need, keep only what serves us in the moment, and to let go when the time is right. Yoga is therefore the essence of simplicity.
In interior design the concept of “less is more” is all about creating simple and impactful interiors. Simplicity is the key to achieving this. Paring things down to the basics and ditching the superfluous will achieve a super sophisticated and sleek look. This simple approach to interior design is focused on the essentials of sobriety and clean lines.
An area should be filled in a very discreet way by saving space and highlight single functions such as relax, eat, work. etc.
A room that is spacious and offers a serene atmosphere is always calming to the mind.
Historically, Yoga has developed a close relationship with the earth and a profound reverence for animals, plants, soil, water and air. This reverence towards life is the basis of the Yogic teaching of ahimsa, the first Yamas, also known as non-violence, non-injury and non-harming. We often witness the evolution of people beginning by themselves, who start to practice yoga more often making other healthy decisions in their lives, whether it’s paying more attention to the food they eat or changing their lifestyle to accommodate healthier activities. This mindful relationship towards life is an important part of yoga and meditation, helping us relate to ourselves, others and our environment with compassion, making the right choices.
Therefore, how can we bring sustainability and mindfulness in the Interior design process?
The question is “what makes you feel good in your home”? Choosing the right objects, with long term benefits is one of the answers. Designing with objects that have been consciously designed brings serenity to your home. So, when possible, work with sustainable brands.
Creating a sense of well-being and greater happiness in homes can definitely be achieved through meaningful choices.
AYI TIPS TO CREATE A ZEN HOME
1 – Choose soothing colors, textures. Also use pops of bold colors such as dark blue or even black as it encourages meditation.
2 – Collect and display objects from your travels (art, pictures etc.)
3 – Use every opportunity to welcome natural light in your home.
4 – Greenery: bring the outdoor in.
5 – Declutter, declutter… don’t forget less is more!
Alexandra Conti is a 200h certified yoga teacher and an interior designer.
After more than 10 years in the fashion industry as an area visual merchandiser in France and Germany, she followed her husband to Shanghai. Already a yoga practitioner, this move to Asia provided her the opportunity to be trained by amazing yogis, thus becoming a certified yoga instructor.
When Dubai became her new home, she decided to consolidate her natural eye and embark on a new learning journey with an interior design diploma.
Quickly realizing her interest in well-being and mindfulness had an impact on the way she was designing and styling homes, she created AYI, an atelier where Yoga and interior design work in harmony.
With AYI, she also encourages a sense of wellbeing from a young age through a yoga line developed and designed for the little yogis.
www.ayi-designer.com | Instagram: Ayidesigner
Interior Images Credit: Alexandra Conti | Other Credits: Sivananda Yoga
Vedanta center | Yoga Journal | Yogaforhumanity.com | mydomaine.com | interiorstylehunter.com | ekhartyoga.com