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By Tiffany Edison

Many people find that physical and mental fitness are equally important. Whether that be a commitment to work/life balance, mindfulness, meditation, running marathons, or healthy eating — it has become a focus in our lives these days. Ultimately, this is a commitment to self-care, and it can take many forms. So, let us focus here on how we can dedicate space in our homes to assist us in creating optimal wellness.

I am happy to share that in the past decade, there has been a marked increase in homeowners identifying the need for a physical space in their homes designated to fitness. I have witnessed this trend with many of my clients, and see no sign of this request slowing down in the near future. It may be fair to say that the days of a bench press stationed in the garage with a smattering of free weights haphazardly tossed around are out. The boom box and wrist bands are no longer needed, and have swiftly been replaced with “smart” technology, awaiting your voice command for Van Halen’s “Right Now” to play faster than you can get through your first set! It’s a whole new world in the realm of home fitness, with personal yoga studios topping the list.  

Avid yogis may argue that all that’s necessary for a dedicated practice space is a mat and a clear mind. I completely understand. I have practiced yoga myself for nearly eight years, and couldn’t agree more. However, in the mindset of non-judgement, I’d like to entertain the notion that some prefer a private, state-of-the-art studio space, designed to their liking. Regardless of the approach one takes to practice, the profound impact that yoga has on the body and mind is indisputable. A home studio is quite simply the physical expression of one’s commitment and desire to the practice. It can be as simple or as elaborate as wished. Of course, there are many things to consider…

Size

At a minimum, a studio space should be at least 9 feet by 9 feet (180 square feet). This square footage allows for the ample space required to hold equipment without confining the practice. It is best to have a stable wall nearby that is free from décor and/or any equipment that might get in the way while practicing inversions.  

Flooring

A flat surface is required for the practice of yoga, as balance often comes into play. It is best to choose flooring products that are natural and non-synthetic, such as reclaimed hardwood or bamboo. During floor installation, it is also extremely important to use a water-based sealant rather than an oil-based polyurethane, to minimize unnecessary exposure to toxins. Carpeted floors are less ideal, as they often trap moisture and odors, making them more difficult to clean than a hard surface.

Location

I would argue that the very best place to locate your personal fitness sanctuary is wherever you will most likely use it. If that is near your bedroom, so be it. That being said, an additional factor of paramount importance is what time of day you are most likely to practice. If you prefer to practice as the sun comes up, than you will most likely choose a location on the east side of your home. Those preferring a dark space may want to consider a space located in the lower part of the home, absent from windows. In an effort towards sustainability, it is also wise to simply take a look around your home to see if a space already exists, just waiting for transformation.

Lighting

Ambient lighting is also a consideration when designing a home studio. Whether you prefer candlelight, darkness, natural light, or the soft glow of sconces placed around the room, lighting can have a positive or negative impact on the practice of yoga. Installing a dimmer in the room is key, as it allows you to change the light depending upon the time of day you practice.

Scent/Circulation

Adding the scent of your choice to your experience is as personal as the preference for lighting. Aromatherapy is a key component to self-soothing, as scent has the power to trigger memories and impact the mind. Scent can invigorate or calm the senses, adding additional benefits to a home practice. A personal favorite gadget of mine is the Vitruvi Stone Diffuser. This small gadget packs a powerful punch, and can imbue up to 500 square feet with the essential oil scent of your choice.

Temperature

Perhaps the best feature of a home yoga studio is having the ability to decide what temperature is best for your practice. Some believe that a higher temperature (above 85 ̊F) allows for greater muscle relaxation, while others prefer a cooler setting to reduce sweating during the practice. 

In the privacy of your home, you can go ahead and kick it up a notch. Enjoy hot yoga? Grab your bathing suit and don’t give a hoot who’s behind you!

Hydration

Besides a great mat, I believe the best piece of equipment in a yoga studio is a hydration system. It doesn’t matter whether you bring your water bottle down from the kitchen, have a water cooler placed neatly in the corner, or get the plumbing for a full-scale hydration station (check out Elkay’s ezH20 Liv). The key is replenishing water. It is the healthiest thing we can do for our bodies.  

Storage

Any good practice requires a mat, a towel (with little nubs not to slip of course!), bands, blocks, and appropriate attire. Where does one put all of these extra pieces without physically (and energetically) cluttering the practice space? I know the answer: California Closets. The king of closet organization also just happens to have a line designed for laundry room organization that can be easily modified for your home studio needs. Check out the Meadowwood or Newport models online (californiaclosets.com), and you will see that pull-out hampers, adjustable shelving, and cabinetry designed to conceal storage for linens and cleaning products will fit the bill. 

Décor

It wouldn’t be an interior design article if I failed to mention décor. However, this is your sanctuary — not mine! Go ahead and customize it as you wish. Make your heart sing! Just remember to use little to no VOC (volatile organic compound) paint. And while you’re at it, why not paint an accent wall in your favorite color to gaze at to practice your drishti?

BIO: 

Tiffany Edison has been an interior designer since 2002 and specializes in both
residential and commercial projects.  She holds a Master of Social Work degree
(ACSW) and utilizes interpersonal relationship skills on a daily basis with her client
base, largely comprised of Ann Arbor, and Metro Detroit residents.  She has a
wonderfully large blended family residing in the city and enjoys the comforts of home.
When she’s not fully immersed in client projects, you can find her active on the golf
course, a favorite pastime.

www.birchdesignassociates.com