Check your surroundings

Something I’ve been acutely tuned in to as a yoga instructor, for better or worse, is the tremendous power the energy in a room can have.

Tonight I was subbing a class at one of my home studios - it was an 8pm yin class (the best kind), and the class before it ended at 7:45. The previous class was a Vinyasa Flow class, lead by a teacher who’s known to deliver a pretty challenging, energetic, hot & steamy practice. As the class got out everyone was buzzing, the room was, in fact, hot & steamy, and the music playing was poppy and upbeat.

I made my way into the room and immediately turned on the fans and cracked a window to clear it out. I turned down the lights, lit some incense, and changed the music to something mellow and instrumental. I set up my props at the front of the room, and started plopping little electric tea lights around the perimeter. Meanwhile the room transitioned from loud and buzzy yogis to those there for yin, a cooler and quieter practice.

The change in energy was palpable. You could feel the clearing and calming as the physical setting changed - the temperature, the lighting, the music, the scent. What I could tell felt a little chaotic to the first yin students to enter, felt calm and relaxing just moments later.

Something you might not know about me is that I’m pretty obsessed with interior design and creating beautiful spaces- and I’m good at it, too. It’s why I’m super picky about the places I’ll host retreats in, and my BF says it’s my missed calling; although I don’t think it’s missed, I think I just haven’t fully gotten to it yet (working on it!). Point is, I’ve always been pretty tuned in to the way a space can make you feel, and I put a lot of weight on the importance of your surroundings being aligned with the energy of whatever you’re doing there.

It’s been proven that nice surroundings make us happier, more creative, and more productive, so I was bummed when a good friend told me he’d spent some time working out of his car, as a way to get out of his house and coffee shop. He said it didn’t bother him, and for him I almost believe that, but there’s no way that working in a tight space, parked on the side of the road with the AC running (I won’t even get into the environmental side of this), makes you feel confident and professional and worthy and belonging. No way.

It always baffles me a bit when people don’t think this is important. Like, if your home is a mess, your life will feel more stressful. Period. If your space is cluttered, or dark, or stinky, or just straight up empty, it will effect the mood and whatever it is you need to do in that space. If you have things around that remind you of disappointments, or hurtful times, you will - consciously or subconsciously - feel that little ping of pain every time you see it.

With the new moon in Leo happening NOW, it’s a great time for clearing some shit out, for creating your beautiful space, for setting up for this next chapter!

When I lived in CO I had a lovely condo, all to myself. I lived there fore 4 years and absolutely loved decorating and redecorating it (see aforementioned reference to obsession with design). BUT, I am also very good at organizing, and storing things in a neat way, as to accumulate a ton of stuff without feeling like I have a ton of stuff. It was like I was collecting little weights of anxiety, and tucking them all away, to slowly take up more and more space without me really realizing it, until it was FULL, and I was fully anxious.

We do the same thing with our calendars, and our to-do’s, and our list of things to worry about.

We need far less stuff than we think we do. And even if you’re not into design and you think “it doesn’t effect you,” I think we all, to some degree, know that we feel better when our space reflects a calm and simplified lifestyle. Like, there’s a reason I had to put my laundry away before I could sit down to write this post (I also “had to” watch the finale of Bach, but that may be less relevant).

It’s time to get rid of the clutter or the space that feels totally blah in your home. It’s time to find a co-working space, or a beautiful coffee shop, or build a home office. It’s time to set up your bedroom as a sanctuary for rest and for YOU, and ready your kitchen for simple, healthy cooking and easy snacks. Know that your bathroom CAN feel like a mini-spa, and make it. You do deserve to be in a beautiful space, even if you’re barely home, or on a budget, or not as into design as I am - and don’t even give me the “my space is too small” excuse because I live in NYC and don’t want to hear it.

Notice the energy in your space - in ALL the spaces you spend your time in. How can you shift it? How can you lighten it? How can you make it more conducive to the task at hand?

Let your space be representative of YOU and how you want to feel in it.