Find Your Creative Space

In Features, Magazine by RI Magazine

Minding your surroundings can be just as important as minding your thoughts.

BY HEATHER QUINLAN

I just completed redecorating my yoga studio. New flooring, area rugs, lighting, paint, the works. It’s gorgeous and doesn’t look anything like it did before. Since buying the studio eight months ago I had had redecorating on my to-do list, but held off. Not just because of the expense, but because I couldn’t really sell myself on the benefit. Business was fine. No one complained about how things looked. I reasoned that people came for the yoga, not for the décor. Additionally, the concept or redecorating spoke to an immature need to “put my stamp” on the place to satisfy my ego.

I wasn’t wrong, but I overlooked an important factor: by leaving the studio as-is from the previous owner, I wasn’t really taking ownership of my surroundings. Mentally, I was still tending to someone else’s creation. It wasn’t my ego that needed satisfying: it was my creativity. I wasn’t expressing myself and it held me back in a number of unforeseen ways—as an instructor, as a business owner, as a member of the community.

I have been practicing Bikram Yoga for over 16 years. I have been teaching it for almost 6 years, and now, as a studio owner, I often think of what brought me back to the yoga so regularly for so many years. Or what even brings me back to any business as a loyal customer? The answer is the experience. There was something about living my regular life, working all day, and then walking into the yoga studio, standing on my mat, and shutting the rest of the world out for 90 minutes. I wanted to create that for my students from the moment they walked in the door. It wasn’t enough that I have an awesome heating system or a big yoga room. I have been around fitness and yoga long enough to know the details matter. More importantly, I know life can deal you a fair share of struggles and I wanted a space where that can easily melt away.

I’m a big believer in the Law of Attraction. I had to align what I knew instinctively was right for the studio vibe with what you actually saw when you walked in. I have a totally new sense of creativity that opened up because I was able to match the great feeling yoga gives you with the space. Also, I know students identify with their yoga studios as “theirs.” It’s a place where community is built and developed, a place where people can catch up and say hello and check in with one and another. I wanted to make sure that I had a space that fostered that.

I tell my students that part of relaxing includes having no stress or tension in your body. Both act as obstacles for the yoga to do what it really needs to in your body. I also talk about getting the “mental vacation” every time you walk in the room to totally disconnect from the outside world because in that quiet space you find clarity.

It’s the same with your home or your work space and even more obvious because you see disorganization or clutter. If your desires, hopes and ideas are that of prosperity, happiness and openness to all good things, you need to create the space to reflects and allows for that. Reorganize your closet, get outside and clean up the garden or open up the junk drawer and get rid of anything you are not using. Just as stress and tension in your body act as a block, so does excess stuff. Free up your creative pathways so you can live the happy life you deserve.

Heather Quinlan is a certified Bikram Yoga instructor and the owner of Bikram Yoga Burlington, in Massachusetts. Follow her on Instagram.

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