Thursday, December 17, 2009

The gift of relaxation ...

A calm and collected Buddha sits peacefully
at the front of the Yoga East studio.

Raise your hand (and take a series of deep, cleansing breaths) if you are in need of a little de-stressing at this point in the holiday craziness. With Christmas just one week away (and I should know since my youngest has been asking me “How many days ’till Christmas?
since about December 1st!) I am starting to feel a little twinge of “I should be closer to being done with my holiday *...* ”

(Insert one of the following: shopping, baking, decorating, organizing of the house in order to find room for new toys, ... )

Inspiring artwork adorns the walls of the Yoga East
studio like this twist portrait by Mary Taggart

Fortunately, I have a close friend, Mary Taggart, who is a yoga instuctor at Yoga East in Reading, MA (and also an art instructor at her own studio in Wakefield.) I visited her in the yoga studio yesterday morning and enjoyed an hour of restorative yoga to stretch the tension out of my body and
get my mind back in the moment. Although I have to admit, it was a challenge for me to stay focused when the whole time I was doing vinyasas I was thinking about how great the interior of the yoga studio would be as a design post! Starting with the ceiling ...

While on the floor in bridge pose, I noticed how attractive a painted drop ceiling can be. Why keep it white? This one is a warm taupe with a mind-focusing medallion in the center. The black track lighting looked like designer trim from my vantage point.

I thought this statue was particularly beautiful
dressed in the reds and greens of the season.

Thought provoking art and sculpture was everywhere...
a great starting point
for the journey into meditation.

A collection of paper cranes hang
from a piece of wood suspended
from the ceiling.
I love how
the bright colors contrast with
the earthy brown of the walls.

This delicate mobile looks like a gentle reminder
to stop and take a moment to get centered.

For those of you who are local, the Yoga East store has a lot of great statues, books, cards, yoga props, beautiful gems, inspired pendants, and so much more. Class gift certificates are also available ... just in time for those New Year’s resolutions!

A piece (or two or three) of yoga inspired jewelry would also make a great gift ... even as a reminder to yourself to “keep calm and carry on.” If you aren’t close enough to make the journey to Reading, there is a lot of great yoga-inspired jewelry to be found on the web. Let me know if you have any favorite links of your own. I am in awe of this piece. Om-MG!

It was difficult for me to walk away without purchasing a tasselled set of meditation beads (I am trying to behave and only buy for others). However, I will most likely pick one out after my next class (a good reason to get back to the studio!)
Although I could have used one yesterday when I came home from my travels and discovered my internet was down!

Repeat after me ...
Everything is as it should be.

I must confess, I did not react well to being disconnected, as my co-dependency on the computer has become somewhat of an issue around here. Besides using the computer for actual graphic and interior design projects, I truly look forward to sitting down to write/blog about the stories behind good design, and to check out posts by people who have similar interests. It has become my own form of meditative relaxation, emptying my mind of all the visual references that I accumulate in the course of a day (and maybe a little bit of an escape, too ; )

As a wise teacher of mine used to always say,
“Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle.

After having a virtual tantrum, I locked myself in the laundry room (for a self-imposed time out of sorts) and organized shelf after shelf of the boys jeans/sweatpants/t-shirts, etc. This morning I felt so much better ... my internet was restored, and it was relatively easy for the entire family to find clean clothes (including socks that matched) as we all prepared to start a new day. And I vowed that I would try not to have any meltdowns today (just to be sure, I poured myself a cup of tea instead of having that 3rd cup of makes-me-jittery-coffee).

Another great gift idea: Have a photo of yourself in a favorite yoga pose turned into a fine art portrait. E-mail Mary at for more information.

I guess that’s why I appreciate the philosophy behind yoga.
It’s all about accepting yourself and your body in the given moment. Not looking at the past or worrying about the future. Not to mention, a downward-facing dog can do wonders to relieve the stress of a bad day!

An inspiration board at TaggArt Studio in Wakefield

For another great way to unwind, visit Mary online at for a schedule of her upcoming adult art classes for 2010 (children, too). I am helping her out with the design of her new website, and expect to have it updated soon. For information on attending her yoga classes, visit the Yoga East website.

And for a little self-guided meditation, take home this Buddha-in-a-Box by Marianne Snow. It will be available (along with other inspired art and collage pieces) this Friday through Sunday at the final pre-holiday weekend at the Beth Hylan Design Studio.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to those who have made it to Reading to visit my corner in the design studio (and to those who have been there in spirit). It has been a creative journey of my own, helping Beth out with her new venture.


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  1. Great pictures and post, I definitely need to focus on breathing and other ways of de-stressing when I'm at work. Sometimes it gets hectic.

  2. Congrats for winning at The Skirted Roundtable, I wonder what you'll get!

  3. I am new to your blog but not new to yoga and all the wonderful benefits. I love all the focus it can bring to one's life!


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