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Bring Your Living Space to Life

Bring Your Living Space to Life

By Basia Hellwig, Yoga+

The most comfortable places in our homes and towns are expressions of the way people live in them, rather than of an architect’s master plan. So observes scholar and architect Christopher Alexander, who has studied and codified these patterns of living, as expressed in rooms, buildings, and towns over the centuries. To give a small example: a group of chairs, a sofa and a chair, a pile of cushions- these are the most obvious things in everybody’s life, he writes in A Pattern Language (Oxford University Press). Yet what makes one arrangement gather life around it while another feels sterile? Here’s what Alexander suggests:

1. A sitting space requires a well-defined, protected area, with paths running past it, not cutting through it, and it should be placed so that people naturally pass by it, stop and talk, lean on the backs of chairs, gradually sit down, then get up again.

2. When people sit down to talk together they like to arrange themselves roughly in a circle. Perhaps that’s because people like to sit at an angle to one another, not side by side. The chairs themselves will only hold this position if the actual architecture- the columns, walls, fireplace, windows- subtly suggest a partly contained, defined area, roughly a circle.

3. Loose, informal arrangements, where sofas, cushions, and chairs are all free to move, work to bring a sitting circle to life. Use different chairs, big ones, small ones, cushions, and a few too many, so that they are never too perfectly arranged, but always in a bit of a jumble. People can adjust the chairs, turning them at slight angles. If there are one or two too many, all the better: this seems to animate the group. People get up and walk around, then sometimes sit back down in a new chair.

Basia Hellwig is a contributing author to Yoga+ Magazine

Read more: Feng Shui & Organizing, Home, Household Hints, Materials & Architecture, , ,

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Yoga International is an award-winning, independent magazine that contemplates the deeper dimensions of spiritual life--exploring the power of yoga practice and philosophy to not only transform our bodies and minds, but inspire meaningful engagement in our society, environment, and the global community.


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2:48AM PDT on Apr 10, 2013


10:46PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

Nice ideas. Thanks.

9:25AM PST on Jan 4, 2012

Thank you

1:09AM PDT on Jul 8, 2010


3:43PM PDT on Jun 2, 2010

four things to remember I think... location, location, location and angles :)

11:59AM PDT on Apr 25, 2010

great article, thanks :D

2:11PM PST on Mar 3, 2010

Great article!

11:45AM PST on Feb 27, 2010

The best way to bring any space to life is to declutter it. :-)

10:24AM PST on Feb 27, 2010

Good to know.

1:10PM PST on Feb 22, 2010

more good advice

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Any game that holds your attention would work.

Aim high - instead of twenty minutes three days a week, go for an hour six days a week.

Only three minutes? Nope, Tetris is way too addictive for just three minutes.

Loads of good wishes for Bruce and his family.

My Husband and I have been having problems for the last six months. I found him cheating on me with …


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