I like to think about how different environments shape our notions of self. For example, a solitary confinement cell and a mathematician’s office may look eerily similar but one denotes dignity, intelligence and creativity and the other denies these same qualities. Meanings attached to space reinforce concepts of authority, autonomy, legitimacy and social status. Years ago, I read a fascinating book that explored the meaning of the art people choose to put on their walls (Inside Culture by David Halle). You may believe your art is merely representative of your taste but a careful look will reveal far more about your character and your socio-economic background than you can begin to imagine.
I think the same is true for gyms and yoga studios. There is a feeling that permeates the space. A Powerhouse gym gives off a very different flavor than a Bikram Yoga studio. One is not better than the other. It is just different strokes for different folks.
I like to visit different studios when I travel. There is something so refreshing about the anonymity of a new space, a new group and a new teacher. It is always in the contrast that I see more clearly the powerful impact that space has on my practice. The “home” studio is awash in fancy lulu lemon clad, beautiful people. It is a nationally recognize studio known for their intensity. I will admit the space influences my practice in real and tangible ways.
I think my TM is less influenced by space and yet it would be less than honest not to admit how awesome it is to meditate with my students at CCS or in Fairfield, Iowa home to Maharishi University of Management.
Molly Beauregard | Educational Consultant