Curating Yoga Spaces

Upon first examination of yoga culture in the west it may be hard to come to an understanding about what constitutes a yoga studio.The culture is shrouded in hype, mystery and immense variation. The spaces themselves are ones in which ancient meets modern, spiritual meets workout and people return day after day.

How is it that hoards of people come to flock to and from these studios touting their magic? There must be something that goes into the curation of these spaces to produce such ubiquitous results.

Let’s take a look at the magic…

First of all, what is it “to curate” something? To curate something is different than to create something. Creation is a birthing process, wherein something has a beginning and usually an end. While curation lasts much longer; it is a tending, a caring; a love.

The word curator comes from the latin word curare “or to cure”. A curator in this case is thereby a great healer; it his or her ability to care for something so deeply that it may be cured. To curate something means to develop relationship with it and through this relationship experience wholeness.

As we curate appropriate yoga spaces we then lend opportunity for the same process to occur within the individuals who engage with this environment. Relationships develop, stories are told, retold, processed and held. As a result, people mend; healing happens.

Just like the old figure who becomes part of the backdrop at the museum so does the yogi who cares for her studio space. Both become a part of the fabric of experience, and we understand the individuals by nature of their environment and relationship to it.

This caring and tending of the space creates a resonance in both the carer and the cared for: symbiosis. A working together of organisms for the benefit of both, and the benefit of all. This union happens to be true to some of the central philosophy surrounding yoga. As we come to know, the practice of yoga is so much more than just postures and breathing. It is also deeply linked to non-dual philosophy in which we are all greatly connected, unseparated.

Inseparable from this equation is also the general practitioner, the yogi who now enters the studio space and curates something for themselves upon a small rectangular matt. A microcosm of the macrocosm; this little mat reflects a space wherein the practitioner may develop a deep relationship with themselves and by extension all that surrounds them.

There may only be one small hour these yogis have curated from their days. But this love and care for themselves is supported by the culture of a studio that encourages each person to show up and practice.

The practice itself is simple: move, breath, notice - repeat. This simplicity however awakens the heartbeat, pumping a vitality into the life of the practitioner so that they may now engage in their lives more fully. The health of their bodies, minds and souls now permeates the space around them. This is the healing process of transformation that we see again and again via regular yoga practice. This is why we come back.

It all began of course with a space, which needed to be tended, loved. As do our souls and our bodies, so does a space take time to develop. The recipe includes three main ingredients: love, time and practice. We know them all, we have them all - the rest is in the doing.  

With the mystery revealed, we are ready to enter our new space. As we do so, let us be attentive to the curation process. Let us look at the details and take our time. Let us not rush to the finish but rather savour in the process. Let us grow slowly and walk through transformation and curate for ourselves the relationship of oneness with the space and each other.

Grace Davies