The Yoga of Mid Century Modern Living


Welcome to a new year!  I have always been interested in seeing peoples’ homes, how they live, what they fill it with, as well as the design of the home itself.  From a modest to quite expansive exterior, sometimes the interiors can surprise and delight.  There is also some shock and horror too, but we’ll take the high road here.  Let’s just say that your home choice, it’s style, its upkeep, and what you surround it with (exterior landscaping and tchotchkes) to what you fill it with inside, not only says a lot about who you are and where you want to go and be but can also be self-limiting or self-expanding.

With a new year, many people are focused on new beginnings and 2017 is a perfect time for this.  Large or small, each of us, every day, has the opportunity to wind our way toward enlightenment, toward becoming more accepting of ourselves and others, more expansive, more magnanimous as well as more fun to be around.

Many delights come first from a place of need; I need to work out, get into better shape and eliminate some stress or I need a place to live that accommodates my needs well.

Yoga is a daily practice that is one of the few practices which involves the mind, the spirit, the breath and body.  All are one, all are made better by doing yoga.  Coming from the East, it helps us remain in the present, learn breathwork, learn to stay in the moment, while accepting what is as well as what can be. Many MCMs have alot of Asian influence in their design from the roof treatments to the pagodas and zen style window walls.

I have been in my Middy now for almost 2 years after a nearly 3 year (painful) search to find the terrazzo floors, the window walls, the fireplace, and the funk that I was (passionately) seeking.   I found it interesting that there were a lot of eastern ways wrapped into Mid-Century Modern design, which is really a mash-up of many styles, including Craftsman, Edwardian, Mission, Asian, with the point of the mix to be simpler in design, in care, with ease of entertainment, centered around a garden, to bring the present, what is going on with nature, inside.  These homes typically center around living area expanses where everyone can mingle with quality workmanship designed for ease of clean up and maintenance.

I have always lived in an artfully designed home.  I am very thankful for that because I realise now that not everybody has that in their life.  Whether it’s a trailer, yurt, cabin or house, quality and style matter (as well as quality of furnishings, comfort and clutter) because these are going to be what you see, and are therefore affected by,  every day.

Some folks are bent upon collecting as much MCM period stuff as they can.  While collecting is fun, think about the yoga of it.   What do you currently have in your life right now that no longer serves you, that perhaps is just a dust collector?  What do you have in your life that each time you sit on it, you are not comfortable?  Yoga teaches us that we are empowered to re-shape ourselves, inside and out.  Our middy homes, with their expansive window walls of sun and sky, encourage us to re-shape, re-tune our mindset too.  Our entertainment areas, teach us that every day is a gift to be embraced, enjoyed, savoured, with others.

For the new year, I have a few recommendations for watching and reading. Just click on the coloured ink for the link that takes you to Amazon for a closer look or to purchase.  The first is Baron Baptiste 40 Days to Personal Revolution.  There are books I read and pass on and those I keep.  After 15 years of yoga practice, this is one I keep and find always relevant.  Not only are their poses with detailed explanations but I love the spiritual study all the way through.

Barbara Benagh Yoga For Beginners & Beyond, is a 3 DVD set, amazing value for $22.29.  I am a big fan of going to a formal class, at least once a week.  This is critical for beginners if there are any local classes offered in your area because it will help to have an instructor there to both guide you, teach you and put hands on you to adjust you as needed, while helping you learn how to self-adjust.  It is important to stack the bones properly.  This 3 CD set is terrific for folks who need to gain mobility due to inflexibility, injury, need to de-stress as well as folks who want to expand their ongoing practice and dive deeper safely.  And my very last recommendation is the movie Minimalism,  by two guys; Ryan Nicodemus & Joshua Fields Millburn (The Minimalists) who make create a blog (

Our Mid-Century Modern homes are made to be elegant, simple and comfortable, to create ease of movement while allowing us to take in our landscapes, our natural surroundings.  Yoga is made to make you move with ease, with elegance, with comfort, while helping you embrace the landscape of the moment.  The yoga of living Mid Century style!   I stumbled upon the above Minimalism, movie (which is also on Netflix, or you can follow the above link and rent the movie too) and was immediately drawn to it.  My brother Carl led a very austere life and did not want for things.  My mother had a hole of need never filled up in this life with all that she purchased.  My father taught me the honour of money and my other brother lived with his family in a smaller home filled with love, music, great food and a firm rule that anything not used within 6 months was out that door to minimise ‘stuff’.   My brothers were 12 years older than me. I was a kid, but I remember going to John’s house in Seattle, with his classy new bride Judy and admiring the simplicity, the elegance of his home in Laurel Heights, walking distance from the University.  All this diversity is great to look back on as a guide.  Both my husband and I tend to ‘collect’.  I am still working on decluttering. Our MCM home is designed to be simple, to allow the architecture to be seen and naturally lends itself to a minimal amount of ‘stuff’.  Recently, I gave away a 2 sofa and chair leather set, 2 bedroom suites of furniture, amongst other things to downsize into our Middy.  The space clearing continues as I arrange and sort our gorgeous new pad.  Ok, speaking of space clearing, I have one other book recommendation for you.  Denise Linn Sacred Space is another ‘go to’ book that I adore and actually have 2 copies of, never wanting to be without it (as I have loaned one out on a few occasions).  I will warn you it is a tad woo woo, embracing Indian, Asian and mystic ways of clearing your space, to include numerology, Feng Shui, bells, incense, sage, prayers and chants; believing not much is not covered here.  I used this book when selecting places to rent and both of our house purchases, as well as in shaping the landscapes, the decor and colours and so I hope that you find the book as useful and engaging as I do.

Finally, know that we are all connected and the world infinite.  When you walk into your home, that is your personal space, where you leave the cares of work and whatever is going on outside, outside.  When you step inside your door, you should be surrounded by what you love and feel comfort and joy.  All else can go.