Biophilia & Thaxted Yoga – What’s the story behind all these plants & views of nature?
When people first walk into our yoga studio it’s hard to ignore the positive reaction to our stunning views, moss walls, living pictures and numerous plants throughout the studio. After all, it’s a space that’s been created to promote health & wellbeing and we’ve worked hard to ensure our design delivers.
Thaxted Yoga’s founder, Casey Gill, spent countless hours planning, carefully developing and executing the design of the studio based on her dream of creating the ultimate yoga space. Needless to say, Thaxted Yoga has been incredibly successful bringing the outdoors inside so that we can all benefit from being exposed to nature even when the UK weather is less than ideal.
The vision behind the creation of Thaxted Yoga studio is simple. Being surrounded by plants & nature just makes us feel good – happier, more relaxed, less stressed, more focused and above all more present in the here and now, one of the key elements of yoga & meditation practice. It’s the symbiosis between two living species, both benefiting one another. The plants release oxygen which cleans and purifies the air we breathe inside the studio whilst our long exhales provide enriched carbon dioxide that allows the plants to thrive. They also get plenty of natural light inside the studio to help them grow and release yet more oxygen.
The design was based on the notion of Biophilia, which originates from the Greek, ‘philia’ meaning ‘love of’. It literally means a love of life or living things. Humans have a deeply engrained love of nature which is an intuitive and natural drive imprinted into our DNA.
Researchers believe this to be a reason that we have thrived as a species, helping us to locate the most fertile land, cultivate food and nurture new life. We have a physiological need to be in contact with nature and the natural world. Researchers have found that more than 90% of people would imagine themselves in a natural setting when asked to think of a place where they felt relaxed and calm, which is exactly what we aim to achieve during our yoga practice. Being in or around nature makes us feel good. Our physical and mental wellbeing depends on us spending time outdoors or in a natural environment like Thaxted Yoga which has positive effects our productivity, our ability to focus and our general wellbeing too.
Our Moss Wall & Living pictures were installed by Planteria Group in Henham, Essex and they are maintained on a weekly basis. Our moss wall is real moss, preserved to enhance the natural elements in the studio without taking up precious floor space. This striking apex wall adds an extra wow-factor above the windows that showcase stunning views and changing seasons across the Essex countryside. Between the windows we have included living pictures – unique additions that quite literally frame our miniature living walls with a variety of plant species which are watered from above. These features, combined with floor-standing plants and various plant pots throughout the studio create a warm and welcoming escape from the mayhem of everyday life.
Mindfulness in nature lowers our stress levels and decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression by reducing the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Nature also boosts the production of feel-good hormones called endorphins, helping you feel brighter, happier and less stressed. You could arguably just show up to class at Thaxted Yoga, do nothing, and still leave feeling better than when you arrived – although we know once you come inside you will be looking forward to your practice with us.
Casey is passionate about the benefits of plants for our health, and has written blog posts for our home yoga practice partner Movement for Modern Life about the Benefits of Forest Bathing as well as tips for the Best Plants to Boost Wellness in your home yoga space. More evidence and benefits are outlined in these articles and you can understand why Thaxted Yoga is so full of nature – just for YOU!
We hope you enjoy visiting our studio as much as we have enjoyed creating it for you. Jemma and the entire team at Thaxted Yoga warmly invite you to come and share your practice and see what you think of our classes & our lovely one-of-a-kind studio.
Interested in trying a class? Check out our Timetable Here
Note: Biophilic research influenced by our friends Planteria Group
About Casey Gill:
Casey is a yogi, mum, nature lover, serial smiler & the founder of Thaxted Yoga, a rural yoga studio with breathtaking views over the Essex countryside.
Casey is a well seasoned traveler having lived in both Texas & Colorado before finding her feet in the UK as well as living in the Middle East. Casey has taken her worldly experiences as inspiration for creating Thaxted Yoga and providing an oasis for the local community and beyond. Her vision for the perfect yoga studio gave us what we see today with the biophilic design elements including a wide variety of potted plants, a moss wall, living picture frames, expansive views of nature and loads of natural light.
In September 2018 the need to travel caught her and her family by surprise when they were offered a new life in Australia. Casey and her family knew this couldn’t be turned down and followed their dream of living a life inspired by the outdoors in Oz. Her heart and soul remains with us at Thaxted Yoga.