Mill Valley Cabins, Mill Valley, CA. | Photography by Joe Fletcher: The main focus of the design for the Mill Valley Cabins was to inspire imagination and creativity after retirement. They worked with the concept of biophilia, or the theory that an intrinsic bond connects human beings to living systems around them. The architects at Feldman Architecture had to work with the sloping of the site’s land and used the grade to create two small cabins overlooking the surrounding forest, allowing for a perfect view and sense of closeness with the landscape. Nestled comfortably between pines and redwoods, the two cabins, one a yoga studio and the other an artist’s studio, harbor a quiet serenity and connection with nature that gives the owners the atmosphere for reflection and creativity they desired. Because the yoga studio sits lower on the hill, the owners planted a garden on its roof to serve as inspiration for the artists above; the garden also serves to divert rainwater from the studio’s foundation and back safely down the slope. The owners now enjoy a quiet life as part of their beloved forest.
The Center for Spirituality and Sustainability, Edwardsville, IL. | Photography by Benjamin Lowder: Just outside St. Louis on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville stands The Center for Spirituality and Sustainability. The Center acts as a spiritual center, meditation space and yoga studio for all faiths. The geodesic dome-shaped Center uses natural light and transparency to create an accurate representation of the earth; however, the dome’s designer, Buckminster Fuller, wanted visitors to experience the globe as if they were at its center looking out, meaning all continents and bodies of water are mirror images to what is seen on a map. The planetarium-like nature of the space allows for a sense of orientation within the universe for each individual who enters, making the Center an ideal place for spiritual contemplation while also providing a feeling of “centeredness” for those practicing yoga or meditation. Those who enter the building should use the space to experience something outside of themselves; by looking out at the earth from within, the dome encourages a new, interactive form of self-reflection. Events, devotions celebrations and public programs are held each year by Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Baha’i and Native American faith traditions.
The Sanctuary Thailand, Koh Phangan, Thailand. | Photography by Jen Armstrong: Located on the beautiful Koh Phangan Island in Thailand, The Sanctuary is a place to detox, recharge and find your center again. While this location offers several other experiences, such as massages, their yoga experience is next to none. Connecting with nature is easy on the remote beach of Haad Tien while surrounded by the hundreds of years old Tien trees that grow along the beach line. The yoga studio itself, also called Buddha Hall, has large windows to keep participants immersed in the closeness of the sea and the might of the jungle. While several yoga classes are offered, they are designed to accommodate and assist students who are fasting or detoxing, which many resort visitors do. One interesting aspect of this resort’s location and experience are the ancient granite quartz crystals that it is built on. Tumbled for centuries by the ocean, the crystals’ the duality of ocean and land promote the strong basis of connectivity the resort embraces. The Sanctuary describes itself as a place to simply “be” by exploring yourself thoughtfully and energetically.