In my matchbox of an apartment, every square foot counts. In the words of the very wise Marie Kondo, every corner, object, and space must be devoted to things that spark joy for me. Because a space the size of my apartment filled with things that don't spark joy sounds more like a house of horrors — not something I want to take design inspo from. As someone who truly enjoys working out, spending more time indoors due to current events meant I had to create a sacred space for my exercise ritual in-house. The question was, where to put it? And what to put in it?
Normally, I look forward to trying new vinyasa flows at my morning yoga classes, testing how much longer I can hold a plank than last week at my functional training workouts, and trying breaths of fresh air like barre classes and Pilates. But when that life was no longer an option, at least for some time, I knew that creating an exercise enclave, even in my tiny apartment, was crucial to my mental health and overall wellness. So the journey to create my own little oasis for getting my heart rate up, perfect for online classes and playing it by ear, had commenced.
Living in an apartment where I can basically cook, lie in my bed, and shower all at the same time (without being overly flexible), it's safe to say figuring out a place to create my special workout space was going to be a challenge. I finally settled on a corner by the window in the living area, next to the couch, and taking the place of a standing lamp and side table because workouts trump lighting and accent furniture (OK, I moved the lamp to the other side and the table resides in my already-too-cramped bedroom, where we're basically a couple now). Although the area is still pretty tight, the sunlight from the window fills the space with a warm glow, promoting energy and vitality, and it's just big enough for the functional training routines I've adopted since sheltering in place. Sure, it's just a bit more cramped than the fitness studios I was accustomed to, but for me, it's perfect.
Once I had the blueprint for my wellness alcove, I needed to figure out what to put in it. Apart from fitness gear for my workouts and organizers to keep it all corralled, I knew I needed a few objects that would keep me motivated and give me that extra dose of excitement I needed when it came to exercising at home.
First off, I dusted off my trusty yoga mat, where it now has a place rolled up right in the corner. Next to it, I placed a low-to-the-floor horizontal cubby shelving unit, which turned into the ultimate space saver and budget-friendly hack. I used the shelving unit to store all of my exercise equipment, dividing it all by categories into its different cubbies. One cubby was perfect for all of my dumbbells, ankle weights, and medicine balls; the other for my resistance bands rolled up like rainbow swirls; and another for clean, fluffy towels. The rest of the space in the shelving unit was used for my balance board, plus other items that work great for decor purposes and spark so much joy: soothing incense perfect for after workouts, the best candles to light up during yoga, motivational signs to keep me going, and a flower vase that keeps the area looking fresh and colorful.
Once the finishing touches were set in place, I could barely believe it: my sacred space for moving my body was complete, and it was even better than I had imagined. I lay out my yoga mat and use it for all kinds of in-app exercise classes, from routines with a cardio emphasis to ab training to #bootygains day, or I sometimes just play it by ear and do what my body is craving that day. My corner centers me and has become a cross between movement and meditation, highlighted by alone time I didn't get when working out at gyms. Even though I miss fitness studios and feeling the energy of those places, my wellness alcove is just mine, and that counts for so much more.