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June 20, 2024

Image by Kartikeya Manan

A modern retreat at Lifeyoga’s Urban Sanctuary in New Delhi

Have you been practicing yoga for ages, but felt you needed a retreat in the city itself? Lifeyoga’s flagship center in New Delhi transforms the urban landscape into a serene retreat for mind and body. It is difficult to imagine it is in Delhi once you’re inside, located as it is in a shady pocket of Central Delhi, amidst amaltas trees.

Designed by passionate yoga practitioners, this center marries ancient traditions with contemporary needs, offering a space for genuine introspection and growth. The founders, lifelong yoga teachers and practitioners, envisioned this space as a hub rooted in the ancient wisdom of the Patanjali Sutra while being accessible to the modern world. Their guiding belief that yoga belongs to the world, despite its ancient Indian origins, was a powerful principle throughout the design process.

Spread across three thoughtfully designed levels, the center features a welcoming reception area that flows into a retail space and an Ayurvedic-inspired restaurant, ‘Eleved.’ A mezzanine level hosts cozy consultation areas and meditation rooms, while the basement, with its subdued lighting, provides an ideal setting for deep, meditative yoga practices. The main studio on the upper floor, designed as a conservatory, accommodates high-intensity and hot yoga sessions, utilising innovative lighting and heating systems to enhance the experience.

Image by Kartikeya Manan

Studio Lotus approached the project with the goal of crafting a sequence of inward-looking spaces that help practitioners shed the chaos of the outside world and immerse themselves in their practice. This intent is reflected in the facade, interiors and material palette including tactile, locally sourced elements like Mandana red sandstone and acacia wood, to create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Custom-designed furniture and handmade screens add to the space’s unique character, while thoughtful details, such as ergonomic door handles and integrated air purification, ensure a comfortable and healthy environment for all practitioners. The use of warm neutrals and earthy tones, enhanced by natural light and the lush foliage of native trees such as peepal and banyan that surround the building, collectively create an environment that is both calming and invigorating, facilitating a meditative and uplifting experience.

Thoughtful Design for Mindful Practice

Studio Lotus’ design philosophy for Lifeyoga was centred on creating a sequence of spaces that gently lead one away from the external world into a state of inner calm. The facade and interiors are intentionally understated, using a palette of warm neutrals and earthy tones to foster a sense of peace. The strategic use of daylight, coupled with the lush greenery of peepal and banyan trees surrounding the building, enhances the tranquil atmosphere. The design has a major impact on one’s mental well-being. As we entered its spaces, into one of the practice rooms, we felt as though our worries were melting away. The entire architecture is easy on the eyes, and geared towards centering oneself.

Image by Kartikeya Manan

Each level of the center has been carefully planned to meet diverse programmatic needs. The ground floor serves as the hub of activity, with the reception area seamlessly extending into a retail zone and the Ayurvedic-inspired restaurant, ‘Eleved.’ The mezzanine, designed with low-height furniture to optimise space, includes consultation areas and meditation rooms. The basement, with its naturally subdued lighting, is perfect for slower, more meditative yoga practices. Advanced lighting systems allow for adjustable illumination to match the mood and requirements of different yoga sessions, while discreet air-conditioning ensures comfort without disrupting the practice.

A Space Designed for Versatility

The main yoga studio on the upper floor is a versatile space conceptualized to meet various needs. Designed as a conservatory, it adheres to development control regulations while offering a bright, open environment for high-intensity training and hot yoga classes. The studio features innovative hot yoga panels that double as light reflectors and baffles, ensuring an even distribution of natural light from overhead skylights. This space accommodates more than a dozen yoga styles, equipped with built-in props for practices ranging from aerial to Iyengar yoga. Adaptable partitions allow the studio to host small groups or expand to accommodate larger classes of up to fifty participants.

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Embracing Local Materials and Craftsmanship

Lifeyoga’s flagship center is not just about functionality; it’s also a celebration of local craftsmanship and materials. The use of Mandana red sandstone and acacia wood infuses the space with a regional character, while the tactile quality of materials like plaster mixed with cow dung, which has microbicidal properties, adds a unique textural element. Handmade screens of muslin cloth and paper create varying degrees of privacy and light diffusion, enhancing the organic feel of the interiors. Custom-designed furniture and screen-printed signage on plaster walls elevate the handcrafted quality of the space.

Attention to detail is evident throughout, from lockers with inbuilt charging points to ergonomic, hand-carved door handles that add a touch of softness to the otherwise minimalist design. These thoughtful touches ensure that every aspect of the center contributes to the overall goal of creating a calming, meditative, and uplifting environment.

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The center becomes more than just a place to practice yoga; it’s a carefully crafted sanctuary designed to provide an immersive experience that reflects the inner journey of yoga practitioners. By blending ancient wisdom with contemporary design, Studio Lotus has created a space that honors the roots of yoga while meeting the needs of modern urban life. This center stands as a beacon of tranquility and a testament to the enduring relevance of yoga in fostering peace and well-being in today’s world.

Zara Flavia Dmello


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