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To live somewhere to inhabit the space

Vivre quelque part où habiter l’espace…

Layla Philip, Yoga teacher between the South of France and Morocco, creator of “THEYOGiINME” (Yoga rooms, training courses, courses abroad…) shares with us her singular and very true view of her “home”; how to invest a place, to live in it, to appropriate it.

To live somewhere to inhabit the space. As far as I can remember, I have never had a single home, first my mother’s in France, my father’s in Morocco. Moving from one, the town house and the summer house on the other. The habit of being mobile and of quickly adopting new places, of making spaces of one’s own, or of finding one’s own space has imposed itself on me. Creating in the child, teenager and adult that I am now, an ability to adapt and feel at home almost anywhere. I am as much a mover as a traveller, I feel as if I were embarking on a journey to a faraway country as when I arrived in my new home, something of a discovery and adaptation.

“I never arrive in a new house with preconceived ideas, I first listen to the walls and then I let them guide me”.

Layla Philip

Being rather a follower of the old one and the stories it has to tell us, I never arrive in a new house with preconceived ideas, I first listen to the walls and then I let them guide me, to give a spirit, a decoration to the place. That’s the way I’ve always done it, Place – Spirit – Decoration. As I grew up, not to say aged, I added the idea of comfort and practicality, to no longer simply live, but to live too, to function. The privileges (or needs) of age, where for some, practicality takes precedence over the spirit of place, I had to “work” to integrate this part. I live here, I live there. It would be like making the distinction between just passing through and impregnating the walls with who we are. Living in a place is like embodying a body, respecting its needs, respecting oneself, the walls; perspectives must speak to us, tell us a story. Today’s story, new at every moment, or that of those who built before us. The house is no longer an ornament, it tells our aspirations, our studies, our dreams.

Our recent experience with containment has certainly tipped many of us into more than just “living somewhere”. The birth of the pleasure of finally “living” or the frustration of not finally feeling our marks or our impregnations in what was until now our home, the home, the place of our joys, habits and turbulence, the intimate, deposited every day within these walls. There are walls that resonate with noise, others that resonate with history. They support us, inspire us, recharge us. The garden so constrained to maintain a few years ago becomes the place of the possibility of a life, the real life, that of rhythms independent of us, that of harvests, that of scents, and above all that of a space where nature has its place, inviting us to respect our own.

“Our recent experience with containment has certainly tipped many of us into more than “living somewhere”.”

layla philip

I am writing these lines in front of the horizon that is the ocean, an artist’s loft perched above a fabulous lagoon. In a few months I will leave this shelter, this glassed-in place, open but not enough, I felt like land and space, and I am already sailing between these sunsets over the clear waters and the fertile land of our family farm, I am going to go and live in these acres of abundance, and live in a small earthen house, renovated to give me all the comfort I need. And I know that I will still haunt some houses, because I am made that way. Nomadic.

Layla Philip, The wild clinic, septembre 2020

Find Layla in her different adventures on Instagram : @the_wild_clinic  &  @theyogiinme_formations