Yumi and Hatano Studio: The Yoga of Color and Design

February 19, 2015 at 3:00 pm 1 comment

Yumi Kagamihara, Design and Yoga

Yumi kagamihara

Yumi Kagamihara is a designer and yoga practitioner who integrates color, design with intention, artistry and focus. At Modwalls, we believe that color and form merges well with function in an aspirational approach to living, so we were excited to talk with her about her approach to design and living well with color.

How did you come to Interior Design? 

I started my career in the financial industry as a programmer back in Japan.  In 1997, I moved to the United States and, after finishing graduate school in Texas, I worked in NYC as a business analyst/project manager for financial firms. While in NYC, my husband and I were thinking of relocating or finding a vacation home.  So we purchased a new construction home in Tampa FL.  We were allowed to choose different materials, paint colors and so on. That fascinated me.  Even though I was working in the finance and technology area, I had always been very interested in the arts. The first class my parents took me to was a drawing class. I loved coloring and creating ‘crafty’ things. As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered “designer”. Back then I did not know what type of designer, of course!

Hatano Studio

Hatano Studio Design

After more than 10 years in the financial industry I was considering a career change and possibly owning my own business – even though I still enjoyed my career in finance and technology.  I researched and decided to enter New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) while still working full time. I took one class first to see if I would like it. Then slowly I took more classes to see if I could complete all the design projects.  Most of the NYSID faculty members owned architecture or interior design firms. Before graduating, I received a job offer from my teacher who is principal of the architecture firm, JGArchitect.  That was it!  My design career started.  After relocating to Kirkland WA, I started my own firm, Hatano Studio, LLC in 2009.

How did you come to yoga and why did you want to teach it as well as practice it?

I actually started yoga not so long ago in 2009.  I would have never thought I would do yoga because I was not born flexible!  After over 2 years of practice, I took the teacher training program to gain knowledge about yoga including history, philosophy and anatomical aspects of postures.  I decided to teach as a continuation of my learning process.

Hatano Studio Design

Since yoga means union, how do you bring that to your yoga practice and your design work?  

In yoga practice, we always try to feel or direct prana (life force).  I like the openness and flow happening in my mind and body when I practice.

The same for interior design: I want the space to flow, not to be forced.  When the space is right, I think we can be healthier, think clearer, and be happier.

As a yoga teacher, I prepare the sequence of moves or postures for class.  I want this sequence to be challenging, interesting, and beautiful. Ultimately I want students to feel good in their body and mind.  Unnecessary things may need to be removed.  Simplifying may increase their end results more.  This similar process happens during my design process.

Are there other elements of yoga philosophy that you apply to design?

One of my favorite methods/ideas in Yoga Sutra by Patanjali (one of the foundational texts of yoga) is “Kriya Yoga”.  It consists of three words: self-discipline or passion, self-study, and surrender.  You apply self-study, discover your own traits, boundaries, or areas where actions are needed.  You need desire and discipline to practice or change things. You try your best but are not attached to the outcome, simply letting go or surrendering.   It is not only in design, but I try to apply this throughout my life,

You wear some pretty colorful and stylish yoga gear. How important is color in your life?yumi Yoga 2

I enjoy coordinating colors in my yoga wear.  Depending on my mood, I pick different colors every day.

The combination of colors creates different synergy. That makes me happy!

The good thing is that clothes are not permanent so you can be as bold as you want to.  On the other hand, tile colors are difficult to change daily. 😉

How do you use color in your design?  

Colors are very personal and impacted by the environment, especially the sun.   I like many different colors.  Some clients will give me a strong vibe for a certain color or color scheme.  I will explore that.

 I like color to be united and each one has a role to play in the whole.

Hatano Studio Design

Hatano Studio Design

If someone is new to yoga, or wanting to start a new renovation, what advice can you offer them?

Find a good guide!  Having a great yoga teacher who is knowledgeable of the philosophy, tradition, anatomy and postures can enhance your whole experience. It takes time and patience to identify the teacher, but it is critical if you really want to deepen your practice.

The same goes for renovation. Finding a good guide, interior designer or architect will elevate the quality of your finished product.  They can provide an analytical explanation and technical guidance to achieve your goal – favorite space.

Like Hatano Studio or check out more Hatano Studio at Houzz. You can follow Yumi’s yoga (and what to wear!) on Instagram or her Facebook page.

Modwalls wants to know about your passions and how they involve color and design so let us know!

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Rebecca Lonergan


Founder and Creative Director of Modwalls Tile Company. Since 2005 Rebecca has been designing Fresh Tile in Colors You Crave. Shop Online at Modwalls.com.

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