Healer Q&A: Olga Naiman on creating healing spaces.
PHOTO: Melanie Acevedo for Better Homes & Gardens
The following interview is a transcript excerpt from the Heallist podcast episode. Listen to the audio version below and subscribe to get notified of new episodes here.
Yuli Ziv, Founder & CEO of Heallist, connects with Olga Naiman, the founder of Spatial Alchemy, who integrates interior design, psychology and the law of attraction to help people transform through physical spaces. We dive into the design elements of a perfect healing space, learn to navigate the material world as spiritual beings, reevaluate our relationship with physical objects and how they impact our expansion. We discuss the techniques behind turning routine into a ritual. Lastly, Olga shares her top tips for bringing the abundance flow into your space. Follow @olganaiman on Instagram for more advice on design and spirituality.
What is the energy plane vs. the material plane?
Yuli Ziv: Let's talk about connecting spaces and working with our immediate environment. The matter, the 3D, is a powerful world. When you talk about the back and forth between the two and traveling between them, amplifying our vision through 3D. How are we setting intentions in our physical space? They manifest, expand, and help us grow. On the Heallist podcast, we're all about the abundance mindset, the growth mindset. Can you talk about how you see those energies working together?
Olga Naiman: Yes, I believe that energy and matter are friends, and we could use both of them to support and amplify each other. When you're working with the spiritual plane, you can decide what energies that you want to stick in, and breaking down into the material plane, and you could use the objects around you and the space around you to represent and to ground those energies into the material plane. We all have a coffee cup. But each design of a cup has a different energetic feeling, and the body relates to it in a different way, the tactility, the weight, the textures of it, the feel of it in your hands. You would choose a very different cup, if you wanted to ground yourself energetically to a choice that you would make if you want to expand abundance, for example. If you wanted to do those two things, you would choose a different material object. That is a very simple example that could be extrapolated into spaces as a whole.
How do we use color to move energy?
Olga Naiman: Yes, I’ll speak to that, but I want to back up a little bit so people can understand the energetic plane and the material plane. The energetic plane is how things feel. We've attuned our body and minds to how things feel, reading the energy. The material plane is how things look, and they're interrelated because how things look make you feel. I'm going to use that jumping off point to answer your question.
When we're working with the material plane, the first thing we want to think of is color. Colors are an easy way to shift energy. We all know about the chakras and how they're associated with different colors. Brightness and depth of color impact activation and grounding. For example, bright red is very activating. If you're working with clients in an activating or inspirational way, use brighter colors in your space to start moving energy. For those who tend to be lethargic or stuck, fiery tones can help initiate movement. If you're grounding anxious or Vata people, work with deep reds, deep greens, or deep oranges.
It's not just the colors you choose, but also the intensity of the colors. Consider the experience you want to create for your clients and yourself and use color in service of that experience. Instead of randomly selecting colors based on personal preference, think deeper about where you want to bring the client and yourself, and how the material world can be a vehicle to get there. That's one way, color.
Yuli Ziv: I love it. First of all, colors are super simple. We all have access to different colors. It could be a painting or a picture that we put up, which changes the whole energy. What I love about your work is that you make everything intentional. From what I'm realizing, there shouldn't be random objects because they have a lot of power. We may not realize it, but even static objects like cushions or pillows project power through color, texture, or shape.
Olga Naiman: These are all design elements: silhouette, scale, texture, color. Patina is something shiny and new and reflective, or does it have like an aged look. Those give the body different sensations. For example, with color, you don't even have to commit to painting walls, especially if you're renting an office somewhere. Then you could put like a beautiful sofa in front of it. You're beginning to already create a vibe rather than doing the white walls of your rental office with a white chair and a white this and a white that. We use a lot of white in spiritual design, and I feel like it does a disservice to the clients because it does not allow their body to experience the power of color.
Yuli Ziv: That's very interesting. I think many people will find it controversial because white has been such a default by a lot of spiritual practices and spaces like you mentioned. It certainly has certain qualities but what you're saying is defaulting to white is limiting yourself in a way and limiting your intention, and the energy that you project and your practice projects.
How do we create a working space for healers?
Olga Naiman: I divide the room into planes and a lot of designers do this. When you look at a room, there are three main planes. There's the bottom third. There's the middle third. Then there's the top third where the ceiling is. If you want the client to use their whole body, if you're working with the body, and you want the client to really be fully embodied, you want the room to be fully embodied. You don't want just part of the room to be considered, so when you are working with a space, you want to start looking at the ceiling, like what ceiling treatment can you do. Is there a beautiful lamp of a chandelier that you could put up there? That already starts having the full space be considered. That's the top third. Then we want to start adding height, so you want to also address the second third of the space. A lot of times all the weight of a room is at the bottom with the rug and the chairs and everything that's like table height and below. I suggest buying pedestals or plant stands to put plants in dead corners. It kind of puts the body on a vigilance, but if you start putting up a sturdy plant stand with a big sculptural plant in your space, that immediately adds color, texture, and life, and energy to the second third of the space.
Another way to bring energy to the top part of the space is to bring in beautiful art to hang tapestries from the ceiling, as I mentioned, and to take up space. Don't go for a lot of tiny little pictures. They hang a lot of little pictures all together. I like fewer big moves, large gestures in the space because you want to start encouraging confidence and self-expression in the client. You want to start designing your space, so that the client can really merge with the energies of the space and really become one with them because they're in a very open and vulnerable state when they're in your space. Look at the planes of the room. Then the bottom third, I would just look at the number of legs you have in the space. There's a lot of skinny little legs. If you have that, if you have a lot of legs, you might want to look at getting some pedestal chairs. I love thick rugs in a space rather than bare floors because it encourages you to use the floor for somatic practices, or for the client to get embodied on the floor with a double rug pad which makes it really soft.
The floor layer is powerful for grounding the body because it encourages people to actually get on the floor, if you create a sensual floor, which means a tactile floor with a nice thick rug that's not too small for the space, that doesn't look like a little postage stamp in this space, but really fills the space or you can layer some rugs or you can buy the same rug. If you have a big space, you can buy the same rug and buy four of them with a few rug pass underneath, and you don't usually see where they connect, especially if it's a fuzzy rug. That is a massive way to ground the space. The rug that feels like it really holds the room is a big grounding element.
How do we use our home as a workspace?
Olga Naiman: Well, there's so many different scenarios of how you work. I would say that if you're working on Zoom, you really want to pay attention to your zoom background. Make it intentional, create a frame that you can always put your computer in front of that specific zoom background rather than randomly moving around your home. You want to create a zoom background that shows who you are. You want to create a zoom background that frames you in a very complimentary way. I would not have your zoom space be in your bedroom where you're showing your clients your intimate spaces. I would create wherever it is a stage for yourself. I call it a “zoom stage.” You want it to be intentional. You want to create a zoom background that projects abundance.
I'm talking about elegance, intentionality, and style. Every single element that you choose should be something that you want to amplify in your life. You want to get very clear on what you want them to be thinking. As an energy worker using the material world to give to plant and seed ideas into the minds of your clients that are not only beneficial for them, but also beneficial to you, is of interest. If you're taking people into your physical space, I would create a space that is not too personal for them to be in. You don't want them in the middle of your bedroom, or in the middle of your living space. Find another space in your home or guard off part of the space with folding screens or fabrics or curtains or bookshelves so that they are contained in a space that is intentionally designed to help them heal.
How do we activate our abundance mindset?
Olga Naiman: There are so many ways that scarcity mindset patterning is in people's homes. When you think about your home or your office space, think about what your five biggest complaints about it are." I don't have enough space. Think of all the excuses and all the pain points and write them down. That's where your scarcity mindset is. That's where it lives. You want to go right in there and begin to turn it around. A lot of us have time. Scarcity mindset. Then we stay at the status quo. Looking at this messy, cluttered space.
One way we could break out of that patterning is to schedule on your calendar 45 minutes a week and put it on a timer to go into the most painful part of your home that's giving you the most grief and start working it. Start making it better. It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be better. That's how you begin to turn it into abundance mindset because you practice little by little by little, addressing some of those pain points. I'm going to talk about money.
Yuli Ziv: Please. Money is a big piece of abundance. It's something many people have a complicated relationship with. It doesn't matter what background you come from, whether you're born to a wealthy family. Money is such a controversial object, so I'd love to hear how you work with your method in money.
Olga Naiman: When I think of abundance, I think of four elements, which is symmetry, simplicity, big gestures, and items that feel wealthy. With symmetry, you start thinking about the body, the body is symmetrical, so when you start having pairs of things in your home, like two matching nightstand lamps, or two matching vases, it starts telegraphing to the body that the home is mirroring it, and that immediately puts the body at ease. When you look at pictures of wealthy homes, you see a lot of symmetry. When you look at pictures of estates, you see a lot of symmetry. I would start playing with symmetry. Rather than odd numbers, play with even numbers because it's very grounding for the body.
I would play with simple shapes rather than a lot of complicated shapes. If your spaces are advertising a lot of visual noise, it creates a feeling of being scattered. You want to start simplifying your space and putting in a lot of simple shapes like simple squares, simple circles. That gives a feeling of clarity and abundance.
Also, things that feel wealthy, things that are gold, or things that you associate with wealth. Putting those on your desk. Doing things that are uncharacteristic and bringing in those kind of subconscious elements of abundance.
As well as for large gestures, instead of doing a lot of little pictures and picture frames, do one large piece of art. Instead of doing a lot of little storage pieces of furniture, get one large bookshelf. Simplify.
Yuli Ziv: Symmetry is a great comment because it relates to the energy flow. Things in pairs enhance the flow of energy. Look at our spaces from the point of view of the energy flow, find blocks, uncover our limited mindset, and upgrade through everyday objects. I love that process and practice.
How do we enhance the energy flow of our space?
Olga Naiman: Four simple things you could do:
1. Release, looking at things tied to your past more than your future, things connected to old identities you want to remove from your field. Release those things before buying new ones.
2. Pause and listen to the space after your release. Hear what the space wants and needs. Don't rush in and fill the empty space with new things.
3. Color. Don't be afraid of color. Use it with textiles, painting a large canvas with a bright color and calling it art. You don't need to commit to painting the walls to change large planes of color in the space.
4. Lighting. If all you have is recessed lighting, that gets boring. Have lighting close to the floor, on tables, and vary the lighting experience for clients and yourself. Don't just have one kind of light at the ceiling. Use lighting to create intimate scenarios and conversation spaces.
Yuli Ziv: I love how you bring it and blend that all together. All the vibrations of you, your personality, your past your future self, and the space and the vibrations of the space. I think we all learned a new way to look at our environment. And I think at least you opened my eyes to so many different new ways to look at the everyday objects that we all have.
Visit Spatial Alchemy for Olga's services, classes and inspiration.