We recently sat down on the Narmada rug with Manoj Dias; writer, meditation + movement teacher, and co-founder of mindfulness studio Open. We uncovered the many influences of his day-to-day, the multi-faceted roots of his interior style and how he’s approaching the transition of seasons, both within himself and his home.
1. Where do you get your interior inspiration from?
Inspiration for me comes from my culture. I grew up on Buddhism, hip-hop and fashion. My father was a bit of a dandy and I was always drawn to the aesthetics of the 70s clothes he wore. I love the clean lines and palettes of the mid-century modern designs we had at our home in Sri Lanka, so it was inevitable that these influences would seep into my interior choices. I have design books scattered throughout the house, singing bowls and vintage statues mixed with contemporary art. They all speak to me in different ways. Living in Los Angeles itself, with its rich history and diverse culture, offers a plethora of new ideas that I play with.
2. When designing a room in your home, what do you keep in mind?
The room should feel spacious, uncomplicated but have soul and character to it. I know I've done it well when it evokes a feeling or memory as I walk into the space. Colors are important to me. I like to layer different shades of one color to add depth and dimension. I then bring in bits of ‘me’ to it: a book, foreign incense, or photography.
3. What colors, textures or homewares are you most drawn to at the moment?
I'm currently drawn to earthy tones – burnt oranges, deep browns, and soft olives. Textures that are tactile and organic, like rough linens, soft wool and raw woods, create a sensory experience for me. Homewares with a history or story behind them always catch my attention. Especially family heirlooms and vintage finds.
4. Beyond interiors, what are some of your rituals when at home?
Mornings are sacred to me, I created a meditation space in my second bedroom that feels like a sanctuary in my day. I start the day with meditation and breathwork and then move my body for around 30-40mins. I live close to the beach so I try to make it out there for a walk or a dip a few times a week but prioritize a sunset walk most nights. It’s a good way for me to decompress if I’ve been behind a screen for a few (too many) hours.
5. As a meditation, yoga, and breathwork instructor, how have these practices shaped you?
These practices have transformed my life. They've taught me the impermanence of our lives, the art of presence, patience, and connection (to myself and the world around me). It’s given me a toolkit to navigate this crazy experience we call life. As a Co-Founder at Open, I've had the privilege to share these teachings and watch them positively impact others in similar ways.
6. Do you have any tips for our readers on integrating certain practices into their lives?
Think big, start small. Dedicate just five minutes each day to engaging your senses in a mindful way. Notice what you see, hear, touch, taste, smell - without any narrative. It can be that uncomplicated. Over time, as the benefits become evident, the practices will naturally find more space in your life and can evolve to add more depth and meaning to it.
7. What's the name of the breathwork style you practice on your Enkay rug?
The style I practice is called "circular breathing". It's also known at times as ‘Tummo breathing’. It’s an old school Tibetan breathing exercise that heats up the body and clears the mind, quickly. I practice it in the mornings when my mind feels a little foggy.
8. As we enter a new season, what are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to the change in energy and the natural rhythms that come with it. Each season offers a fresh perspective, a change in palette, and a new opportunity to redesign and realign. I can’t wait to practice with the Open community at our Venice studio, take more breaks on weekends and enjoy the sun for as long as it’s out there.