Creating a Sacred Space

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an altar created by one of my teachers at my YTT graduation ceremony

Having a sacred space is an important part of a home practice. Now, this doesn’t mean you need a whole separate room or even a lot of space at all. Sometimes you have to make situations work, even when it’s not ideal. There have been times when my space was stored in a box – 100% portable and baby proofed!

When creating a space for your practice, try not to focus on what new products you need (like expensive props, jewelry, decor, etc) but instead what you can cultivate with what you have. It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercialism that surrounds yoga. Certain brands abuse our desire for a more meaningful life, telling us we have to buy their things to create a practice of our own. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the yoga things but remember, the richest practices sometimes involve the least space, preparation, and extras. Your space is used to get closer to your true self, not your shiny things. Just keep it simple and be mindful of what really adds to your experience.

The idea of having your own sacred space is really just to hold space for yourself. This means having control of your surroundings, cultivating the desired energy, and keeping chaos out. Your space is completely personal to you, I am just sharing what helped me build my space. Before you begin this journey, take time to sit with the idea of your sacred space. What does it look like? How do you want to feel when you are there? What will you do there? What do you need to do those things?

Here are my top tips for creating your own sacred space for yoga, meditation, journaling, whatever feeds your soul!
1. Find comfortable lighting. The lighting of your sacred space should be unobtrusive but you also need to be able to see and stay awake. And while I love the idea of a practice by candlelight, that just doesn’t work for me at 6am. I also find it hard to focus with my flickering, fluorescent kitchen light. So find a light that keeps you calm but awake and alert. Salt lamps are a great addition to your sacred space – they provide light as well as many health benefits.
2. Build a comfortable seat. To assist in meditation, you might want a meditation cushion (I use a couch cushion – you don’t need to spend loads on a commercialized cushion to have a kickass meditation practice.) or be able to press your back against a wall. You can even bring a chair into your space, whatever will assist you to sit upright comfortably.
3. Bring in all your goodies. Any props, mats, oils, candles, incense, herbs, crystals, speakers, books, diffusers, plants, you name it. Anything you hold close to your heart or need for your practice. I have my mats, a blanket, two blocks, my yoga wheel, a strap, my foot roller, an eye pillow, and a cushion.
4. Create an altar. This does not have to be fancy. My altar is literally an upside down trashcan with a scarf on top…and it’s just as much an altar as any altar has ever been. You can put whatever you want on your altar. Candles, plants, shells, pictures, stones, etc. Just be mindful of what’s there and avoid cluttering. For each item on your altar, consider it’s purpose. What does it add to your space and your time in it? On my altar, I have an abalone shell with a bundle of sage, a chunk of rose quartz, a few pebbles from a beach in Australia, a shell from a beach in the Dominican, and a small heart charm given to me by my teacher.
5. Keep the space sacred. This is the hardest part of having a sacred place. You must keep it clean and…sacred! Keep the space exclusive – be mindful of who comes in, distracting or meaningless decor, your energy while in your space, etc. When I sit in my space, I avoid my phone, certain music & content, eating, complaining, etc.
6. Actually sit in your space. No matter the details of your space, the most important feature is you in it. So work out the logistics to create a place you truly want to be in, then the challenge, be there!

Other things to consider:

  • Air quality – you don’t want your space to feel musty, especially if you’ll be spending your time there low to the ground. Try locating near a window or some source of fresh air. You can also add plants to your space to naturally clean the air and make the whole space feel more fresh.
  • Colors – use colors to your advantage to help set the mood in your space. Dark, bright, monochrome, or the whole rainbow – whatever colors speak most to you.
  • Privacy – we don’t always have a lot of private space, living with roommates or family. But try and put your sacred space somewhere somewhat secluded from the busyness of your life. Maybe the kitchen floor isn’t the best place. Or maybe you get up at 6am and bring your box to the middle of the kitchen and set up camp! Just make sure you feel totally comfortable and confident in your space and not self-conscious or watched.

Now don’t run out and break the bank at HomeGoods! Or feel the need to rearrange the whole house. And please don’t go apartment shopping for your spare bedroom. Just make a little space, ask yourself what you need, and allow for it to build itself. Have fun and enjoy!

 

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