At the end of the day, don’t you look forward to jumping to your bed with a nice book to doze off to? It is often the places that we love that we want to keep going back to. Quite intuitive, right? Now how about applying the same logic to your meditation practice? To go deep into meditation—like any other skill—requires some practice and consistency. And so, it is important that the meditation space you set up at home be a place you are comfortable in and love coming back to again and again; your refuge away from the worries and stresses of the world.
When you are starting off, not having a dedicated spot for meditation can hamper your experience of diving within. This may also affect your commitment to meditate daily. Initially, our mind anyway looks for excuses to NOT meditate every day. So, an important way to entice your wavering mind to meditate regularly is to create a home meditation space that is inviting and peaceful—a sanctuary.
By creating a little dedicated space for your daily practice, you can gift yourself a daily dose of rest and relaxation through meditation. Having a personal space solely dedicated to meditation and spiritual practices will help you connect to yourself at a deeper level. Spiritual practices such as meditation are sacred and personal and many schools believe that they need to be honored in order for them to bear fruit. Over time, regular practice energizes the space.
Choose a corner of the house that is quiet, with minimum interruptions and the least amount of traffic noises to rattle your mind when it is settling down. Pick a place with good ventilation and natural light. It can be a spare room, a spot in the garden, on the patio, or even a small corner of your living room, depending on the availability of space in your house. You don’t necessarily need an entire room—just a small corner should suffice. Avoid setting it up in the kitchen or in a place very close to the lavatory.
If you like to be enveloped in the peace of your sacred space while you tune into yourself, use hanging screens, curtains, or blinds to separate your meditation space from the rest of the room. For the curtains, blinds, or walls, choose a color scheme that you find peaceful; avoid bright or loud colors. For instance, consider bamboo blinds for a more natural look. Declutter the area and make sure that things like computers, TV, papers, toys are not taking up space there. They can go on the non-meditation side of the room, to another room, or just away.
A mildly lit room that is neither too bright nor too dark is considered ideal for meditation. Using an off-white or any neutral tone curtain made from materials like muslin or khadi can filter out extra bright lights and are ideal for meditation spaces since they are not heavy unlike other synthetic fabrics and also they do not block out the entire light making the room completely dark. Opt for soft, soothing lighting. Use lights that you can turn down or candles; whatever makes you feel more relaxed.
Importance of Asana (seat)
Asana is the mat or the cushion that we use to sit on for meditation. Your meditation asana is the seat of your energy, and so it is personal. Ideally, do not share it with others. Ancient wisdom talks about the positive role of mats made out of kusha grass (a particular variety of pointed, long grass found majorly in Asia, Africa, and middle-east) in meditation. One of the reasons why sages have used kusha grass to sit for meditation is its remarkable ability to provide insulation both on physical and metaphysical levels. You can use any mat, preferably made of insulating and eco friendly material. If you have trouble sitting with your back straight for a long time, it is better to get a meditation chair, or plan your space in a way that enables back support, maybe made from another piece of furniture. Get cushions that will help you sit comfortably. Also have available a small blanket to use in case you feel cold while meditating. Though it is acceptable if sometimes you doze off while meditating, it is imperative that you maintain the sanctity of your meditation space and ensure that it doesn’t become your alternative bedroom.
A Touch of Nature
Your subconscious knows that you are no different from nature. It becomes easier to connect to the universal consciousness when you feel close to nature and that is why bringing certain elements of nature to your space will add to the depth and aura of the place. You can choose from the numerous indoor plants like areca palm, peace lily, dwarf date palm, and aloe vera that also act as natural air purifiers. Smaller plants like succulents or even a vase of fresh flowers can be used to adorn the space. If something as simple as stone makes you feel connected to nature, bring it in.
Sounds for the Soul
Many of us have difficulty finding a peaceful place. Sometimes family members are too loud or the neighbors are noisy. You can mask these noises creatively. One idea is to place a small water fountain in your meditation space. The sound of the flowing water will overpower the other sounds that act as distractions and will also help you get into meditation. There are white noise machines or if you prefer meditation music, place your speakers or headphones in the area.
An Altar for Your Revered Ones
Add a small table or shelf where you can place sacred items like your beads, crystals, bells, singing bowls, etc. If a painting or statue of Buddha, Shiva, or your guru sitting in a meditative state inspires you to meditate, add it to the altar or to your wall. It could also be an idol of a deity of your faith that you feel connected to. If you like to read some scriptures or spiritual knowledge after meditating, you can place the book on the altar.
An incense burner or an aroma diffuser can also create a conducive atmosphere. After lighting, remember to place them a little farther from where you are seated in order to ensure that the smoke doesn’t directly enter your nostrils and cause any kind of obstruction in your meditation. Also, keep the candles and burning incense sticks away from flammable items like books, curtains, or wooden floors.
Honoring the Space
Treat your meditation space as your beloved temple—leave all the mundane and unnecessary things, including your worries, outside and always enter the space with a sense of reverence. When you maintain the sanctity of the space, over time the aura will be cleansed of all negative vibrations and get energized and purified. You will be able to feel more and more relaxed as soon as you enter that space. Finally, a few final “rules” for the space:
- Use your sacred space only for spiritual practices like meditation or reading spiritual knowledge.
- Do not forget to set your phone to DND before you enter the meditation space; or leave it out of the area.
- Request family members to not use your meditation space for any other purpose.
- Do not eat anything or drink coffee in the meditation area.
- Avoid strong artificial fragrances. Use mild natural fragrances that soothe your senses and help you get into meditation like lavender, loban, guggul, sandalwood, or driftwood.
- Refrain from putting too many objects or creating heavy decor as these can be distracting, too. Keep the place as neat as possible; only things that are sacred and most revered to you should be allowed in there.
- Keep the cushions and curtains clean. Ideally, keep the shoes and footwear outside your meditation space.