Create Your Own Sacred Meditation Space
If you've resolved to add meditation to your daily routine -- or to simply add some much needed "me time" -- consider creating a sacred space in the comfort of your own home. "Taking some time to de-stress and relax is essential for emotional well-being," noted Alexis Conason, New York-based clinical psychologist. Your meditation space doesn't have to be complex. In fact, you can transform a small corner of your bedroom into a tranquil resting space without much effort.
The most important element of a meditation space is comfortable seating. This runs the gamut from a traditional zafu -- a raised meditation cushion -- to a chaise lounge. "I have a rocking chair in my meditation space, as I love to rock and it brings me peace instantly," said Traci Bild, meditation expert and author of "Get Your Girl Back." "Find a cushion, comfy bean bag chair or plush reading chair from a thrift shop and reupholster it in a color and texture that speaks to you."
Being near fresh plant life provides a beautiful, calming aesthetic. "Having a nice window or glass door overlooking the outdoors can be calming," suggested Alexander Dolin, a stress management life coach. If a window isn't an option, or if you want to be even nearer to nature, incorporate a few plants, fresh flowers or trees into your space.
Fragrance can instantly make you feel more at ease. For your meditation space, try aromatherapy oils or incense. Another favorite is candles. "Candles create peace and calm, allowing the mind to relax," explained Bild. Their flickering flame also provides ambient lighting.
Spiritual or calming objects aren't just for decor's sake. They can also make you more mindful or relaxed every time you catch a glimpse of them. These objects can be religious, spiritual or connected to nature. "Spiritual objects you can have on your table or bookcase include Buddha statues, statues of Hindu or Buddhist gods and goddesses, candles or inlaid teak boxes," said George A. Boyd, master meditation teacher and author. "Christians can have crosses and statues of Jesus or Mary. Natural objects include driftwood, crystals, shells, flowers and stones."
Keep inspirational books or motivational phrases near your personal meditation space. One idea is to write out a quote and meditate on those words for the day or week. Alternatively, thumb through the pages of an inspirational book to help put yourself in the mood for reflection and contemplation. Boyd recommended a Bible, Quran, Buddhist or Hindu scripture, Tao Te Ching or uplifting poetry by authors such as Gibran or Rumi.
"When meditating, things may come to mind that bring clarity, so be sure to have a beautiful pen and journal to jot your feelings down in," advised Bild. You can also use your meditation journal to write down personal goals.
Ideally, your personal meditation space is quiet. If that's not possible, there are ways to mask external noises. For example, a small water fountain is calming and blocks out other distracting sounds. You could also listen to sounds or music on a CD player or music on an electronic device. "If you are disturbed during your meditation, simply observe this disruption and return your attention back to the meditation," advised Conason, the New York psychologist.
A comforting drink, such as a glass of water or hot cup of tea, makes a nice addition to your daily meditation ritual. "I love to make a beautiful cafe latte in a beautiful cup and have it with me," said Bild. "Brew your favorite tea, coffee or sip on some lemon water. Remember, it’s about you and what brings you comfort, peace and stillness in order to shut off the world and escape even if for only five minutes."
"As you restore, it’s nice to have something to snuggle up in," said Bild. "Find a great blanket you love that feels like heaven when wrapped around you. Most of us can’t curl up in our mother’s laps anymore, so the blanket will sort of suffice and bring comfort." On that same note, dressing in cozy or comfortable clothing can also bring you peace as you meditate.
When designing your meditation space, choose colors and textures that bring you peace and tranquility. "This is going to be subjective to each individual's taste," noted Dolin. "Darker colors may feel very cozy, but they can make a room feel smaller. Lighter colors, on the other hand, will help open a room up, but may not have the warmth you seek." Ultimately, design as you see fit, but do be mindful of colors or textures that are too stimulating or provocative.