Updated: Feb 29, 2020
A Simple Guide to Creating Space for Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness practices are becoming more and more popular as studies support its benefits to health and wellbeing, and as the field itself becomes more accepted in the mainstream. From meditation and yoga, to self-reflection and awareness, mindfulness practice is quickly becoming part of everyday experience in the lives many people. Part of that everyday experience includes the location in which mindfulness practices take place. Although mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, having a special space in the home is a convenient way to encourage mindfulness practice everyday.
I like to think of the space where mindfulness practice takes place as sacred. No matter how you practice - yoga, meditation, T'ai chi, centering prayer, or spiritual or religious devotional - having a dedicated sacred space helps to set the tone for your practice.
So, to help you create your very own sacred space, here are a few tips I have found helpful to create my sacred space:
Select A Space
First, decide where you want your sacred space to be. Think about which mindfulness practices you will be doing and how much space you will need.
A spare bedroom or open space in a larger room like a family or sun room can be good spaces for practices that involve movement like yoga or T'ai chi. For smaller spaces some ingenuity may be needed. Determine how the space and any furniture in it can be arranged to accommodate your practice. For practices that do not require a lot of space, a small nook or corner may work nicely.
While I consider my entire home sacred space, it is my living room that is setup as my official space for meditation, yoga, and T'ai chi.
Set Your Intention
Believe it or not, your intention for the space you would like to create plays a significant role in setting the tone and feel of your space. For example, I wanted my sacred space to look and feel calm and peaceful, and I wanted items in the space that would contribute to the peaceful feel. This intention helped me to create an uncluttered space with a soothing color scheme of baby blue and white that is both easy on the eyes and feels soothing.
Collect Your Sacred Tools and Pieces
When considering the look of your sacred space, it's a good idea to have a vision of how you would like it to look. Are there any sacred tools or pieces you want in your space? Will you decorate your space simply or lavishly?
What kind of artifacts do you want in your space? Will you have an altar, and if so, how will you dress it? If you are unsure of what you might want it your space a quick internet search will offer many ideas to help get your creative juices flowing. Remember, that this is your sacred space, and that however you decide to furnish it is perfectly right for you.
For my sacred space I wanted an altar and found my living room fireplace to be the perfect spot. On my altar are tools and trinkets that are meaningful to me, like: a picture of an inspired teacher, incense (my favorite brand is Nature Nature's Red and Yellow Sandalwood), candles, crystals, a small statuette of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, and a poem I wrote on the eternality of the Soul. All of theses items are useful and helpful in setting the tone for mindfulness practice.
Choose Your Seat and Mat
When it comes to mindfulness practice, it is important to be comfortable, so taking a moment to consider the type of equipment you will need is beneficial. For my yoga and T'ai chi practice, I like to use two kinds of mats: a large exercise mat and a thick 5mm yoga mat, and I find this combination provides just enough cushion and grip. For meditation, I love using my cosmic cushion. Its unique shape encourages an erect posture while keeping the knees slightly lower than the hips, which for me seems to be the most comfortable position when sitting crossed legged.
Due to the stillness that meditation creates, I find that I get cold easily, so I often wrap myself in a warm blanket.
Keep in mind that finding the perfect combination of the right equipment for your mindfulness practice may take some trial and error.
So as our practice teaches, remember to be patient with yourself and the process as you are creating your sacred space.