How To Create A Space For Your Spiritual Practice
Whether you practice yoga, meditation, chanting, journaling, or pretty much any other form of spiritual self-expression, you know just how important and solidifying it feels to have a space of your own.
This space allows you to step out of the intricacies of responsibilities, errands, and a really busy life.
Your space is a physical representation of the contentment you feel inside through your own practice.
If you’re still struggling to define what a space means for you, read on as we explore a few possibilities.
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Creating an Altar
No, this does not mean bringing in large statues of Buddha or worse yet, demolishing any area of your home to create a large, “official” altar.
In fact, altars are so subjective to personal preference that to specifically define one would be an indirect insult to the intention behind it.
Altars come in many sizes, shapes, and styles.
When creating one for yourself, think about what you want that altar to represent.
Perhaps you’d like a space where you can sit down and ground yourself after a busy day.
In that case, some crystals or incense would be ideal.
Our sense of smell plays an incredibly vital role in how we deal with stress, anger, or anxiety.
If you need a grounding aspect to your altar, think about the aroma (sandalwood, sage smudge pots and sticks, sweetgrass, etc.).
Perhaps you’d like your altar to commemorate your spiritual journey.
This was my personal intention when I was creating my own space.
In my current altar, which has changed many times over the years, I have small trinkets and memorabilia that have been, and still are, a part of my journey — mala beads from teachers, notes and pictures of dear family and friends, and crystals and oils that I have collected over the years.
I also have a hand-painted Om sign on my wall (which is by no means a necessity, but I love to paint).
If this is the kind of space you’d like to create for yourself, think about what means the most to you and use that as an intention when creating your altar.
Remember that no altar is ever entirely complete.
You will spend the rest of your journey adding and taking away, and letting your altar grow, just as you do with your practice.
Creating a Practice Space
I often practice in a very small room.
I don’t have a large, open studio in which I can freely unfurl my mat, but over the years, I have taken a liking to my small and cozy perimeter.
It feels like home, on and off the mat.
If you’re thinking about creating a practice space, think about what adds to your practice when you’re in a room.
Perhaps you like natural light in an open area, or if you’re like me, you like a small and cozy spot where you can snuggle up in Sivasana at the end of your practice.
One of the biggest challenges that we all face is trying to find and create a space that flows with the rest of your home or your family.
This may be difficult at first — no room, toys everywhere, etc.
However, your practice is an internal unfolding.
It will never die out and it will never be ‘less than’ just because you don’t have a “perfect” space in which to practice.
In fact, a “perfect” space will never exist. Even a small corner of a room is a space from which to start.
Be humble and thankful for the practice itself.
The rest will come.
Creating a Meditation Space
Gently let go of the mentality that you may have about your current meditation spot.
It is not as bad as you may think.
Meditation spaces do not have to be lavish or extensive.
I have a colorful cushion that sits on my hardwood floor in the corner of a very small room.
By all means, if you have the creativity and space and energy to create a truly personalized space, go for it!
Any space should be a representation of who you are and what your practice means to you.
It’s never going to be a cookie-cutter idea, but you’re not a cookie-cutter yogi.
Whatever you decide is the best for your space, ensure that you have everything you need for a peaceful and relaxing meditation practice.
This may mean blankets, pillows, cushions, mala beads, or background tunes.
Find what speaks to you.
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Using Incense to Clean Your Space
Incense plays a huge role in my practice and space.
They are literally everywhere!
Apart from smelling fantastic, they help clear the energy in your space before you begin your practice.
I use them frequently.
Before I begin, I will light a stick and walk around to clear the energy and set an intention for my practice.
Sometimes, I will quietly chant or simply repeat “Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.”
There are no specific rules as to how to use incense sticks or smudge pots.
The aroma invites in good energy, and the smoke curls dance to it. It’s quite breathtaking.
There are numerous types of incense that you can purchase, depending on your preference.
My personal favorite is Nag Champa, but any other aroma will do just fine.
If you’d like to take a more traditional route, try Native American smudge sticks.
They consist of bundles of tightly-packed sage leaves that, when burned, can be used in the same fashion as incense sticks.
If you walk away from this article with anything, let it be a sense of inspiration.
Your practice and your journey are your own.
What you create for your space to represent that can and will be in a constant state of change and transformation.
And aren’t we all in a constant state of change?
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