Your Sacred Space
Think about all the locations you spend time in throughout the day.
The bathroom where you get ready in the morning, the den you watch TV in, the tool or craft room where you work on projects, your bedroom where you settle in for a good night’s rest. You’ve designed each of these places to have a certain feel and to be conducive to the task at hand when you’re in them. They are your own—comforting, familiar, helpful.
Likewise, the activities you do to nurture your spirit deserve their own private space. Whether your specific rituals include meditation, yoga, journaling, playing music, or simply sitting comfortably and breathing deeply, a dedicated area—a sanctuary, really—can help you feel more present during spiritual practice and may help you engage in it more regularly, developing a deeper commitment. And even if you aren’t sure which rituals speak to you just yet, choosing a sacred spot is a chance for you to create a retreat for yourself—an environment that invites reflection and feels peaceful, happy, and motivating.
While the space you create doesn’t have to be big, it should be one that you dedicate to nurturing your spiritual growth—so, for example, not your home office where you also do your bills. Here’s what to keep in mind as you conceptualize and set up this special corner of your world:
Ask Yourself What You'd Like To Do There
Naming your primary goals can help you hone in on the amount of room you’ll need and what it should be furnished with. Are you committed to starting or enhancing a home yoga practice? You’ll need room for a mat, some props, and possibly a computer or tablet to play music or stream classes. Maybe you want to make this a place to practice meditation. Think about where you’d put a comfortable cushion or chair and anything else you prefer, like candles or incense. Or if your goal is to write in a gratitude journal every day, figure out where you’d set up a desk or cozy armchair or rocker, and a spot for your notebook and pens. Imagine yourself spending time there: Is the wall color pleasing? Would you prefer the windows to have curtains for privacy? Will outside noise be a concern? It’s really about the feel of the whole space and how it will impact your practice.
Create an Altar
Though sometimes we associate the word altar with a religious sanctuary, an altar is really just a symbol in which to gather and express what is sacred to you. It can be as big or as small as you choose to make it (a shelf, windowsill, bookcase, end table), allowing room for a handful of items that are meaningful and inspiring to you. Perhaps you include a few of your favorite photos, a painting your friend created for you, a special gift from your spouse, a seashell from your favorite beach, or a trinket you picked up on a memorable trip. Let this altar serve as a representation of all of the support you have in your life and what you like; doing so can inspire you to visit this space often, committed to spending time there.
Make Room For Others
The idea here is to make this space as peaceful, beautiful and inspiring as possible. If someone else’s presence encourages that, invite them in. If your significant other has mentioned a desire to start doing yoga or reading more every day, perhaps you might create this space together or make sure there’s room for a second yoga mat or reading chair. Maybe you’d enjoy your time in this sanctuary if your beloved cat or dog was beside you as you paint, meditate or pray; add a pet bed in this room. And, if solitude is what nurtures you, ask those you live with to be respectful of this space being your own … if not always, then at least when you’re in it.
Bring Nature In
The color and oxygen you’ll get from placing plants or flowers in this room will energize your body and spirit. You might also consider adding potted herbs with soothing and refreshing scents, such as lavender and basil. As an alternative, consider hanging a few pictures of gardens, beachscapes, mountains, or other scenes from nature, as well as a few little bottles of essential oils to stoke your senses.
Add To It As Your Practice Grows
As you continue your practice, you may find that you want to add to or change the items on your altar, or you might want to replace a piece of art on the wall with something new. Maybe you received a gift recently that you feel belongs here, or you want more blue elements in the room because you’ve discovered that you feel at peace surrounded by that color. Being open to adjusting your spiritual space allows you to expand and strengthen your practice and to emphasize what feels most important and inspiring to you.