A question for you: Have you ever gone on a business trip, or out to a big social event, and had that moment when you get home where you’re just like, YES. Home.
Know what I mean?
No matter how stressful the day’s been, or how many people you’ve had to rub elbows with, coming home can often create a huge sense of relief. In all the chaos that is the modern life, we could all benefit to offer up some major gratitude for having a home to go to where we can unplug, reboot, and reconnect.
Home is our comfort, our place to feel a sense of belonging, and where we go to rest and recuperate. It’s our space to get centered in between our interactions with the outside world and where we can truly just be ourselves.
In so many ways, home is how I’ve come think about my meditation practice. No matter how crazy my thoughts are, or how many items I have to check off my to do list, when I sit down on my meditation pillow, I come home to who I am.
As Buddhist meditation teacher, Sogyal Rinpoche said, “The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this lifetime.”
Meditation has been a tool that has transformed my life for the better, and I try daily to practice for at least fifteen minutes each morning. But this isn’t how I began! It was definitely a challenge at first to sit for even a few moments without wiggling around, telling myself I was doing it wrong, and thinking I had more important things to do instead.
With a little bit of determination and persistence, though, I started to see just how much my meditation practice was serving me in my life. I had improved focus and concentration, more control over how I reacted to my emotions, and I felt less depressed and anxious in difficult moments throughout my day.
So for this first installment of Mindful Monday, I would love to share some tips to help you create, set up, or add to, your home practice space for yoga and meditation.
Here’s a sneak peek into my personal practice area. As you can see, I have a pretty compact apartment. When I moved in, I wanted to make sure that my contemplation area was central in the setup of my living room. I figured, the more I saw my practice space, the more I was likely to practice and turns out, I was right.
Let me give you a rundown on some great tools to incorporate into your home practice space:
- Altar – The sacred space. An altar is any surface you place offerings or symbols of your Highest Self. I was psyched when I found this repurposed wood altar blessed with Om, but I’ve used chairs, a nightstand, and even a cardboard box before. You could also use a well-placed windowsill or low bench if you’re looking to be resourceful.
- Symbols – Connective tissue for your heart. On and around my altar I place different symbols that remind me of love. Some ideas for symbols could be photos, artwork, images of deities or holy figures, prayer beads, a vision board, meaningful jewelry or candles. Anything that helps you tap into that feeling of unconditional love when you look at it.
- Nature – A mirror for the mind. I enjoy having a plant in my meditation space because I think of it as a reflection of how well I’m nurturing my inner needs. Do we need watering, attention, sunlight? Other forms of nature to incorporate might include a small bowl of water to promote flow in your life, candles to ignite the fire element, or gemstones and other earthy elements to help you feel grounded.
- Yoga mat – Stretch it out, yo. Yoga practices like physical postures and vinyasa flow help to prepare the body for meditation by facilitating a process of purification. Our experiences, pent-up energy, and emotions get trapped in our physical form and spun around in our minds. Yoga is a great way to release and move through energetic blockages in order to maximize the benefits of meditation.
- Meditation cushion – Pad that fanny. When you’re ready to find some stillness, there’s nothing better than some good old-fashioned padding to help you ease into your seat. I like using a meditation cushion, called a zafu, because it helps me to sit with my pelvis tilted slightly forward with a nice, tall spine. Blankets, pillows, and seat donuts can work well too.
- Intention – The Big Why. Learning to meditate can truly be the greatest gift you can give yourself, and knowing why you are practicing is your key to receiving the benefits of this gift. Each time you sit, take a moment to set an intention for your highest self and in service of the greatest good for all beings. When you do this, you open yourself up to be truly expansive, receptive, and deeply connected to the Divine.
When you get home tonight, relax, unwind and take look around your house for items you can add to your home practice space, and keep me updated. Snap a photo of your sacred contemplation area and post it to my Facebook page!
Until next time, xo
In love & liberation,