People turn to meditation to help relieve stress, anxiety and to focus on the present. And there are real benefits to creating a quiet and calming space for peace. A study reported in the Journal of the American Psychosomatic Society concludes that mindfulness meditation has a positive effect on our immune function. And according to the American Psychological Association it boosts our experience of positive emotions (like happiness!) Best of all, studies show that doing nothing can actually improve your productivity.
Before diving into how to create your own meditation space at home, know that there’s no right or wrong way to practice – or where you practice.
Why create a meditation space?
Creating a sacred space can be a powerful part of the meditation experience. It signifies to your body and your mind to relax and tune into the present moment. A dedicated space helps to separate you from other distractions in your home. It’s challenging to cultivate stillness when simultaneously your spouse or partner is watching TV, or the kids want a snack. Designating a part of your home as your meditation space creates a warm and welcoming retreat to enter and simply be.
4 Ways to create a meditation space
1. Make it private
While you don’t need an entire room dedicated to meditation, it’s important to find a calm part of the house with minimal noise and interruptions. If possible, select a room where you can close the door to outside distractions. Or if you have a tranquil garden, create a space outdoors. Alternatively, for smaller living spaces, set up a folding screen to separate out your space to practice.
2. Start with a neutral slate
Some practitioners meditate with their eyes open, such as in silent Zen meditation, while others focus their gaze on a flickering candle. When creating your own space, choose a room with a neutral or muted wall colour and remove excess clutter.
3. Set the mood with lighting
Natural light will help to create a more relaxed meditation experience. Strike a balance between bright light filling your space, without it being so strong you feel like you’re meditating on the surface of the sun. If your space is in a darker part of your home, such as a basement, invest in natural light bulbs or a dimmer switch where you control the intensity of light while you practice.
4. Add natural elements
Now you can begin to decorate your space so it feels like your own personal retreat. Consider adding natural elements, such as crystals, rocks or seashells. Adding some greenery will help invite a sense of calm.
What do you need for a meditation space?
While there is nothing you need to begin meditating, other than a space to sit quietly, you may wish to add elements to your space to make the experience more comfortable, or to create a sacred space you’ll want to come back to.
A meditation pillow helps you to sit taller while relaxing your hips. This Halfmoon Om Meditation cushion is available from well.ca and it’s the perfect size for travel. An alternative to meditation pillows is using a yoga mat. Lolë’s I Glow yoga mat is made from eco-friendly materials and reversible, meaning it’ll do double duty for meditation and your yoga practice. While not necessary, a singing bowl is also a useful tool to open and close your meditation. The sound bath created by a singing bowl helps to focus your mind and enter into a meditative state.
How to decorate your space
How you decorate your meditation space is as personal and individual as you. Some people like to use a small table to create an altar as a focal point for their practice. Here, you can add scented candles or use essential oils to bring a sense of tranquility to the room. Other ideas include crystals, photos of loved ones or spiritual teachers, or a statue of Buddha.
Meditating with kids? Consider making mind jars
If you have children, teaching them to meditate or come to a safe space to calm themselves, is a wonderful gift you can give them. While older children may not have the discipline or desire to sit and listen to guided meditation, younger kids can benefit from creating mind jars.
Here’s what you’ll need to make a mind jar:
1. Mason jar
3. Food colouring
5. Hot water
How do you make a mind jar?
1. Fill a clean mason jar with hot water until it’s one third full.
2. Add the clear glue – or glitter glue – to your jar. (The more glue you add, the thicker the contents of your jar will be, so experiment the amount you add until it’s at the consistency you want).
3. Mix the contents together with a wooden spoon or whisk.
4. Add food colouring until it’s the perfect colour.
5. Add as much glitter as your heart desires. Play with a variety of glitter colours and sizes, so the pieces fall to the bottom of the jar at different rates.
6. Fill your jar with additional hot water until there’s only an inch of space remaining.
7. Give your creation a final stir.
8. Screw the mason jar lid on tightly.
In times of anger or frustration, kids can enter the meditation space, shake their jar, then sit while focusing on their breath and specs of glitter swirling around, until it gently falls to the bottom of the jar.
Other things to consider
Now that you’ve set up your perfect, calming meditation space, you may be thinking, “Okay, great. But how do I meditate?”
Headspace is an app created to make meditation accessible to everyone. New users can sign up for a 10-day free trial, or if you’re a Weight Watchers member, you can access a limited number of Headspace meditations anytime you like. (Bonus: Weight Watchers members can also sign up for a free 30-day Headspace trial). Headspace offers a 101 and tips on how to build an unguided meditation if that is your preference. You’ll discover everything from 3-minute mini restore meditations to 30-day courses that cover letting go of stress, finding focus and creativity. Indigo.ca also offers a range of books on meditation to help you start your practice.
Some people find it helpful to jot down any thoughts or feelings they experienced while meditating. To help you reflect, invest in a dedicated journal or notebook.
Create your own tranquil meditation space and earn cash back
Did you know creating a space to find your inner zen can help you earn more than good karma? Download Ampli and purchase a meditation cushion, essential oils, and scented candles at select retailers across the country, like Urban Barn, well.ca or Indigo.ca, and you can earn cash back on your purchase.
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