Creating Sacred Space

Our lives are hectic and we often wish we could just “get away” from it all.  Have you ever perused vacation destinations, but couldn’t really afford it, or lacked for time?  What if I told you, you could “get away from it all” whenever you wanted?  The secret- creating a sacred space in the home.

A sacred space is somewhere we can escape to and sit in peace and quiet; one of bliss and tranquility.  Oftentimes, people use their sacred space as a place of meditation or prayer, but it doesn’t have to be used that way.  A sacred spaced is defined by the user/creator.

The great thing about a sacred space is that size isn’t an issue; they can be any size.  A little altar or shrine in a corner, an entire room, or even an outdoor garden are all acceptable!!  The area could be made up of crystals, incense and a meditation cushion.  Or, maybe it’s a cozy room with candles and a blanket to cuddle up in with a good book.  Perhaps, you want a simple shelf with a photo of someone you love, or maybe a photo honoring your religion?  (Need some ideas? Check out my pinterest board- here!)

The point is, the ideal “zen space” should be a place that is special; it needs to remain sacred.  No talking on the phone or texting when “vacationing”.  This is a stress free zone; drop the baggage at the door when entering.  Pick it up when leaving, if you must, but while here, there are no troubles and no to-do lists.

Where to create the sacred space is just as important as what type of sacred space is to be created.

  • The sacred space should be in a place where there is peace and quiet
    • A closet could be a good place, but a living room of a big household would probably not be the best place to consider
  • The location should be one of comfort
    • Are you physically comfortable sitting here
    • Does the temperature fluctuate
    • Is it okay here year round (i.e. is your location outdoors)
  • Does the location make you feel positive emotionally and spiritually
    • Do you feel happy or at peace here
  • Does the location have the vibe/lighting you seek
    • Are you seeking darkness or light

These are a few things to keep in mind while seeking out the location of a sacred space.

A couple years ago, I wanted to create a sacred space that would be used as a yoga room and meditation space.  At the time I was practicing yoga in my living room and it just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  It felt chaotic and the energy was all wrong.  I took to practicing when my husband wasn’t home, or went upstairs for the night, because at least it was quiet.  Yet, it still didn’t feel right.  It was if the room was still humming… buzzing with unseen noise and I still felt bombarded.

I begun to seek out a place in the house that I could carve out for myself.  A place that I could turn into my yoga room and meditation space.  After looking around, I found what I was looking for; the spare bedroom upstairs.  At the time, it was full of boxes and a bed frame; time to get to work.  I began to throw out junk that we carried with us from Delaware to Oregon (and back to Delaware again).  I sorted out clothes that I no longer needed.  I began to carry boxes down two flights of stairs to the basement.  I moved boxes from one side of the room to the other and organized them into neat little piles until finally it came together.

I then put a couple little shelf tables in the corner, covered them with crystals, statues and candles.  I have a few malas over there as well that I use for meditating.  I keep essential oils nearby to use when the mood strikes me, but most of the time, I smudge with palo santo, as I love the way the wood smells.  My sacred space is fluid and the altar has changed periodically, but the essence of the space remains the same.  I am adamant that it remains clutter free and that I’m able to go up there and practice or meditate.  I will not allow that space to become a storage space once more, as the sole purpose of me entering this space is to declutter my life.


Check out this related blog 👇
*  Aparigraha

Aparigraha

Before you become a yoga teacher, you go through this process called “Yoga Teacher Training”, in which you learn how to pass along the yoga asana lineage, how to give assists and modifications, finding your dharma, and you learn about yogic philosophy and the many tenets involved.  It’s all quite overwhelming and really, by the time you leave, you don’t REALLY understand a damned thing.  Okay, you understand a little.  🙂  I think most of the learning is done after you are left to your own devices.  Yes, I am running amok, making mistakes and learning life’s lessons— all the while I am teaching YOU about yoga; ironic… I know.

You see, as a teacher, it is my hope that I can pass along my journey and my mistakes and maybe you can learn from them.  You can take what you want and leave behind what doesn’t serve you.  Really, that is what life is all about; taking what you want/need and leaving behind what you don’t.  The problem with leaving behind what you don’t need, is that it requires this nasty little thing called “Aparigraha”.  Aparigraha is one of the five yamas in yoga and it means non-attachment.

Most of us are hoarders.  We may not be the old lady with 12 cats and a house full of magazines and boxes, but if you look closely at your life, I bet you too are a hoarder.  Do you have a closet full of clothes you NEVER wear?  Do you keep ties with “friends” that aren’t good for you?  Or, how about that Facebook friends list; do you actually talk to those 512 friends?  Do you have a basement or attic full of boxes that you aren’t even sure what’s in them?  Or maybe you know what’s in them, but just haven’t used them in years?  Do you have knickknacks or books lying around your house that really serve no purpose?  Maybe they used to bring you enjoyment, but now they don’t.  Do you have toys your kids have outgrown, but have failed to pass along to someone else?  How about your pantry or fridge?  Do you have food you bought and never ate?  Are there any cans past their expiration date?  Do you hold on to grudges when someone slights you or does you wrong?  Do you hold fast to routines and hate to modify your schedule?

These questions aren’t meant to pass judgement on anyone, just thoughts for you to ponder over.  As I mentioned before, we all hoard in one way or another.  Some hoarding habits are healthier than others and it is up to you to decide if your habits are “healthy” or not.  Maybe it is time to let go of something permanently, or perhaps a short break or detox is in order instead.  Sometimes, all that’s required is a mixing up of your schedule to spice up your life!  Life is all about decisions.  There are no good or bad decisions; there are just decisions.  The problem is, you have to be willing to live with the outcome that comes with it.

For me, the one thing I constantly struggle with is my physical wellbeing.  I have chronic migraines and I often feel like rubbish.  I often have a struggle as to whether I want to get on my mat or not.  More often that not, the pain and fatigue wins.  It doesn’t help that I am gone for 12 hours a day for work either.  With that said, I do practice mentally a lot and I do pranayama often.  There are times where I may often just do a couple poses.  Yoga is the one thing I refuse to give up.  I cannot give it up; it keeps me sane and healthy.  It helps relieve my stress and tension and helps manage my migraines.

So…. what about this whole hoarding thing?  Is this a bad habit?  Should I practice non attachment and let this go?  Absolutely not.  What aparigraha means is that I need to honor my body.  It means that when I need rest, I need to take it.  It means that when life comes up, I need to accept that life happens.  It means that when I don’t get on my mat, I shouldn’t beat myself up and feel like shit about it.  I’ve been there before.  I did that all through my YTT and it got me nowhere fast (except feeling like a shitty yogini).  There are times where I wish I had a more diligent practice and I wish I could progress faster than I am, but it is what it is.  THAT is non-attachment, my friend.  When you can look life in the face and accept the things that you cannot change, then you are practicing aparigraha.  That is when santosha (contentment) begins to envelope you and a whole new realm opens up.

Personally, I like the feeling of contentment, so I am going to keep this practice going.  It’s an attachment I can live with.  I enjoy my practice immensely, as it is a gateway drug to self discovery.  One which I learn more and more about myself, as well as the world around me.  I thoroughly enjoy teaching and I am fond of my tribe that shows up and I love the devotion they have for their practice.  Honestly, I can’t think of anything better than standing in front of a bunch of sweaty yogis, hearts all open, all divine beings.

pigeon

Check out these related blogs 👇
*  Creating Sacred Space
*  Sweet Surender