Sacred Space

A huge (and FUN) step in establishing a home practice - whether it's of yoga, of relaxation, of meditation, of mindfulness, or some combination thereof - is having a sacred space or sanctuary within your living space. This can seem like a big challenge when we live in small spaces or share space with families, friends, and pets. However, with a little creativity and a few special items, we can carve out a little corner for self-care and reflection.

Only a few months ago, I set up my own little altar in the southeast corner of my bedroom. I chose this location because:

  • It gets plenty of natural light via my bedroom windows.
  • It's set up in a spot where I have room to unfurl my yoga mat.
  • When I stand at the front of my mat facing the altar, I am facing East, the traditional orientation for sun salutations.
Framed photo by supertalented artist and college classmate Zack Garlitos; Yoga Will Save the World 2016 calendar bought at Yoga Concept Paris.

Framed photo by supertalented artist and college classmate Zack Garlitos; Yoga Will Save the World 2016 calendar bought at Yoga Concept Paris.

I set my altar up on a minimalist, cube-shaped glass-top end table (similar version here) that I got as a college graduation gift.  I like it because light can shine through the surface, and it features clean, simple lines that are in harmony with my art and other decor.

Once I chose a base, it was time to populate the altar with special, meaningful, and inspiring pieces. Some are highly functional - like my constellation matchbox and my incense holder, both from Emporium Collagia. I included some beautiful objects from beloved sources - like my raccoon skull air plant garden from Bazaar and the beautiful hand (also from Emporium Collagia) that holds my mala beads.

The antique wooden paint box belonged to my grandfather, who was a watercolor painter. It has great little compartments inside that I can use to store things incense, matches, beads, or other special little things.

It was important to me to have light sources on my altar, so I added candles and this fun marquee arrow sign that I found on sale at Michael's. This way I can enjoy a restorative or yin practice at night with soft lighting that guides my attention and gaze ahead. 

Lit candle on my altar the first night of yoga teacher training (instagram @raglande)

Lit candle on my altar the first night of yoga teacher training (instagram @raglande)

The glass votive candle holder and tea light were gifts from my yoga teacher trainer the first night of our 200-hour training. We used these in a special sankalpa (intention) setting ceremony and it is a very special reminder of that night.

If you need inspiration or suggestions for building your own sacred space, here are some tips:

  • Start simple and build. Don't feel pressured to buy a whole bunch of items at once - I accumulated all these elements over years and many of them were thoughtful gifts from loved ones. Impulse-buying a bunch of pieces can quickly clutter your space and overwhelm you.
  • Use things you truly love. This is what you will be gazing upon during your personal practice and self-care: make sure it makes you happy, peaceful and inspired. 
  • Be flexible. I am changing my altar constantly - whether it's new books, different candles, or changing the orientation of different elements.
  • Observe traditions that speak to you. Facing east is a tradition that I adore so it was a prime factor in my setup; however, it certainly does not have to be! Burning incense helps me center and prepare for practice, but if you hate the smell, then skip it!

Further Reading

Do you have a home yoga space or meditation corner? What special items are in yours?