Create a Home Meditation Space
Meditating every day or a few times a week can have physical and psychological benefits. Having a dedicated space for your quiet reflection time can help your mind overcome outside obstacles that may negatively impact your meditation. Consistency can also be a great boon to your meditation process, by repeating the habit of relaxing in the same spot your body will learn this pattern and calm down more routinely as soon as you enter your meditation area.
You don't need an entire meditation room. A small corner, loft, alcove, closet, or even an outdoor space in your backyard could work. There are no set rules but here are some tips for picking your location.
- Choose a space where you feel comfortable and can picture yourself being relaxed when entering. It would be wise to avoid a space near work-related areas, like a home office desk or laptop. Areas like this could distract you from relaxing by reminding you of financial duties or work deadlines.
- Your meditation territory should also be secluded from social distractions, so a location where you are less likely to encounter other members of your household would be best. Maybe suggest to your family or roommates that you are not to be disturbed while inside your special area. It should feel private.
- Don't pick a spot that can be associated with sleep, you should not be in a space where you will be more tempted to nap than to meditate.
Consider incorporating views or sounds from nature into your home meditation zone if you can. Studies show that nature can have healing and soothing effects on the mind. If you find nature calming consider a room with a view from the window, even if it's only the trees from your yard. Many people prefer fresh air from a window while reflecting. Perhaps you find the sound of running water from rain, or even from the pool outside calming. Just beware that the window could also invite distracting sounds like beeping cars or other noisy street sounds.
- If those distractions prevent you from having a window in your meditation space, there are other ways to bring in nature. The answer could be as simple as placing your favorite flowers or houseplants around your space.
Lighting can be an important factor too but will mostly depend on your personal preferences. Consider the natural lighting and how you can adjust it to suit your meditation style. Sheer curtains can help filter the light, while others may prefer blackout curtains to make it as dark as possible. If you are unsure which lighting benefits your meditation style maybe experiment in a spot where the light can be easily adjusted with curtains or a dimmer switch.
Keep things organized. Think about the objects in your meditation space and if their purpose. Ideally, you should only be surrounded by items that are required to meditate. For example cushions, pillows, mats, or whatever you need to sit comfortably. It is very important to have your area organized and free of distracting clutter like laundry or electronics.
- Consider adding a small chest or dresser to help keep things organized but also to keep unnecessary things out of sight. This can also be useful if you plan on using your space for yoga too, be sure to place your mats and blocks away when its time to meditate.
- A chest can also double as an altar, a small table or window sill could also function as an altar. Many people choose to have their altar eye-level while sitting. Limit the items on your altar to objects that are significant to you such as spiritual figures, photographs, and meaningful mementos.
- Candles or incense can also be placed on your altar if you find the aroma relaxing. Just be careful that they won't be in a location where they can be easily disturbed and hazardous.
- If you plan on painting try to avoid colors that will spark the wrong emotions. Earth tones and pastels have a calming effect, bright colors may be too stimulating for meditating. Ornate or busy wallpapers also have the potential to make focusing difficult.
A lot of people may consider the smartphone an unwelcome distraction while others may find it to be a useful meditation tool. These apps can be convenient for practicing mindfulness in your everyday life and creating healthy habits. Many meditation apps feature breathing techniques while others focus on relaxation and well-being. Apps or your phone could also be used to play relaxing music or sounds from nature.
Using apps is not necessary. Some prefer to keep their phones turned off or in a separate room so that they can "disconnect" from the distractions of emails and texts.
Personalize your meditation space to what suits your needs best. Just focus on creating an environment where you can feel serene and relaxed as soon as you enter your home sanctuary!
Additional Resources and Tools
Guided Meditation Audio Files: Several different audio and video clips from the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness for guided meditation or yoga.
Mindfulness and Meditation: Tips and guided meditations from the Mindful organization.
Harvard Women's Health Watch: "What meditation can do for your mind, mood, and health."
Guided Meditations: Free audio and transcripts of guided meditations from UCLA Health, a great introduction to practicing mindfulness meditation on your own.
Relax, Meditate, & Breathe: A list of resources and tips for improving your relaxation response and meditating for stress reduction.
Visual Meditation 101: This guide covers visual meditation, if you are a visual learner this could inspire what imagery you use in your meditation space.
Keeping a Meditation Journal: Have you ever considered keeping a meditation journal? Sitting down to record notes or your thoughts after meditation can help you keep track of how your experience has changed over time. This article takes an in-depth look at the benefits.
Choosing a Mindfulness App: A list of curated apps geared towards mindfulness and meditation aids. Some may require a subscription but most offer free content.
Distracted During Meditation? Here's What to Do..: If you are looking for more information on distractions during meditation, the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute has some tips on how to handle them.
Meditation Resources: Many meditation resources as well as tips and videos for focusing on mindfulness.
Insight Meditation Center: The IMC is a community-based organization that offers free online courses on Buddhist teachings and meditation.
By: Jim Olenbush