One of the most common sources of overwhelm is that of space. Not enough space. Cluttered space. Sharing space.
I share my home with three other humans: my sweetie and our two housemates – plus two cats. Tidiness, privacy, quiet, and scheduling can sometimes make keeping a space feeling sacred a challenge.
Yet, my sacred practice is vital to my well-being.
I need a space for meditation, yoga, writing, reading, and general contemplation. Having a space that feels dedicated for this feels incredibly important to me and to my self-care. So, when we moved into our new home in August, it was agreed that the little shed in the backyard would become my studio.
This is where the magic happens.
And today, I’m going to show you how I created it. Plus, I have a few principles for how to create a meditation space, altar or other sacred space, even if you don’t have much room.
How to create your space:
Start with a vision
I began where I begin most big projects when I need infinite inspiration: Pinterest. I pinned hundreds of images of what my little studio *could* look like (to a secret board). Not every one was perfect or even realistic. But I collected paint swatches, rugs, and desk organization tips. I even selected images for their natural light alone.
From there, I whittled down the images to a single aesthetic or set of unifying characteristics that felt compelling to me.
Answer the question: what does it need to do?
Really, how will the space (in an ideal world) function in your life?
Is it a whole room, part of one, or a corner? What will you use it for? What does it need to store?
It might be tempting to focus on the aesthetics of your meditation or yoga space, but it doesn’t work if it doesn’t work. Make sure that you spend some time thinking about functionality. Factors might include light, heat (or a fan), storage, empty space (so you don’t whack your arm against the wall in warrior II), privacy or sound-proofing.
Set the stage and an intention
Your space is only as sacred as you make it. So spend some time there. Put your intentions into it and allow your space to be a vessel for those intentions, as well as your practice. The space will ripen as you practice there, and as it absorbs the preciousness of your practice.
Use the space as it was intended. Allow it to be sacred ground and treat it as such. Fill it with treasures and what is necessary for you to experience joy, spirit, and healing there.
How to maintain the space:
Clean it regularly
Using non-toxic (and perhaps even scent-free) cleansers, make sure to clean your space often. This is important. While there are plenty of intrinsic benefits to cleaning a space, it is even more important when applied to sacred spaces.
Cleaning and attending to a space enlivens it through this act of devotion.
Smudging and energetic clearing
Another way to regularly clean and maintain your space is through energetic cleansing. In the same way that water and soap (or baking soda or apple cider vinegar) cleans a space physically, there are other ways to clean your space on the energetic or spiritual level.
I regularly smudge my space with sage, palo santo or sweetgrass to remove energetic adhesions. Once a month or so, I throw open the door and windows for an afternoon to let the light and air move through the space. I also use selenite wands and smudge sprays to move energy that no longer serves the space.
For calling in intention or setting the stage for the space to do its work, I often use energy work (reiki) on the interior of the space, to invite in what does belong.
Swap out what no longer belongs
I try not to keep what I’m not actively using, and if an object is no longer serving me, I tend to swap it out. I either put it into storage, give it away, or trade with a friend. This practice keeps me honest and in integrity with my commitment to non-attachment and not taking what does not belong to me.
How I use my space:
Again, I use my space for its original intention. It’s not for hanging out and watching movies or for distracting myself on Facebook. My studio has four main functions and I try to abide by these in order to respect the space.
Meditation and spiritual practice: sometimes seated, sometimes walking. I also include altar-building, tarot or oracle card reading, prayer, singing, or journaling here.
Yoga and physical practice (often interwoven with the above)
Writing and healing work: again, everything you see here is created in my sacred space. I write for the site, as well as maintaining a practice that includes journaling, poetry writing, and setting intention.
Reading poetry and spiritual texts.
Essential elements I include in my space:
- Tarot and oracle card decks
- Books of poetry or spiritual texts
- Photographs of loved ones
- Art that inspires me (often framed, almost all gifts)
- Fresh flowers and plants
- Yoga mats and props, meditation cushions
- Natural elements: pinecones, feathers, shells, sticks, stones and crystals, etc.
- An organized desk for writing and creating everything you see here on this site
Small space solutions for Sacred Space:
Inside a drawer:
You can keep your tools, or even create a tableau or diorama, inside a dedicated drawer in the nightstand or bureau. This keeps them safe and out of the way, but in a space that’s just for them. This is particularly good if you want to build temporary altars and then keep your tools out of hand’s (or paw’s) reach.
On top of a dresser:
If you don’t have space for an altar table or other meditation space on your floor, try giving your altar the top of a dresser (or other surface). Make sure it isn’t a magnet for clutter – let it be dedicated to its intended purpose.
Vision or pin-boards:
A vision or pin-board (or another wall-hanging solution) is perfect if you’re low on surface areas in your home and is especially nice if you have animals. Instead of sacred objects being arranged horizontally on a table, they’re arranged vertically on a board. This solution is well-suited for written intentions, poetry, oracle or tarot cards or other forms of art.