Happy May Yoga Mamas! May is National Meditation month, so throughout the month, I’ll be weaving in snack-size, actionable tips for establishing a home meditation practice.
I’ve previously talked about the importance of meditation to my life as a mama as well as the effects of regular meditation on my life. A clearer mind, more patience, better sleep, more self-awareness and the ability to care for your family with more compassion and grace are just a few of the many benefits of a regular meditation practice.
I’ve also talked about how it’s totally feasible (and more realistic) to make space in your life for a meditation practice when you start with a small chunk of time, like 2 minutes and gradually build from there.
As a busy mama, I understand the roadblocks my students face when finding the time to meditate. If you’re a “scheduler” like me, first take a look at your calendar and find where you might have a few minutes of space. Then, schedule your meditation practice in your calendar just like you would with a work meeting or birthday party.
For most mamas, these spare moments are early in the morning, before everyone else wakes up. I’ve found if I shift my bedtime half hour earlier, I can wake up half hour earlier. That becomes my sacred and quiet “me” time when I can sit for meditation and journal. I always bring a cup of my favorite early morning beverage of hot water with lemon, ginger and turmeric and my journal.
Today, I want to focus on physical space. Carve out a small space in your home where you can just be. It’s not often you can sit in quiet, but a dedicated physical space will serve as a constant reminder that this place for stillness and your meditation practice is there for you.
The main takeaway here is that you don’t need much area! You can easily create a small corner in your bedroom, Iiving room or even on your porch or deck. I created a Pinterest board for inspiration and so you can see some examples of beautiful meditation spaces.
Make it an inviting space that reflects who you are and what you love and you’ll want to come here every day! Dedicate this space to stillness and only practice quiet, reflective activities here - meditation, journal writing and mindful movement practice if you have room for a mat.
Here are the 5 elements I think about when creating a meditation corner:
It helps to find a quiet(er) space in your home. Realistically, if you have young children, you may not find a completely quiet space. And that’s ok! You can create a wall with a screen or a tent-like structure to create the illusion of a space separate from the rest of your living area.
Or, sit in your space in the early morning hours before the kids wake up, during nap time, or after they go to bed.
Protect your space and let your family know that you’re not to be bothered for a few moments when you’re in that space.
If you enjoy music when you meditate, bring a speaker and your phone or other device for playing music (but don’t be tempted to check email or social media). If you have an old school iPod, you can download some music onto that so you won’t be tempted to check your phone.
Chimes and Tibetan singing bowls are another great way to incorporate sound into your meditation space. There are many benefits of sound therapy, which I’ll detail in a future blog post.
You need a soft and supportive place to sit. This can be a cushion specifically designed for meditation or a yoga bolster. There are countless types of cushions and pillows available for purchase. A few of my favorite places to shop for cushions are Manduka and Yoga Outlet.
The purpose of a meditation cushion or pillow is to elevate your pelvis so your hips are above your knees. You also want your pelvis tilted forward slightly. You might need to sit closer to the front edge of the bolster to find this alignment. Elevating the pelvis allows more stability and a more natural low back curve. This alignment also encourages blood flow to your legs and feet and helps you find length through your spine so energy can flow freely. If you’ve ever taken a class or private session with me, you know how much emphasis I put on lengthening the spine!
If your space is inside, you can add a plant, mini tree, fresh flowers or pinecones. Plants can help improve indoor air quality and the earth elements will help you find a connection to nature, even if you’re inside.
If your space is outside, you can find a way to naturally incorporate the surrounding trees, a garden or flower beds.
While this element is certainly not neccessary, I like having a few pretty objects in my corner. You might arrange mala or prayer beads, stones, crystals or a Buddha statue in your space. If you love the ocean, set up a bowl or vase of shells. Yoga International has an online boutique with some lovely objects to spruce up your meditation space.
The key is you only bring objects into your meditation space that you love, find beautiful or have a special connection to. This space is about you, so your objects should reflect you, without cluttering up your sacred space of stillness.
Sidenote - if you have curious and mobile little ones that still put things in their mouth, you might want to lock up your stones, crystals and shells in a pretty wooden box or put them on shelf out of reach.
I like to put my diffuser on with some homemade essential oil blends (stay tuned for a future blog post on essential oils for yoga and meditation) or burn a Lavender or Nag Champa meditation candle.
If you’re diffusing oils or applying to your skin, be sure you’re buying 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils from a reputable seller. Also, keep in mind if you’re pregnant, there are some oils that are contraindicated. Email me if you need a list of safe oils for pregnancy.
If you’re sensitive to smells or have allergies, feel free to avoid this element altogether!
Note about incense - I’ve always loved incense and used to burn it before kids. However, as delicious as it smells, studies have shown it’s not safe to inhale the smoke. If you absolutely love incense, you might think about burning it outside on a porch or purchasing natural, hand-rolled sticks and only burning it with the windows open, when kids aren’t in the house.
Keep these elements in mind when designing your meditation space. If you have any elements to add, or want to share a photo of the space you’ve created with the community, leave a comment below or pop over to the Facebook page to share!
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