You need not visit one of the many gorgeous temples of the world, or a remote forest high in the mountains to feel as if you are enveloped in a sanctuary – warm, safe, peaceful, and supported to practice yoga, meditation, or any other spiritual endeavor. There are ways you can set up your own beautiful sanctuary right in your own home. No frequent flier miles needed.
- Give an Empty Room or Space Purpose
If you are lucky enough to have a room in your home which is rarely used, or cold be used more efficiently if it was cleared of clutter – great! You don’t really need a whole room though. Creating a sanctuary is about making a space clean, organic, light-filed, and purposeful.
You can do this by putting up a screen in a corner of a room near some windows, or even setting up a meditation cushion and some privacy plants in large planters on your patio – creating an outdoor sanctuary. If you use your imagination and look around you, there are already spaces in your life that are begging to be used as a sanctuary.
- Clear Out the Clutter
A sanctuary isn’t for doing anything but meditating, being mindful, practicing yoga or Thai Chi, etc. If your space is cluttered with unanswered mail, laundry, books, or other items, these will act as distractions and make it more difficult for you to sit in silence.
Simply making a space as minimalist as possible can create a sanctuary which will support your mindfulness practice.
- Give Love to the 5 Senses
Creating a sanctuary ironically, is about creating beauty, from which you then withdraw your attention. Make sure your meditation cushion is comfortable. Use simple, but soft and supportive fabrics to make your own. You can learn how to DIY a Zafu, here.
Consider playing soft, uplifting music like Gregorian chants or Tibetan singing bowls to help raise your vibration.
You can also burn incense, and make sure you have filtered or cucumber water to sip before, after and during your yoga session.
Water is also an important part of the meditation ritual in its own right – you can add a small fountain as well to help cleanse the energy of the space. Be sure that everything you place in your space – whether you post pictures of a guru or a spiritual guide, or fresh flowers – that they are pleasing and calming to the eyes, and heart.
If your sense of smell, sight, hearing, touch, and taste are all nurtured, you will freely let go, and more intensely enjoy your sanctuary.
- Consider Time as Much as Place
Sometimes a sanctuary becomes calm only when the chaos of the day starts to subside. If you try to create a sanctuary in a high-traffic area of your home, where family members will be preparing food, watching television, or other distracting things, consider making your sanctuary in a different place, or accept that your sanctuary will appear only when they’ve retired, or when they are out doing other things.
- Let the Fresh Air In
If you can open windows or create your meditation space near a balcony or veranda that gets clean air, this can be ideal for creating a peaceful environment. Just be sure that it won’t be too drafty in colder months—although you can also stack some comfortable wool blankets, known for helping to ground the body during meditation – to protect against cooler weather.
- Observe a No Technology Policy
Aside from the documented damage that WiFi and other electromagentic waves cause us, including insomnia, altered cell growth, and reduced brain activity, technology is a huge distraction. Cell phones are already excluded from many school zones due to the damage they can cause a child’s development. Shouldn’t your sanctuary be at least as safe as a child’s playground? In your temple, as in others around the world, cell phones, smart pads, and other technological devices are strictly forbidden to make sure you are getting the most out of your quiet time.
- Make it Your Own
The Meiji shrine in Tokyo gets about 300 million visitors a year, as it is located in one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The Tirumala temple in India gets around 200 million visitors every year, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City gets millions of visitors, too. One of the positives of creating your own sanctuary, is that you, and only the few people you invite to it, will ever grace its space. Make it a place that appeals to you – not the throngs of people of the world. Surround it with plants, or put down Bohemian carpets. Burn scented candles, or play soft music. If you feel happy and peaceful when you are in it – you’ve created the perfect sanctuary.