Many people find that meditation helps them to reduce stress and relax.
It may seem impossible to find the time, but more and more people are leaving the hustle and bustle of their day behind for just 10 minutes of peace and quiet.
First, understand that meditation can be practiced anywhere and at any time. There’s no need to find a soundproofed room with the perfect temperature, humidity and lighting.
However, while meditation shouldn’t be constrained by a lack of resources, creating an intentional reflective space ensures that you’re reducing your risk of distraction to make the most of your practice.
After all, developing a consistent meditation habit is hard. Some people find it easier to slip into a meditative state when their surroundings are as serene as possible.
Creating an inviting area for your practice can be a liberating experience, so we’ll dig deeper into the process below.
What is it anyway?
Meditation spaces are typically created to help people improve their ability to focus, calm their minds, and create a more mindful environment.
They’re places of spiritual connection, relaxation and self-awareness. They may be contained or spacious, but ideally are protected from external disturbances to allow for an uninterrupted session.
Organising the interior space of your home can be tricky if you’re living in a small house or apartment with limited options.
In this case, you may simply clear out a corner of your bedroom or living room for the purpose.
As a basic rule, you should aim for a meditation space free from unnecessary distractions such as excessive noise, light, animals and people.
Why do I need a such an area?
Today’s world is filled with distractions.
Incessant messages, constant news alerts and unremitting work reminders all prey on the unwary mind. You’re never far from disturbance.
The internet has made life easier, but as technology advances, our attention spans shrink accordingly.
Meditation provides a vital antidote to the cacophony of modern living and a predefined space keeps you grounded throughout.
Not to mention, the ambience of the area can even enhance your practice.
Creating a meditation space
Furniture set up
There are ways to make meditation more comfortable and relaxing with the right furniture.
Many meditators like sitting on the floor, or at least on something low to the ground.
I personally find these positions pretty uncomfortable on my hips and back. So I tend to use a firm chair with a straight back, or sometimes a stool.
Others prefer using meditation mats using the traditional lotus or Japanese kneeling position (seiza).
Another common piece of furniture used for meditation is a zafu, a small round cushion, which can help elevate your hips and may be more comfortable for meditators with knee pain.
Alternatively, you might choose to use a meditation bench, allowing your spine and lower back to rest in a neutral position.
In my experience, sound meditation can be one of the most helpful techniques available for gaining objectivity over the contents of our mind.
In a normal meditation space, ambient sounds generally reach you unless you’re in a hermetically sealed chamber, and easily be used as a focus for attention.
However, it’s also prudent not to deliberately set up your space noisy area, meaning you have to compete with excessive distraction.
Try and pick a reasonably quiet area and if it’s in a separate room, close the door if possible.
Personally, I have no lights on during meditation time, mainly due to the time of day I meditate.
I feel this allows for the brain waves to go into theta range, an optimum state for deep relaxation with feelings of extreme calmness and wakeful sleepiness.
I also tend to draw the curtains during my practice to avoid any strange looks from passers-by.
Note that too much or too little light can make it difficult to focus on the present moment.
When selecting a lamp for your meditation space, you need to consider the shade of the bulb.
Many people use all-white light bulbs, but this may not be ideal if you are looking to create an environment that feels intentional and calm.
If you do choose to use lighting, aim for warm and inviting.
Incense has been used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes for centuries and is an integral part of many rituals.
In this way, many people believe that burning incense can be used for more than just an aromatic effect.
You may find that burning incense is a way to cleanse the environment, combat stress and anxiety and provide a sense of well-being and peace.
These scents can come from natural products such as herbs and woods, or they can be commercially made using synthetic ingredients.
They come in a variety of different scents and consistencies, including sticks, cones, powders, and loose leaves, so experiment to see which variations have a positive effect on your practice.
Accessories and equipment
If you want to create an environment conducive to focus or relaxation, you may choose some accessories.
A candle can help create a peaceful atmosphere and set an intention for your meditation.
Plants are a wonderful addition to any space, which in addition to their decorative effects, promote a sense of restfulness and relaxation.
Likewise, Mandala art may help cultivate an atmosphere of presence which can also prove therapeutic.
Tibetan bells and singing bowls can be used to release tension in the mind and body, said by some to ease physical and emotional pain, thereby restoring a sense of wellbeing.
Other mindfulness equipment might include a Buddhist sculpture or head statue.
One of my favourite sayings is “outward order, inner calm.”
Remember that your internal landscape often reflects your immediate environment.
Trying to relax and reflect in a messy space may easy produce an overactive mind.
Clearing away such distractions by keeping your space clean and free from clutter helps cultivate a sense of calm.
A clean room feels more comfortable and welcoming, which are vital in maintaining a steady meditation habit.
The quest for inner peace has become increasingly difficult in recent times.
But there are ways to curb the chaos of everyday life. Meditation is one way to achieve inner peace and return to a natural state of being.
More than just a trend; it’s a scientifically proven method of reducing stress and increasing focus.
Remember though, don’t get bogged down by the details – meditation requires one basic tool, your breath.
“Anapanasati” or “Breath Meditation,” offers a simple way to enter an altered state of mind.
Simply start by setting aside 15-20 minutes in a quiet place. Then rinse and repeat.