Creating a Home Altar

(my little satellite altar that lives on a bench by the stairs)

(my little satellite altar that lives on a bench by the stairs)

In our not-so-new-anymore house, I had endeavored to design the. perfect meditation spot. I chose a beautiful room with spectacular light, crafted a small place for candles, incense, a meditation cushion, some inspiring poetry, and I was good to go. Or so I thought. There was one important consideration I had not yet taken into account. This space was and is a shared space with my husband, and in this shared space lives our (or more accurately his) TV. 

Quite the opposite of my own ideal morning or evening ritual, my husband likes to wind up and down with a dose of SportsCenter, the news, and the occasional Netflix documentary.  Sanskrit chants and reflective journaling doesn't mix too well with highlights of last night's games.  

Nevertheless, I love my ESPN-loving husband and believe relationships are all about compromise and creativity. I also imagine those of you with kids, dogs, roommates, or all of the above, have to get even more inventive when it comes to private time and space. I bow to you in this endeavor. 

So back to my perfect space issue. What to do? Freak out? Move my yogic space forever to a room with less than perfect light? Build another floor strictly for my own princess-and-the-pea meditation experience? 

Luckily I gathered my sanity, and a few key altar pieces to create a satellite space for myself in our living room in a sweet little nook next to the stairs. Though it's sort of in the middle of everything, it works. It's a place I can use when TV-watching is happening, and I can go there with grace and ease.

A sacred space at home is one of the sweetest things you can create for yourself. Here follow six recommendations to create your own special space in whatever room, corner or nook you have available:

LIGHT A CANDLE. There is something about striking a match and igniting something that allows me to step into a space of reverence.  Even if I only have two minutes to meditate, that burning flame provides a way to center and calm any fragmented energy. 

CLEANSE. The Maya believe that incense is the scent of the spirit and the essence of life. Burning copal or sage helps to eliminate negativity in a space and can serve as a reminder to respect and ritualize time spent there. 

GROUND THE SPACE. What I love about grounding is it can be so literal. A rock, a small plant, a crystal. Something that will help you connect to the earth. 

INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE. Whether it's grandma, Mother Mary, a goddess card, a picture of B.K.S. Iyengar, or a mixture of spiritual leaders (as mine currently contains), having an image of someone you admire and deeply respect can provide necessary inspiration and motivation to become your best self. 

FLOWERS.  Scent is one of the most important senses we have. Setting a vase of flowers or even a small bowl of dried rose petals as part of your altar can eleveate a little nook to a place of honor and beauty. 

SHOW UP.  Try to pick a time (AM is always best for me), and stick to it. Show up for yourself as if it were a meeting with your boss, or an old friend. Ultimately, you should be both in relationship with yourself. You are worth it. 

I hope these tips are useful to creating a space that you can return to for centering, clarity, and peace. After all, the only thing you really need is your breath. For any recommendations on extra accoutrements see some of my favorites below.