Meditation offers an array of benefits for your body, mind and spirit. Enthusiasts claim the practice can do anything from easing chronic pain to helping you touch divinity.
However, you need an appropriate location to spread out your mat. Here are five steps to creating a peaceful place for meditation.
It isn’t always easy to carve out a space to hear yourself think. The problem compounds if you share an apartment with noisy roommates or have several littles making nonstop pitter-patter with their little feet. However, you can get creative even in a studio by insulating an area to find your zen.
Start by creating barriers. You can build a wall if you own your property or use a folding divider if you rent a studio. You can even strategically place your furniture to muffle sound — your couch can absorb some of the noise from a TV. Lining your space with soft blankets also helps stifle any echoes. If you’re fortunate enough to have a separate meditation room, seal your windows and doors for the ultimate in soundproofing.
You won’t find many yoga studios with bright fluorescent overhead lights as their sole source of illumination. Set the mood for contemplation with gentle, ambient lighting that induces a calm, reflective state.
Should you use candles? It depends on the variety you choose. Typical paraffin wax models can release toxins like benzene into your indoor air. This chemical may contribute to cancer and allergies and is harmful to the unborn. Instead, seek those made with soy or beeswax if you must use an open flame. Better yet, switch to electric models and eliminate the fear you’ll burn down your house if you accidentally walk away with one still lit.
You can also use natural light. Some people prefer to create outdoor meditation areas in their gardens. Spending time in nature helps improve your mood and boost immune function, so consider this option if you have the space.
Anyone can meditate. You don’t have to subscribe to any particular religion, such as Buddhism or Hinduism. However, it might help you feel reflective if you surround yourself with visual representations of your connection with the divine if you are among the faithful.
If you consider yourself an atheist, you can still outfit your peaceful meditation space with images and objects that make you feel calm, relaxed and happy. For example, you might include framed photographs of your favorite outdoor vacation destinations or trinkets your children have handmade for you over the years.
If you walk into nearly any yoga studio or health spa, you’ll notice pleasant if delicate aromas wafting in the air. Aromatherapy can help you get into the right mental headspace for meditation. The scent molecules stimulate receptors in your nose that send messages through your brain to your limbic system, the part of your neurology overseeing emotions.
You can use any fragrance that delights you. Lavender is a popular choice as it induces a relaxed state. However, if patchouli or nag champa is more your style, feel free to add a few drops to your diffuser. The extra humidity these devices pump out comes with the bonus of keeping your skin more supple during the dry winter months.
Many experts recommend sitting in meditation for no more than two to three minutes at a time when you first start your practice. You’ll be surprised how long that short span feels if you’re new.
However, you’ll eventually want to lengthen your ritual. Make longer mediation sessions possible by investing in soft pillows and supports to create a cozy haven. You can find cushions designed for sitting in a lotus or a sukhasana position, but anything that supports your hip and back will work.
Meditation is glorious for your mind, body and soul. Create a peaceful place for your practice with a few thoughtful tips.
Join Panache Desai each weekday morning for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.
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