Creating a sacred space on a shoestring
We all envision a beautiful backyard studio with retractable walls, a bubbling stream, and tee lights lovingly dispersed among the ferns where we can reach enlightenment and create our beach body every morning before we rush the kids out the door or get the dogs walked. Unfortunately, the reality is often a very different picture and we can count ourselves lucky to carve out space in the living room corner amongst landmines of killer lego and dog hair.
In the spirit of practicality, we can forego the vision of an ashram in the spare bedroom and focus on a few vital aspects of creating a grounding and calm space in a busy household. Most importantly, the practice space has to be free of distractions. Loud noises, children, and dogs can all compromise our home practice and ability to be fully present for ourselves and others. Distractions can be minimized through the use of headphones or music, baby gates or room dividers, and practising early in the morning or after the household is settled. Consider your family and work routine, as well as personal daily energy level fluctuations to choose a time and place that is best. Lovingly explain to other family members this time is sacred and important for your well being; it will benefit everyone.
To practice physical poses,
a hard floor medium is important for long term health of wrist joints and stability in difficult poses. After exploring several inexpensive flooring options, I simply bought 2 pieces of ½ inch 4’x8’ plywood, stained them a beautiful Rosewood colour, and lay them directly on the carpet. For under $80 I had an 8’ by 8’ studio floor that was ready to go. If you have an area that must be converted to family living space after practice, any home supply store can custom cut plywood sheets to the size of your mat, easily flipped up or annexed to the closet when needed.
For ambience, the sky is limit and creativity shines. Sticking to a budget, I used a curtain rod and semi-sheer curtains from Ikea as a room divider, totalling $33, instead of a $350 bamboo room divider. Curtains are easily and elegantly tied back when not in use and offer a wonderful sense of cosiness and privacy. A string of patio lights from Costco costing $60 was used to create soft lighting and a sense of depth. Finally, I gathered items from around the house for the finishing touches. Throw pillows, candles, family photos, flowers, or any keepsake connected to your heart can inspire and deepen your practice.
Everything said and done, I spent around $200 and have space where I love to meditate, practice, cleanse, and work on teaching sequences and techniques. Life in the western world is hectic, but we can still hold that sacred space for practice in the home, a small spiritual oasis allowing us to nurture that which is sacred in ourselves.