Creating sacred space in your home and in your heart for your home practice is now more important than ever.
Your yoga mat and meditation cushion may have just become hugely important places in your home. They can be places of refuge, self-care, self-connection and reflection. And as the weeks go by and this extraordinary situation that we are ALL living develops, I feel that our home yoga and meditation practice will become even more important, helping us all to stay peaceful, positive and grounded in the present.
You can make your practice more powerful, meaningful and sacred by adding rituals.
Rituals have been used for all of human history to mark passages, to create ceremony, to celebrate and to bring people together. They remind us that we are part of something larger and greater than ourselves, and they allow us to tap into that universality.
The rituals you choose to add to your practice will change according to your needs and where you are on your journey. Right now, as well all move inside, I’m drawn to rituals that help me to send some light and love out into the world.
Here are 8 rituals that will empower your own practice and allow you to send out positive vibrations to friends, family and to the wider community from the comfort and safety of your own yoga mat. For best results, practice each one with a genuine sense of love and connection in your heart.
1 - Set your intention
Sending good vibes starts first with setting your intention. It’s about the higher vibration that you want to embody and carry with you through your practice, and then off the mat and into the world. How do you want to feel today? What energy do you want to project? Is there someone you’d like to support by dedicating your practice to them? Etc... Putting words to how you want to feel or what you’d like to focus on is very powerful. It could be a mantra or affirmation such as : I am love. I am joy. I am confidence. Sometimes it might just be: Everything will be OK. Find what feels right for you today. Set your intention, close your eyes and absorb it into your heart, then carry it with you through your whole practice.
2 - Cleanse and purify your space
Another good way to begin is to clear your practice space of negative energies and invite in positive ones. You can do this by burning some wild white sage, sustainably harvested palo santo, dried local cedar leaves or perhaps you’ve been gifted with a braid of sweetgrass.
Gently waft the smoke of your smouldering herb or wood around yourself and the room you are in, making sure to get into all corners to clear out any hidden negative energies. Tune into your intention and visualize pure positive energy to bring good vibrations into your space. Always open a window to release the negative energies trapped in the smoke.
3 - Light a candle in a window
At the beginning of your practice, light a candle in your window to signal and share your presence with others. At the end of your practice, as you blow out your candle, send a whoosh of positive thoughts and support out to your neighbours. (Don’t forget to keep the candle flame away from drafts, draperies and other flammable materials and never leave it unattended.)
4 - Send love, light and kindness through meditation
The Buddhists have a beautiful practice called “metta bhavana” to send loving kindness out into the world. You can send your own loving kindness out to others by chanting or repeating silently the following incantation (or any adaptation of this that feels good to you): “May you be happy, may you be well, may you be free from harm, may you be free to grow and thrive.” Start with yourself. Then think of a friend or loved one. Then think of all beings. Each time, repeat the wishes 5-10 times, or as many times as you need.
Another way of doing this is to visualize these wishes of love, light, peace and wellness as a beautiful golden glow. Again, start with yourself - see that glow start as a tiny flame in your heart, then grow and grow to flood your whole body with healing light. Now expand that glow out to the others in your home, then out to your neighbours, and to your wider community. And then out and out and out into the world. Allow yourself to visualize sending that golden glow of love and kindness travelling all around the globe, connecting you to everyone you know and then to everyone you don’t know. Remembering that we are all ONE. We are all the same. We are all in this together.
5 - Connect with something greater than yourself by burning incense
Incense burning is a very ancient and wide-spread ritual, and has been used for many different purposes. There is something magical and evocative about the fragrant fumes wafting upwards. It seems to me that it’s a wonderful way to connect with something greater than ourselves, and a way to connect us all together. Visualize the scented smoke rising upwards and outwards offering up your powerful intention to others. Burning incense creates the perfect atmosphere for focus and clarity in your practice. (Make sure you get all-natural plant-based incense - avoid inhaling chemicals!)
6 - Ring a singing bowl, chimes or a bell
Sound is vibration. Sounding a singing bowl, ringing some chimes or a bell causes waves of vibrations to ripple out into the world to other people who may hear it or sense the vibrations. So use these enchanting sounds to sending waves of loving kindness and positive vibrations to the rest of the world.
7 - Count your blessings
Gratitude puts everything into perspective, helps us to stay grounded and in the present, and to focus on what is real and truly important. At the end of your practice session, take a minute to two to list in your mind or your journal the people, the experiences, the lessons, the things you are grateful for in that moment. And be sure to express gratitude to yourself for showing up to practice.
8 - Make something and share it
With the peaceful, positive mindset of your practice, get creative! Paint a picture, compose and take a thoughtful photograph, create or test a healthy recipe, write a meaningful letter or message. Then send it to someone you care about through an email, a social media post, or the mail (thank you Canada Post for delivering our mail!).
For lots more ideas to cultivate and empower your home practice, see this round-up of our Helpful Ideas and Inspiration for Your Home Practice.
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