Creating balance and harmony with little sacred spaces all over your home
What motivates you to practice yoga and meditation?
We each practice for a different reason. Many of us seek to explore our inner selves and to fuel our journeys of transformation through these ancient practices. Every practitioner’s intention will be different. It might be to find balance, joy, inspiration or clarity. It might be to find calm relaxation and release tensions. Perhaps we seek to cultivate healing energies. Or maybe we are working to manifest a particular energy or goal.
One of the best ways to obtain the most benefits from yoga and meditation is to dedicate space for it in your home, to create your personal sanctuary where you can retreat to for your practice.
Whatever you intention for your practice, an altar within your sanctuary will support and inspire your intention and empower your practice with carefully selected objects and ritual tools (incense, candles, palo santo etc.).
Altars have been used for tens of thousands of years as a focal point of spiritual practices and ceremonies. In our modern lives, an altar can be a sacred place in your home to focus your yoga and meditation practice, a way to support your intention and to transform your practice into a very personal experience that you will be motivated to return to day after day.
It can also be an inspirational place to go to when you need to find balance, peace, quietude. And a reminder to stay grounded in the present moment.
There is a certain energy created by your focus and intention that turns your altar into a very special and powerful place, a place of connection. Altars help us to connect with the sacred, with the ancient wisdom of yoga and meditation, and with our own inner teacher.
It’s such a powerful little place. So why not have little altars everywhere in your home?
Having several altars around your home can create a serene and peaceful atmosphere, making it a place of balance and harmony, and a reflection of your inner world. So that your entire home becomes your sanctuary, sacred personal space and an expression of your soul.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR ALTAR
Start with your intention
Your altar should always support and inspire your intention (such as finding balance, cultivating compassion for self and others, forgiveness, healing, manifestation…). So it’s important to keep your intention in mind, like a mantra, and let it guide you as you create your altar.
Find a place for your altar
It could be a specifically created altar table or any low table or small chest in your home practice sanctuary. And you can create altars anywhere, of any size. For example you might choose:
With several altars around your home, you’ll have as many little sacred spots to rest a moment to quiet your mind, as a visual reminder of your intention and a place to look for inspiration. Each altar might have a different purpose.
Choose the objects for your altar with care
You can get very sophisticated with your altar, taking into consideration the directions, numbers, and sacred geometry to create grid layouts. But if you are new to altar-making, keep it simple (I always keep it simple) and use your imagination and intuition.
Whatever objects you place on your altar or in your sanctuary should be meaningful, intentional and personal. I call them power objects. But your altar is not just a place to collect objects - whatever you choose for your altar becomes symbolic of your intention and of your spiritual journey. So choose with care. You could choose:
Care for your altar, treat it with reverence
Use sage and palo Santo to purify your sacred space, clearing it of negative energies and inviting in positive energy. Keep it immaculate, renew and refresh your altar from time to time, according to your changing intentions or the seasons. Caring for your altar is a way of honouring your practice and yourself.
LITTLE ALTARS EVERYWHERE
Use little altars to create serene harmony and a peaceful energy all over your home. In your practice sanctuary, your living room, bedroom, kitchen, den, entryway, office, outdoor deck... You might have little altars already, without knowing it, your groupings of meaningful objects and treasures that inspire you. Now you can create them and use them more intentionally, to support your practice and your life. Your altars can change with your intention and your needs, change with the season. Here are some ideas to inspire you to create your own altars around your home and even your office.
An altar in you personal home practice sanctuary is essential to a powerful and motivating practice. This would be a permanent sacred space, and you can renew it and refresh it as you feel inspired. Find a beautiful table or chest you can use, a place you can focus your practice, with space in front for your yoga mat and your meditation cushions.
A window sill is a wonderful place for an altar. You could use any window sill in your home as a tiny altar. Connected to the light streaming in. Sometimes I like to move my meditation cushions to sit in front of a window overlooking the trees for my meditation practice. So I use the window sill as an altar.
Using a beautiful tray as your altar is a great idea, because it makes it portable. Your tray should be easy to transport and as large as you need to contain a few power objects and your ritual tools. If you have taken your practice out into your garden or your deck for the summer, this portable altar came easily come with you. Find a tray and spend a few moments creating a movable altar.
Finding ways to make your workspace more peaceful and meditative will help you stay focused and grounded during the day. In fact I’ve turned my entire desk into a tiny peaceful sanctuary. Instead of a regular desk, I use one of the HUM custom-built live-edge altar tables and I sit on my HUM meditation cushions. I have a mini altar on my desk where I keep objects that inspire me and remind me of my focus and intention while I work. I’ve collected totems and amulets and meaningful objects. For example: a tiny carnelian carving of a lion reminds me to stay strong in the face of adversity; two tiny seed cones of a giant sequoia inspire me to remember that great things start small; scrolls of hand made paper where I write my intentions; a postcard with a special message written on the back reminds me to believe in myself and my ideas.
I also decorate my office with arrangements of natural elements that are serene and harmonious, like my arrangement of vases filled with sea shells, unusual stones, desert sand, and other natural treasures I’ve collected on my travels. This altar has followed me from office to office. Little corners like this, on a shelf or a side table, can create a tiny oasis, a space you can look at to find a moment of peace, calm and connection to nature in the midst of a busy day.
I often burn incense before I begin to work. It helps me focus, it invites clarity, and signals of moving from a busy, distracted state of mind to one that is quiet and peaceful, open to inspiration. It's a personal ritual.
What symbolic objects or treasures would you put on your desk altar?
Do you spend a lot of time in your kitchen? If you do, like me, then it’s a good idea to add a little altar to bring a sense of calm. You could create an altar on a shelf, the centre of your kitchen island, a table. I have a corner of my counter in front of a window that has become a little altar. It’s the place I keep my morning and afternoon ritual tools - tea. This little corner symbolizes peacefulness and positive energy. I keep my selections of loose-leaf tea in beautiful containers, souvenirs of a visit to the Tea Museum in Hong Kong, a glass bird my mother gave me, my grandfather’s tea cup. I always have an orchid or a bouquet of flowers or herbs from my garden, connecting me with the outside. An oracle card and some crystals add uplifting messages. It’s a little place I see many times a day, and that always provides uplifting, joyful energy.
You can really use your imagination and create a beautiful outdoor sanctuary in your yard, garden, deck or balcony. The same principles to create your indoor altar, outlined above, apply to an outdoor altar. You can use statues, crystals, candles, wind chimes, pots of flowers and plants, use the trees and bushes, create a ground mandala or a zen garden. Practicing outside is a beautiful way to connect with the power of nature.
I’d love to see your altars! Please post your pictures on Instagram and tag @hum_yogaandmeditation.
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