What is a sacred place?
What is a sacred place?
The word, “sacred,” conjures up all kinds of ideas: an ashram in rural India, a Zen hideaway at a mountain retreat or a magical crystal-lined cave under a beautiful waterfall. And this sort of makes sense as being in any or all of those places is likely to help you to get into a special mindset. (Read about How to Create an Ashram Vibe in Your Home.)
But in reality, if we want sacred places in our lives on a regular basis, how many of us actually have access to those kinds of places? Do we need to go somewhere remote and exotic in order to find a sacred place? I think not.
To me, a sacred place is anywhere you choose to hold space for yourself. It is sacred because it is a place in which you allow yourself to just be. You let go of your to-do list, you let go of your self-imposed rules and limitations, and you surrender to the present moment. (Read more in 'Holding Space': What Does it Mean?)
All of this sounds suspiciously like doing yoga, and it is. In the practice of yoga, our intention is to make our yoga mat and the space of our practice a sacred place. One of my most sacred places when I first discovered yoga was a community hall with biscuit crumbs on the carpet and a neglected display of children’s drawings on the wall. This humble place became a little haven of peace, tranquility and surrender in my manic week. It was the location of my first Yin yoga class; and for that, it will forever be marked in my mind as sacred. (Learn more on The Benefits of Yin Yoga.)
But if you are feeling somewhat uninspired by your surroundings, there a few things you can do to make any place feel sacred. Here are my top five tips:
- Remove any distractions. Switch off or hide your phone and close the door. (Learn more in The Joys of Unplugging.)
- Make the conscious choice as to whether you prefer silence of music. Both have their value, the key thing is choosing what works for you.
- Light a candle. This simple act is a powerful way to change the atmosphere of your space.
- Cultivate a sense of ceremony. As you establish your space, consider the way that you are marking it out as sacred. Move mindfully, and set an intention for the space to be a place of peace and acceptance.
- Be present. Once you have set up your space, take some time to simply be in it. Bring your awareness into the present moment, and take it all in. Drop your thinking and let yourself just be there. (Learn about The Art of Mindfulness.)