creating a sacred space | cora geroux
posted: February 23, 2014
Ambassador for our Mosman Store, writer and yoga teacher (that has one amazing blog and a totally killer Pinterest board), yep, we’re talking about Cora Geroux. Cora breaks down how we can bring the sacred space of the yoga studio, into our own home. Wait, are you saying we can have yoga studio vibes in our living room? Yes. Yes we are.
creating a sacred space
“Your sacred space is wherever you can find yourself again and again.” – Joseph Campbell
We all crave the warm embrace of a sacred space, the smell of burning incense wafting into the street, the expansive yet inward call of silence, the precious gift of time to look inside. As our culture shifts more and more away from organized religion – we are now asked to define our own spirituality – what we believe, how we worship and what that looks like in our life. As a yoga teacher, I see it more and more – people are coming to class, not just for the workout, but for the experience – the experience of a sacred space.
I remember the ambience, the dim lighting, the smell of my very first yoga class – it all created the setting for something magical to happen, and this is what brought me back again and again in those early years. As my home practice of yoga and meditation began to flourish I made a conscious effort to bring the sacred space of the yoga studio into my bedroom. With a little care and intention, you can turn any space into the backdrop for your inner work.
1. set your intention & ask for guidance
Before every practice or teaching a class I say a little prayer. It varies from time to time, day-to-day, year-to-year – and you can change it to suit your own preferences, but for me it usually looks a little something like this.
Dear _________________ (Universe, God, Shiva etc.),
May all those that enter this space find happiness,
May all those that enter this space find peace,
May all those that enter this space feel love in their hearts,
May all those that enter this space find the courage to live their hearts desire,
May all those that enter this space be guided by divine intelligence.
If you have something specific you want to work on, or something special that you want to ask for guidance with – now is the time to ask. Make it clear.
2. clear the space
While I am saying my prayer, I walk around the perimeter of the room I am in with incense or a smudge stick (a large roll of sage leaves) and I allow the smoke to cleanse and clear the space. You can also allow the smoke to cleanse your body, mind and spirit by gently wafting it over yourself from toe to head.
I don’t always do this, but it is a beautiful ritual when you have the time.
3. set the mood
Get creative, whatever floats your boat – candles, incense, soft music – Waves Of Light by Jonathan Goldman is a personal favourite. This can be as simple as lighting a tea light candle, or as complex as you can imagine, but do something, however small to differentiate this as ‘sacred time’. You are creating a physical shift in your environment.
4. surround yourself with meaningful objects
Again, this can be as simple or complex as you like. You can add a single crystal, mala beads, a special cup of tea, a picture of a god/goddess, or an element from nature. You can create a little alter if you like, to anchor your sacred space. If you often travel or the change location of your practice, choose one element of your sacred space that can travel with you. This little reminder in your pocket can work wonders as a traveling alter when you are practicing at the beach, or in a hotel room. It will remind you of your sacred space at home and the work the energy that has accumulated there.
Now that your space is set it’s time to practice – whatever that means to you – yoga, meditation, prayer, self-reflection – the energy of your practice will infuse the space and create a positive energetic charge. It is often said that one should keep the same space for yoga, mediation, prayer etc. as this positive energy builds up and will allow your practice to flow with ease and reach new depths more easily. I like this idea in theory – but don’t get too locked down to it. Not being able to practice in the same place everyday is no excuse not to practice.
Above all else, your sacred space is unique to you. Allow your likes, dislikes and experiences to determine how and what you bring into your space. Make it meaningful to you, and you’ll find yourself with the energy and ambience of your local yoga studio right at home.
Cora Geroux is an international yoga teacher & writer from Canada. She now makes her home in Sydney. She teaches Vinyasa & Yin classes weekly, and holds workshops regularly. At the request of her students, she has recently launched an eCourse called ‘Get Better Sleep – Naturally’. You can check out Cora’s schedule and find out more about her at coraandbodhi.com.