Creating a Space for Meditation: Considerations for all Senses
Rather than make our lives more relaxed and more simple, technology seems to have complicated them. We seem to always be connected through texts, calls, emails and social media. There may be instant messages from our employers to respond to. In addition, many people get news and weather alerts directly sent to their smartphones. Today, we are often asked to do so much more, and even increasing our personal obligations make decompressing more difficult.
For centuries, meditation has been shown to be an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. It promotes emotional health and helps us become more self-aware. It can help us become kinder and help fight addictions. It may even reduce age-related memory loss and help increase our attention spans. Meditation has been and continues to be a valuable way for millions of people to improve the quality of their lives. The problem? It is hard to find the time and maybe even harder to find a place for ourselves to rejuvenate on a daily basis.
If you are ready to enhance your body, mind, and spirit through meditation, it is important to be able to create a space where you can be alone and maximize the experience. This guide is designed to help you do just that. We'll explore the various factors to consider when deciding on your meditation space, and how the time of day or night you decide to practice meditation may affect your decision. We'll discuss ways you can make your space more comfortable for meditation and the importance of controlling noise. We'll even get into aromatherapy and how colors play a role in helping you reach a meditative state.
Table of Contents
- Factors to Consider When Creating a Meditation Space
- Designing a Room for Meditation
- Choose a Stress-Free Area (And Keep It That Way)
- Don't Allow Clutter
- Plants and Other Natural Touches
- The Right Seating
- Add Elevation If Needed
- A Good Sound System
- Incorporate Aromatherapy
- Ventilation and Air Quality
- Paint Color Matters
- Proper Lighting
- Minimize Presence of Screens
- Create a Space YOU Enjoy
- How to Soundproof Your Space from Outdoor Noise
- Other Helpful Resources
- Thinking of Your Home in a Different Way
Factors to Consider When Creating a Meditation Space
Assuming you will not be constructing a separate outbuilding or building an addition to your home, you will need to consider several factors in creating your meditation space. The first will be the space available to you. Is there an underused office or family room in your home? Perhaps there is a guest bedroom that is rarely used. You may even have a sunroom, exercise area, patio or deck that can serve as your meditation space.
Part of your consideration should include the sound levels in the space. Obviously noisy areas are less conducive to meditating. You should also take into account the time of day that you plan to meditate. Privacy is also an important consideration as is the size of the space available.
One of the significant factors that determine the quality of meditation space is the sound level. Do you desire your space to be as silent as possible? Will music be used to enhance the mood of the area? Is there ambient natural noise like birds that are easy to deal with or will there be traffic noise to manage? Not every place is as quiet as Pine Ridge Condos are, so it's important to consider common sources of noises and adjust accordingly.
Because noise tends to pull a person out of a meditative space, the quieter the space is, the more conducive it will be for meditation.
Throughout this guide we will address sound on a variety of levels. The point here is if you have a choice between an area of your home that is quieter than another, choose the quieter option. It will be easier to convert to a meditation space with a beneficial ambiance.
What Time of Day do you Plan to Meditate?
Prior to determining your space, it pays to consider the time of day it will be best for you to meditate. There are multiple reasons for this, with one being personal preference. Do you think you will benefit more from a morning or evening meditation? Do you have plans to meditate multiple times per day? How will the angle of the sun affect your space? How about other family members? Is your home noisier and busier in the morning or at night? Will your space be subject to noise from rush hour or other family members watching television?
At first glance, the time you meditate wouldn't seem to impact the space you choose. To some degree, this may be true if you live alone. If you share your home with others (such as roommates or family members), they will most certainly make a difference. Before investing the time and money on developing your meditation space, pay some attention to the noise and workflow of your home at certain times. Determine when the best time will be for you to meditate and act accordingly.
At its optimum, your meditation space should be as private as possible. Depending on your specific situation, this may be challenging. Few may have an ideal space that is not being used for anything else and separate from the rest of the house.
There are some steps you can take that can serve as compromises to a less-than-perfect situation. These include at least making sure the space has a door that can be closed and even potentially locked. If the door does not lock, place a sign to alert others that meditation may be in progress. If you have to compromise further, at least use a curtain or beads as a physical “barrier” that separates your space from the rest of the home. This is important for several reasons. It is a signal that your space is special and designed specifically for the purpose of meditation. It also helps to keep you meditating on a daily basis because you created the space just for that purpose. If your Trails End Condo faces other condos - and that makes you uncomfortable while meditating - consider getting heavy curtains you can draw when you need privacy.
If there are others who live in the house, it is important for them to understand how valuable your time meditating is to you and they should respect your space and privacy. You do not need to be distracted or self-conscious about meditating, and privacy is an important way to accomplish both.
Choosing the space for meditation often involves prioritizing the activity. Meditation should become an important part of your life, at least significant enough to carve out space for it. It should be taken at least as seriously as physical exercise, so at the very least, a portion of any exercise area should be converted to meditation space. Rather than share the entire space, it can be more effective to divide the space, creating two separate areas in the room. This concept of dividing rather than sharing can also work in a home office area.
Using a guest room as meditation space is frequently the best option for many, especially if guests only use the room several times a year. Rather than a large bed, perhaps the room could have a pull-out couch or futon that can convert when guests spend the night. Obviously, most guest rooms offer some privacy with locking doors.
Depending on the house and property, a “she-shed” or “he-shed” could be used for meditation. A separate, quiet basement space or perhaps even an area in a garage if it can be made comfortable and quiet enough are also options for a meditation space.
If noise and weather aren't much of an issue, there are outdoor spaces that can serve nicely to meditate. These can include a tranquility garden, pagoda, sunroom, deck or balcony. At Sawmill Creek Condos, for instance, there are multiple places to meditate without much or any interruption from other residents. The space should promote a sense of peace and tranquility and should be away from traffic noise, kids playing or dogs barking.
Once a space has been carefully chosen, it is time to design and prepare it to enhance your experience.
Designing a Room for Meditation
Designing a room for meditation takes some time, financial investment and a reflection upon what makes you comfortable and relaxed. It should be a pleasant area, that if possible, uses abundant natural sunlight. Even if your choice of meditation space is less than perfect, there are design choices you can make to get the most out of the area.
The key is selecting a stress-free area and making a commitment to keep it that way. You'll want the space to be as clutter-free as possible. This is why sharing an office or home gym area may not always be the best option. These areas may subliminally be associated with work or stress, which can hinder quality meditation.
If you live in a moderate climate, getting outdoors in a garden or other peaceful exterior space can be a valuable option. Even if you choose an interior room, plants and natural materials can help bring some of that natural “feel” indoors.
Seating should be carefully chosen. While appearance is part of the equation, comfort and the ability to put you in the proper frame of mind is essential. Elevation can play a part in your meditation space.
There are other enhancements you can make as well. You may want to add a sound system and install an app such as Unplug Meditation that can be that can be played aloud through your iPhone, iPad speakers or on AppleTV so you can turn your whole home into a meditation studio. The air quality in a space may be able to be improved. Lighting and colors make an impact.
It is time to make your space your own. Here are some aspects to consider.
Choose a Stress-Free Area (And Keep It That Way)
You have probably walked into a room that made you feel uncomfortable or stressed. You may not even be able to place your finger on it, but for some reason, it seems out of balance or not in harmony. On the other hand, you may have also walked into an area that seemed peaceful, tranquil and comfortable. This is the type of room you want to create and maintain as your meditation space.
Choosing a stress-free area is an important step in creating your space for meditating. If the space is comfortable, additional design decisions should only serve to enhance that atmosphere.
It is important to recognize that the goal here is not just in creating such an environment but to keep it that way. It helps to become sensitive to bringing items into the room that may be associated with or can cause stress. You can benefit from taking a minimalist approach in this area. In other words, avoid clutter.
Don't Allow Clutter
It can be far too easy to allow a meditation space to backslide into a storage area or a place where you allow things to accumulate. This will quickly defeat your efforts in creating a calming, peaceful space. Clutter simply cannot be accepted in this space.
Clutter is disrespectful to the space and diminishes the importance this area should play in your life. It creates a distraction while trying to meditate and can absorb positive, calming energy from the room.
Your meditation space can benefit from a less-equals-more mentality. There should be plenty of open space and whether it is a piece of furniture or decorative item, each item should make a positive contribution to the space.
There may be forces telling you it is “just a stool” or “only a few boxes” or “we'll just put it here temporarily”. Just say no. Once you have your clutter-free space, be diligent in keeping it that way.
Plants and Other Natural Touches
Outdoor tranquility gardens serve as such terrific meditation areas because they are created using plants, flowers, trees, and even water features. This combination of sights, sounds and smells from Mother Nature can be the perfect combination to promote a meditative state. If you don't have the outdoor space, skills or climate for a tranquility garden, however, there are still ways to bring nature into your indoor meditation space.
The obvious place to start is with a variety of plants that can both serve to clean the air while providing a more natural environment. Consider large potted plants for corners and potted and hanging plants in other areas. You'll want to make sure any plants have access to enough natural sunlight.
You can also bring natural materials into your space to align the energy of the room. Cut flowers, seashells, and driftwood are helpful. Stones, geodes, and crystals are a nice choice. Consider natural cloths like burlap.
If you find the sound of trickling water pleasing, choose an indoor water fountain or rockfall feature to add to the ambiance. This is your space, so choose the elements that are pleasing and comforting to you.
The Right Seating
The seating you choose for your meditation area may be based on several factors. Is the space just for you and just for meditation? Will it be used for others who meditate in the family or will the room be used for other purposes when not used for meditating?
If the room will be used just for you and just for meditating, this is an opportunity to be a bit self-indulgent. Choose comfortable seating based on your preferences. It may be a specialized chair, a bean bag chair or an assortment of pillows and cushions. If it is used by others in the household who meditate, make sure they have input into the group seating.
If the room is used for other purposes, do your best to maintain the integrity of the space by choosing soft, comfortable materials for seating. Many times, this seating is lower and closer to the floor.
The key to seating in a meditation room is comfort. It should allow users to place themselves in a calm and quiet position quickly without stress or anxiety.
Add Elevation If Needed
As mentioned, many prefer to meditate either on the floor or on cushions and/or pillows that place them closer to the floor, but it is not required. After all, this space is all about personal comfort and peace of mind. For comfort, personal preference or physical ability, elevation may be used in your space to enhance your experience.
Elevation may be created using benches, lounge chairs or rocking chairs. You may want to consider a hammock or swinging chair suspended from a beam in the ceiling. As long as the piece is comfortable and promotes calmness, it should be considered.
Keep in mind the seating and elevation options you decide upon for your space to be fluid. They may change as you discover what works best for you. That is part of the meditation experience. You may want to keep several seating options depending on your mood and how your neck, back or legs may be feeling. This is your space to relax and rejuvenate. Take advantage of it.
A Good Sound System
While some prefer a meditation space that is as quiet as possible, there are those who are drawn to a space with a sound system. This can be particularly helpful in covering unwanted ambient noises that may be leaking into your space.
A sound system can be used to play soothing background music or play natural sounds like birds, ocean surf, or sounds of the night. If you are going to add a sound system, take the time and use the resources to make sure it provides quality sound.
Traditional sound systems have four basic elements.
- The Source. This is the component that creates the sound. It may be a CD player, digital player, AM/FM tuner or turntable.
- A Pre-Amplifier. This serves as a switching component that allows the user to switch between sources. It also serves to increase volume without distortion.
- A Power Amplifier. This drives the speakers, creating the sound to fill a room.
- Speakers. Many believe these are the key to a superb sound system. (It is no longer necessarily true that bigger is better when it comes to speakers. Acoustic engineering has improved so that high-quality sound can be produced by smaller speaker systems.)
If you are using a multi-speaker system, separate left and right channels will provide a fuller sound for the room. Some will go so far as to acquire a surround sound system to provide a more theater-quality audio experience.
The source you use for your audio is critical in that you want it to be as hands-free as possible. In other words, while you are meditating, you don't want to have to stop to change discs, sources or be interrupted by commercials. You may want to consider an ad-free streaming service as the source of your audio.
Even if you are not a big fan, smooth jazz and even some classical music can serve as perfect mood setters. As previously mentioned, nature's sound can also be a superb choice.
The goal of meditation is to promote the health and wellness of the body, mind, and spirit. Essential oil therapy or aromatherapy uses natural plant extracts to promote these same benefits. Combined, the two are even more powerful.
Essential oils that promote relaxation and stress relief are particularly potent when used in combination with meditation. The essential oils that can reduce stress and anxiety include:
- Ylang Ylang
- Clary Sage
Delivery systems for essential oil scents range from simple stick diffusers to more technologically advanced digital diffusers. If properly diluted, the oils can also be placed on the skin.
Aromatherapy helps sets the “mood” of your meditation space and can assist you in reaching deeper, more rejuvenating meditative states. Its benefits can help you even outside of the meditation space.
Along with adding many benefits, candles create a certain atmosphere and help bring stillness to a meditation space. Candle meditation even has its own name; trataka.
With trataka, the flame of a candle is the focus of meditation. As humans, we are naturally drawn to fire and the flame has hypnotic qualities. As the mind settles down, it can better focus on mindfulness and insight.
Trataka is said to help relieve insomnia and improve the quality of sleep. It relieves anxiety and improves clarity. It can also improve muscles around the eyes and potentially improve eyesight.
Practicing trataka is relatively simple. Get yourself in a comfortable position and place the flame at eye level so you will not have to stretch or slouch. It is then a matter of centering your focus on the flame.
Of course, candles don't have to be the focus of a meditation space. They can serve as ambient lighting, and scented candles can serve as aromatherapy.
Be careful to keep any candles away from any flammable materials. Jarred candles can be more stable and safer than stick candles. If you want to ensure safety even further, choose battery-operated candles that have a flickering effect without the dangers of an open flame.
Ventilation and Air Quality
You'll likely spend some significant time in your meditation space so the quality of the air is important. Air that is clean, clear and fresh can help you relax.
If you have ever walked along the ocean, you may have experienced the power of fresh, clean and ionized air. It almost makes you want to take a deep breath and relaxes you as you do so. Air purifiers and ionizers can have a similar effect. Many modern air purifiers/ionizers are whisper-quiet as to not add distracting noise to the space. The difference can be noticeable and beneficial.
If a purifier/ionizer is not in the budget, do what you can to improve fresh air circulation in the room when it is not in use. Keep air from becoming stale or stagnant by opening windows. A ceiling fan on low speed can also be beneficial in keeping the air fresh and moving.
Paint Color Matters
Some believe that dark colors provide the best backdrop for a meditation space. Others prefer soft pastels. The bottom line is this is your space and the colors that make you feel comfortable and at peace are the colors you should choose.
Whichever direction you go, however, the colors should work together and be in harmony with each other. Colors and hues should not fight with each other and work toward directing attention to a focal point in the room. When entering the space, the colors should be soothing and relaxing. Avoid harsh colors and colors that are dramatically opposed to each other.
Along with the colors in your space, the appropriate lighting can make a significant positive impact in the room.
Lighting is a powerful way to adjust the mood and set the atmosphere in a room. There are probably a lot more choices in lighting today than you may realize.
At the very least, any whole room lighting should be transferred from a simple on/off switch to a light dimmer. A dimmer allows you to adjust the lighting from daylight brightness to a soft glow. From there, the choices continue to multiply.
Most prefer lighting in a meditation space that is indirect or diffused. If you are choosing a table or desk lamp, choose one with an oversized shade that prevents the bulb from directly being viewed and provides soft lighting. Lamps that are made of woods and natural materials can also add to the atmosphere.
Another good lighting choice for a meditation room is a Himalayan Crystal or salt lamp, or a Selenite lamp that is said to have healing and calming powers. Some prefer tiny, firefly-like meditation lights that can mimic the evening stars.
You have an opportunity to get creative with textures, colors, and placement of light for your space. LED lighting options are virtually limitless in how variable they can be. Don't be afraid to experiment. If it helps to add to your bliss, go for it.
Of course, you will want to have control of any natural light entering the room. While natural light is frequently welcomed in meditation space, there are times when you may want softer light or even desire near darkness. Darkening shades, blinds, and curtains can help you control natural light.
Minimize Presence of Screens
Screens play an important role in our daily lives. Screens are used in our smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets, and TVs. There are screens on digital clocks, watches, and other devices. They, however, have no place in a peaceful, stress-free meditation room.
Not only are the screens a distraction, but they also remind us of our daily stress-filled lives outside of the room. This can take us out of our Zen-like state.
If you are using a shared space like a home-office, cover any screens so they can not be seen and leave your smartphone outside of the space. This is an important time to disconnect and shed your anxiety. While at first, it may seem leaving your smartphone outside of the space will actually be creating anxiety, over time you will discover the benefits of disconnecting if only for 20 minutes or an hour.
Create a Space YOU Enjoy
There is a lot of advice and suggestions available for creating meditation space, most of which have value. The most significant thing to keep in mind, however, is that this is your space. It should feel good to you and serve to help you decompress. But it's a bit different from just designing an attractive space. This is a space that has a purpose.
It should be calming and warming. It should minimize distractions and use natural elements to help you better connect with nature and yourself.
If you want to experiment with a background of soft jazz or classical music, try it. If it doesn't enhance your experience, move on. Go ahead and try candles, salt lamps and aromatherapy. What works amazingly for someone may be less effective for another. While you should not be afraid to experiment and try new elements in your room, be aware of what works for you. If you come off a particularly rewarding meditation experience, make note of why it was so valuable to you. The more you meditate in a space, the more it should reflect what works for you.
The space you create should be so amazing, so rewarding and so beneficial to your daily life, that meditation becomes an increasingly critical part of your day. It should be space you enjoy.
How to Soundproof Your Space from Outdoor Noise
One of the key ways to create your individual or group meditation space is to isolate it, at least to some degree, from the outside world. Traffic noise, children playing and dogs barking will not help create a meditative state. The answer can be found in soundproofing.
For those in the entertainment, recording and music industries, soundproofing is a way of life. It is a way of managing sound waves to get the desired result. In terms of meditative space, soundproofing is often used to isolate the space from outside sounds. It can also be used to create a certain audio-centric quality within the space or even prevent sound from escaping and bothering others.
Sound management or manipulation is a science. The use of various sound-absorbing materials placed in specific areas can create the desired result. The benefits of sound-absorbing materials in a meditation room can be tremendous.
You don't need to be a sound engineer to understand the basic premises of soundproofing and how sound can be best managed to serve your purposes. It can help to understand some basic soundproofing and acoustic principles however, which will affect the quality of your space.
Tips to Help with Noise Absorption
Unless you have an extraordinary space in your home and a significant budget for soundproofing, it may be a challenge to totally control the sound entering your meditation space. There may be the occasional barking dog, jet flyover or ambulance siren that may invade your area. The more you know and understand the elements of noise reduction, the more successful you will be at controlling it.
Noise reduction starts with understanding the more barriers that are placed between you and the source of any undesirable sounds, the better. These “barriers” can be distance, air, concrete, wood, drywall and soundproofing material. Air is a superb sound barrier, especially when trapped in a material.
This is easy to understand. If you place your forehead on the interior of a solid wood door and someone pounds on the outside, it will get your attention. If they pound on a storm door, however, and you are in another room, the impact will be much less. A car horn, for example, from inside your garage will likely get your attention a lot more than one blown from a block or two away.
How Sound Insulation Works
There is specifically designed sound insulation material that is created for managing and absorbing noise. Most often, it is made from foam and cut at various angles to deflect the sound from bouncing. Instead, it is absorbed into the foam-like material.
Sound insulation is also made of “blankets” of various thickness to control sound from getting into or out of a room. These cushions or blankets are usually hung on the sidewalls of an area to increase soundproofing.
Sound insulation is designed to prevent sound from bouncing and to be absorbed. That is why many sound studios have insulation placed at odd angles to prevent echos. Bouncing sound also has an undesirable amplification quality that can be detrimental to a space designed for meditation.
Virtually everything in a room, however, will absorb sound, especially if it is made of fabric or softer material. A couch, padded chair, and even a large plant will serve to deflect and absorb sound. Curtains hanging from the ceiling or along walls will also help absorb sound.
Stop Noise from Getting In
You should first understand that sound is coming at you from all angles. It will seek to become a nuisance from all sides of your space, including above and below. Of course, if your meditation space is on the first floor or in a basement, sound from below is already minimized. If you are above a basement or in a multi-floor building however, you can take steps to minimize your exposure to the sound below you. The easiest way to minimize sound from below is through thick padded carpeting. Wall-to-wall carpeting is best in problematic areas, and area rugs on top of that carpeting can provide an additional layer of sound resistance.
If your meditation space is above a basement space that you have access to, rolled insulation on the basement ceiling can be an excellent first step in isolating your space.
Noise from sidewalls can be managed through increasing the foam or blown-in insulation between the walls. Insulated windows and doors can also prevent sound from intruding.
A bigger challenge can be in preventing sound from above. Placing rolled insulation above a dropped ceiling can be tricky at best. Carpeting the room above can help minimize intrusive sound to the space below.
Stop Noise From Getting Out
Depending on who else occupies your house, keeping sound from getting out of the meditation room can be as important as keeping unwanted sound away.
Check to minimize any open space that may allow sound to escape. This space may be around a door or windows. Try to prevent sound from hitting exterior walls directly by use of curtains or fabric-covered furniture. Carpeting can help prevent noise from seeping into the living space below your meditation room.
If you are making use of a sound system, it also can help to make sure speakers are not in direct contact with the walls. Instead of mounting speakers on a wall, suspend them or place them on a table away from the edge of the room.
In many cases, the door itself is the weak link in allowing sound to escape. This can be minimized by insulating the interior surface of the door with soundproofing material or a heavy blanket.
You'll want to keep in mind that you want to maintain a comfortable, appealing appearance in your space that serves to calm you. Excessive soundproofing can potentially negatively impact the aesthetics of a room. Use when necessary but use soundproofing judiciously.
Other Helpful Resources
There are plenty of resources detailing various aspects of creating a meditation room in your home. Here are a few of them.
- 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation from Healthline
- How to Meditate from mindful.org
- Your Home Might Be Causing Your Anxiety: How to Make it More Relaxing from Living with Anxiety
- Know Your Feng Shui Basics: Feng Shui 101 from Open Spaces Feng Shui
- How Sound Systems Work from Media College
- Aromatherapy Uses and Benefits from Healthline
- 10 Ways to Create Your Own Meditation Room from freshome.com
- How to Soundproof: Basic Principles from Noise Help
- Houseplants for your Yoga Room/ Meditation Space from Green Lotus Den
- Best Colors for Your Meditation Room from Color-Meanings.com
Thinking of Your Home in a Different Way
Many view their homes as a place to eat, sleep, relax, and even work (as more people are using their homes as their office due to the rising popularity of remote work and virtual teams). They don't recognize the full potential of their living space. While we may create a family room, home office or even a game or theater room, we limit the positive impact our living space can have on our lives. Other than making changes to our floor plans through construction or through an addition, we may feel restrained by our existing doors, windows, and walls. The reality is we should expect more from our living space.
How we use living space affects our attitudes, our sleep patterns, and our health and well-being. If we can take a renewed view and increase our expectations of our houses, we can better use them to enhance our lives.
From our outdoor space to houseplants and the quality of our air, our houses already contribute greatly to how we live our lives. But they can do so much more. They can help serve as a respite from the rest of the world and help us recharge and rejuvenate. They can be a fortress where we can retreat to a state of calmness and self-examination.
How can your living space serve you better? You can start by considering creating your own meditation space. Begin by choosing your space and clearing it out. Add small and simple elements, one at a time until you have achieved the perfect anxiety-free space for you. It is a space that will serve you well in body, mind, and spirit.