Setting Up a Quiet Zone

Whether you want to meditate, pray, or do yoga exercises in your home, a space set aside can help make the activity a relaxing ritual.
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Space Just for You

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A space set aside will help
you relax when you want to.

Finding the right place in your home for a relaxing ritual is an important part in making it become routine. Once you start a regular program, you might find it hard to stop. "Everyone can do it," points out Sharon Salzberg, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society of Barre, Massachusetts. "You may not feel total gratification the first time you try it or even the fifth time, but if you have the dedication you can get results."

Since most meditation experts suggest keeping a regular schedule (20 to 30 minutes a day, if possible) there is nothing more convenient and special than dedicating space in your home to the activity. "Choose anywhere you won't be distracted," suggests Kristin Hutchens, a program sales consultant for the Chopra Center for Well Being in La Jolla, California. "The meditation space in your home -- it doesn't have to be sprawling with futons."

Choose a room that feels comfortable, and adapt that room to meet your needs. Avoid choosing a room like a kitchen or living room, because chances are the noise and activity level will be too high. Instead, choose a space that is more private and not the center of activity in your home. Some people relax and focus best in a dark room, but others prefer a space filled with natural light. "I think it should be a plain room, something very tranquil so your energy isn't bouncing off everything," says Salzberg. "If it's too dark, you may go to sleep."

An extra bedroom, a peaceful den, or a sunroom are all good choices for a meditative space. "Get rid of the clutter so it's a dedicated space," adds Salzberg. "Pick a quiet area, and it would be good if there isn't a phone there." If you have a room that overlooks a garden, pond, lake, or ocean, this would be a wonderful location to inspire you. A window can also be helpful if you get sleepy; the fresh air can keep you alert, and the view can refresh you upon opening your eyes.

You don't need to be behind closed doors. And although it can be helpful to face away from the doorway of the room you're in, to avoid distraction, "the key point of meditation is that it can be done in any circumstance," says Salzberg, "so don't feel discouraged if you find yourself on the living-room couch, if that's where you're really most comfortable." Just make sure anyone who shares your home knows your plans, so you can avoid unwanted disruptions.

Not everyone has the luxury of devoting an entire room to meditation or prayer. A corner or alcove is fine. Drape a cloth over a table and place objects on it that are important to you, such as a candle, holy books, symbols of your faith, photos of loved ones, mementos of relaxing places you've visited, and so on. Keeping these items in the space will help prevent your corner from becoming a multi-use space that you have to clean up each time before you can use it -- and also will remind you to do your meditation.

Continued on page 2:  Setting Up the Room


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