Sacred Space

At the end of 2018, I spent 30 days in Boca Raton, Florida, studying for my 200hr yoga teacher training certificate. The experience was truly phenomenal, and a milestone in my life that I will never forget. Upon meeting the criteria to graduate from the program, I completed the course with accreditation to teach yoga as well as meditation classes.

An individual meditation practice can and does vary greatly from person to person. In many ways, the term ‘mindfulness’ has become synonymous with meditation – meditate while brushing your teeth! While showering! While driving!

….

And while I think mindfulness is key to living in the present moment and enjoying life – it doesn’t always equal ‘meditating.’

In the Eight Limbs of Yoga, we learn to steady the mind and come to full concentration on a specific deity, sound, object, phrase (mantra), or movement. This is the 6th limb of yoga, known as “Dharana.” The limbs of yoga are meant to be practiced in succession – meaning each one prepares you for the next. By focusing intently on our breath, gazing into a candle flame or chanting a mantra (mantra japa) – we can begin to steady the mind and enter a state of pure concentration or Dharana.

For some, a large segment of the 20 minute meditation can be spent in Dharana. One may find at first that only fleeting moments of true meditation or what is known as the 7th limb of yoga (Dhyana) may occur. Dhyana is the uninterrupted flow of concentration. In your mind, imagine small drops of smooth oil dripping individually from a glass container. Drop by drop, the oil of concentration flows, until it begins to flow as an even stream. The even and uninterrupted stream is Dhyana.

It is important to remember that every stage of the process is beneficial to our spirituality. We must not try to rush ourselves to the next limb, rather try to acknowledge our progress and live in the present moment.

When practicing meditation, lets remember the following habits that will enhance our focus:

  1. The Place: Maintain a tidy space that will be your meditation room or corner. I will be delving further into props you may want to include in this space later in this post.
  2. The Time: The most favorable times of day to meditate are dawn and dusk. If you cannot commit to one of these times, commit to a time that does work for you and stay consistent.
  3. The Habit: Consistency is key. Try to meditate at the same time every day.

Now I want to move into a few props that you can include in your practice that will make the practice more enjoyable and possibly even fun!

  1. Meditation Cushion: The practice of yoga began as a way to cultivate deeper breathing. Thus, if you aren’t breathing properly – you are not technically practicing yoga (even if you can twist into a pretzel or nail a serious inversion). For this reason, the beginnings of yoga looked like people sitting cross-legged (Padmasana) and breathing. Sounds like meditation, right? I recommend a cushion for meditating so that you are able to sit comfortably in Padmasana with an elongated spine. Doing this will greatly enhance your ability to breathe properly.
  2. Music + Headphones: Listening to music via headphones is a great way to allow the vibration of sound to guide you deeper into a meditative state. You can find meditation music on YouTube and Spotify for free. I suggest creating a playlist and adding your favorites as you find them.
  3. Crystals: We can use crystals to raise our personal vibration and also invite in a certain vibration – such as peace, abundance, strength, love, etc. If you are new to the crystal world, I suggest visiting a metaphysical shop and checking out their crystals. Likely, there will be one that or two catch your attention. You can always ask the shopkeeper for specific crystals if there is a particular vibe you are looking to cultivate. For example, rose quartz would be one to choose to cultivate love.
  4. Eye Mask: An eye mask is a fantastic aid in reaching a state of concentration. With the eyesight blocked, we are forced to go within and we cease to be bombarded with external visual stimuli.
  5. Oracle Cards: We can use oracle cards like these: {Goddess Guidance, Sacred Traveler, Tarocchi della Magia Sessuale, Rider-Waite Tarot} to conjure the energy of a specific deity. Pulling a card before meditation can provide an internal focal point. Pulling a card after meditation may provide insight you can take with you and use throughout the day.

Thank you for visiting This Vegan Life. Let’s connect! Find links to my social media accounts at the top of this page. If you would like to collaborate on future posts, please click the “Work With Me” tab. Sending good vibes your way.

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