I’ve long believed that mornings matter, but always struggled to figure out how to wake up on the “right” side of the bed each day. When I discovered mindfulness meditation in 2016, I embarked on a life-altering journey to master it — and in turn transformed my mornings into a part of the day that I welcomed instead of dreaded.
In doing so, I joined an ever-growing community of people who use this form of meditation, in which you focus more intensely on your thoughts and feelings in the present moment, as a way to create more harmony, peace, and alignment in my life. There are various forms of meditation (including spiritual, focused, movement, mantra, and transcendental to name a few) with varying religious and cultural roots that harken back centuries.
Recently, I became more intentional about my morning practice by setting up a meditation area in my bedroom. You can think of a meditation corner as “a designated spot that you intentionally create to fortify your connection with your own soul/self and also with the spiritual realms,” says shaman and author Alyson Charles. But don’t overthink the setup. The right space just has to make sense for you.
“A meditation corner is all about intentionality,” says mental health and wellness advocate Maryam Ajayi, who speaks on wellness as a healing practice for BIPOC communities. “It doesn’t have to be complex or overwhelming. Simply think of it as a space that you are carving out as you carve out space in your day and within yourself to intentionally connect with a power greater than yourself.”
Meditation teacher and author Emily Fletcher, founder of the Ziva technique, thinks of meditation corner as “a physical reminder to stop and practice devotion and gratitude.” It should be a special, designated place in your home “where you can place special objects, write out intentions or prayers, place photos or images of loved ones or guides.”
If you’re looking to elevate your own mindful meditation practice, here are four expert tips for how to set up your own bedroom meditation corner and incorporate it into your routine.
“[Meditation] altars do not need to be complex or ornate,” says Charles. “Think more in terms of what are a few items that evoke a feeling of love, warmth, safety, and peace? Things that make you smile, feel grateful, and light up your heart!”
Fletcher agrees that it’s best to keep things simple when you’re just starting out. “Perhaps your favorite candle by your favorite chair is enough,” she says. “If you want to go full out, you can find some sort of oracle cards that you pull each day after meditation, stones or gems that feel good to you, a spray or a smell you love, and palo santo to clear the energy. Keeping your journal nearby is also a great idea to capture the genius ideas that come through during your meditation practice.”
You won’t have to break the bank to create this unique space, insists Ajayi. Instead, “simply clear out an area, strip it down, and start with a fresh canvas that will soon become your piece of art.”
Sound can also help to set the stage for a moment of mindfulness. “You may choose to play music that supports easing into your practice,” certified yoga, meditation and mindfulness teacher Sara Clark suggests. “Perhaps a naturescape or a binaural frequency to help settle the mind and the body.”
Take some time to consider which physical objects will help you feel grounded. If you need a little inspiration, Charles offers the following tips:
It may take some time to identify and collect the items that you ultimately wish to incorporate into your bedroom meditation area, but Charles stresses that the objects should ultimately serve the purpose of anchoring you to an intention to take time to ground yourself, express gratitude, and explore deeper connections.
“Let your intuition guide you when it comes to items in your space,” says Ajayi, who suggests selecting things that inspire you, open you up and help you to feel centered. “Create beauty around you to connect with the beauty within.”
Once you select just the right objects, you’ll want to create a habit of spending time in your newly-created space at the start of each day — even before taking a shower or making breakfast. That time of day just before demands, responsibilities, and distractions have a chance to grab hold and influence your mind and mood is prime time that, if spent meditating, can really have a positive effect.
“Think of your mind each morning as a blank canvas,” says Ajayi. “Practicing mindfulness before you do anything in the morning can truly set the tone for the rest of your day.”
“It is a game-changer to start your day being in touch with your mind, body, spirit, soul, heart, and whoever in the spiritual realms you connect with,” says Charles. “When you start your day in this level of true connection, you will absolutely be able to move through your day from a place within you that is of your true divine essence, that holds more compassion, empathy, and clarity.”
While Clark says that consistency is absolutely key when establishing your routine, she says creating a meditation habit will be easier if you do it at the same time each day, “preferably in the morning before scrolling on your phone.”
“An altar is a space where you feel safe to feel, connect, explore, and expand,” says Charles. That means there are no rules when it comes to setting it up. All that matters is that you’re intentionally creating a space that will be personal and meaningful to you.
“You want this space to be an area where you can fully be yourself — a space where you can shed tears if you need to, sing or dance boldly if you need to, be in silence if you need to,” Charles says.
Putting pressure on yourself is the opposite of the point. Clark coaches, “Take it breath by breath and piece by piece, remembering that you are already home within yourself.”