I created my first home puja, or altar, in 2013. Although it had been a dream of mine to have a special space for my practice at home for years, I had a lot of doubt surrounding this project, and I had let that doubt delay me from ever beginning.
There were a lot of things holding me back from trying. I feared that my space was somehow not special enough to hold sacred energy. It felt like I would never be able to pay proper tribute to the love I had for my practice. Will it be good enough? Will I be good enough?
But I decided to move forward anyway, and I could not be more satisfied. What I have learned since finally beginning my practice of creating sacred space is that, like my practice, my space is fluid and evolving. When I began to honor this space, it began to transform. My bedroom once felt to me like a holding cell, a “good enough” place where I was waiting for the next stage of my life to happen. A stage that would usher me into a new space, one that would feel light and sweet and special to me.
Only a few years after creating that first puja, my space now feels like a small sanctuary. It has completely evolved into the oasis I always imagined. My space serves as a reminder to me that when you place conscious attention on anything, it will blossom. I slowly added pieces to my space that represent my spirituality, my passions, and the tender moments of my life. What began as a small shelf with some artwork and a few deity statues has grown to encompass every available surface in my room.
If, like me, you’ve been delaying the transformation of your own space from ordinary to miraculous, here are some suggestions for how you can begin.
Your personal space is a mirror of your internal space. The first step in building sacred energy is to clear away the clutter. Literally. If you need to get creative or bring in new storage solutions, do it. Donate anything you aren’t wearing/using/loving in your space. Sweep, dust, and wash the windows. Clear away a space to build your altar, it could be a corner of a desk, nightstand, or a dedicated table or shelf.
Don’t Break the Bank
You may have aspirations for your space—I certainly did! Consider starting a small fund for these improvements. As my space evolved I ended up replacing my furniture, buying a new mattress and linens, buying several plants and even a beautiful Betta fish, as well as some very special statues and crystals that required a little budgeting. Don’t try and change everything at once. Simply allot a little bit of money at a time towards upgrading what you can, in time you can create an entirely new space this way.
Curate Your Collection
Gather together any objects or photos that remind you of your heart. This could mean pictures or statues of deities or spiritual teachers, photos of loved ones or objects that represent them, crystals, stones, feathers, pressed leaves or flowers, tokens from your travels, your mala beads or other special jewelry, healing cards or tarot, artwork (your own or someone else’s), or any other objects you wish to keep in your presence.
Reflect Your Personal Style
What is the mood you’re trying to set in your space? What’s your personal style? What are you trying to cultivate? You can arrange your pieces in many different ways. Perhaps you want a minimalist altar to help you find clarity. Maybe a vibrant tribute to all you love and joy, bursting at the seams with special objects. It’s all up to you.
Enjoy the process of arranging your space. Try several configurations. Don’t worry about getting it “perfect.” You can feel it out over time and tweak it as often as you like. This is how the best spaces are created—they come from a totally genuine, unique, and inspired place.
Get to Know Your Space
Meditate regularly in your sacred space. Use sage or palo santo to regularly smudge your space. Diffuse essential oils. Create your own ritual within your space for calming your mind and body. The more consciousness you bring into your space, the more the energy of the sacred will build.
It’s become a fun game for me to find new items for my altar. In the past few years I’ve added: a monogramed handkerchief that my teacher, Elena, gifted to me; a horseshoe from the Stowe Mountain Ranch, where I led my first yoga retreat; a small stuffed Miniature Pinscher that was gifted to me when my sweet dog passed away; and I am currently awaiting a rock from the Grand Canyon that a dear friend is bringing to me. In fact, many of my friends know how special my space has become to me, and I now regularly receive special tokens from those I love on my birthday, or after they’ve traveled.
The practice of loving my space has been one of the most rewarding of my life. My meditation practice has blossomed in this space. I finally have the sanctuary I imagined. It began with a small shelf. It grew into a dream.
Elizabeth Crisci is a yoga teacher and artist in Fairfield County, Connecticut. She is the creator of Love by E, handmade gemstone mala and jewelry. She teaches in workshops, special events, and trainings in the Northeast in addition to a range of regular, weekly classes. She teaches smart and accessible yoga designed to make you feel good. She loves every minute of her work. You can find her writing and her teaching schedule on her website.