How to Create a Yoga or Meditation Room (Even If You Have Zero Space)
In times of stress, people often turn to yoga and meditation as a way to calm the mind. “In a situation like a pandemic, there is a lot of fear, a lot of negativity in the media, and a lot of uncertainty about so much from job security to finances,” said Candace Moore, a yoga instructor and author of the book Namaslay. “When I find myself spiraling into panic mode, I practice yoga or work out. Both offer an opportunity to be mindful, to reconnect with my breath, and remember that I may not be able to control what happens to me, but I'm able to control my reactions.”
But what happens when all the yoga studios are closed? As we stay quarantined at home, it has become more important than ever to set aside some space where you can focus on your mental and physical wellbeing. Moore’s seen an increase in people taking the online yoga classes she offers on her YouTube Channel and website, Yoga by Candace. Similarly, searches for “meditation room ideas” are up 120 percent right now, according to Google Trends.
Clearly, people are looking to create a space at home to unwind, so to help us, we turned to Moore and a few interior designers for advice on how to create a “quiet, inspirational, self contemplative area” in your home, as interior designer Rozalynn Woods puts it.
Set aside some space (even just a corner!)
It doesn’t have to be an entire room. “You can keep all your props in the corner of a room and set them up when you're ready,” says Moore.
Or you can create a multi-purpose room. “I have a client who has a tiny cottage...with a tiny little space she used as a guest/yoga/meditation room,” Woods says. They designed the room by starting with an all-white palette, adding a daybed and a “calming piece of art on the wall.”
Let soft colors serve as your foundation
Woods recommends soft, muted colors or all white as a base to start within your yoga or meditation room. But try to avoid pastels, she says. “You don’t want it to look like a kids’ room.”
Weave in pops of color
Bring in something colorful to brighten up the neutral space. This could be as simple as a bright yoga mat or some colorful pillows or even bright red apples in a bowl, recommends Woods. “The idea is to have something to give dimension to the space and bring in some cheerfulness,” she says.
Make it personal
If neutrals aren’t your thing (we see you, maximalists!), you can still go for pattern and color, just avoid layering a ton of small, buzzy prints and high-contrast colors. “Too much information, visually or emotionally, blocks the message or the ability to be able to get quiet with yourself,” says Woods. “You’ll notice meditation spaces are very simple and comfortable, and visually pleasing. Anyone who wants to do their own space can interpret the ‘visually pleasing’ part differently. Bring in your favorite plant or favorite color, as long as it’s not jarring—something that brings you happiness. The trick is not to bring too many things.”
Interior designer Suzanne Childress agrees, adding, “Just create a space that feels good and peaceful and has a nice energy. Take out clutter. Pare down the space and add in items that are meaningful.”
In the bohemian yoga/meditation space above, Childress used Moroccan accents, printed wallpaper and vintage fabric for the window treatments. She even installed a heated cork floor for hot yoga.
Match the room’s temperature to your practice
If you don’t have a fancy heated cork floor, Moore advises heating your room depending on the type of yoga you are practicing. “A vinyasa flow is more athletic with much more movement than, say, restorative, so you may want to keep the temperature cool,” she explains. “For a slower-style yoga like restorative, you hold poses for a long time in a very relaxed position, so a warmer room would be ideal.”
Make use of outdoor space
Woods says nature is an important element to bring into a meditation practice: “When you can connect to the earth visually or physically, it brings a different element into the experience, which is grounding.” Similarly, some of Childress’s clients use space on their deck or balcony to do yoga or meditation if they don’t have a designated spot.
Bring the outdoors in
If you can’t actually practice outside because you don't have the space or the weather does not allow for it, Woods says to try and bring some nature inside. “I recommend putting something outside the window, like a hummingbird feeder or a hanging plant. Bring in a plant or tree that can survive inside,” she says. “If you’re building the space, make it indoor/outdoor with sliding doors that help you connect to nature.”
To really immerse yourself in your yoga practice, Moore says candles and essential oils can create an ambience. “Choose something calming like lavender for a slower, de-stressing style of practice, and perhaps something uplifting like grapefruit, or something energizing like peppermint for a more flowy-style practice,” she suggests.
Add some music
Moore likes to experiment with hybrid yoga/dance classes, so she always has music playing during her practice. Not sure what to play? Try searching for “chill hop” music for “cool, downtempo vibes.”
Keep your charger far away
When you go to a yoga class, you leave your phone at the door so it’s easy to concentrate on the class. But at home, a buzzing phone might distract or tempt you away from your practice, so Moore suggests leaving it in another room or turning it off. Another tip she gives to help with focus is to make a to-do list before your practice. “For some reason, there's peace of mind knowing I don't have to remember anything or think about [what I need to do] any longer because it's already written down,” she says.