Create your own altar
Have you ever noticed that yoga studios have altars?
It is common for yogis to honor their practice and the gods in the Hindu Philosophy.
Enter a practice room of a yogi and you can find the statue of Ganesha, one of the most worshipped gods in Hindu; the god of science and wisdom; the remover of obstacles and the god of new beginnings. On the same altar you can see a Sarasvati, the goddess of knowledge, music and art; and Shiva, the god who protects, creates and transforms the universe, the third god in the Hindu triad alongside Brahma and Vishnu. And at the center of the altar: Buddha, the enlightened man who left his life behind as a prince in search of enlightenment. Born in Nepal, Buddha has guided many of us with his teachings, after all, Buddhism is philosophy and a way of life, not a religion.
Sitting alongside the Hindu gods are a few of inspiring yogi’s who have transformed the ancient in to modern times habits, like K. Pattabhi Jois, Krishnamacharya, Baba Ramdev and spiritual master Dalai Lama or Osho.
Enough of the name dropping, now that you’re familiar with the gods who often present in yogi’s altars, let’s start building your own altar in your house!
An altar is a sacred place to return to your inner self, it’s your spiritual home, a place to feel comfortable and at peace with yourself in the midst of the noisy life. Here is where you can start your day, activate your intuition, set intentions and make sound judgements. You can do your yoga practice here and come to this sacred place whenever you’re sad, anxious or even to show your gratitude for pleasures. In the end, your emotions and thoughts are in your control and an altar can help remind you of the immeasurable power that resides within.
On your personal altar, place everything that makes you happy. A picture of your family, a beautiful fresh flower or a love letter to yourself- whatever you like that makes you feel good.
On my altar, I always place crystals who are resonating with me at that moment. Currently I have a smoky quartz (to keep me grounded) a clear crystal quartz (to cleanse and heal) and a green and orange calcite to magnify the stones around it.
But it changes from day to day as the crystals I put there depends on my meditation practice.
I also have a copper Ganesha, a gift from my boyfriend’s grandpa, an authentic handcrafted Nepali Ganesha, and next to it a stone handcrafted Buddha made in Bali. You can also find a singing bowl from Nepal which I use in my meditation classes, a mala from Meisou in my favorite color: green, a lavender essential oil to deepen my breath of my meditation or yoga practice. The essential oil completely relaxes my mind and takes me back to my childhood in the Cote d’azur in France.
Since sense of smell is so extremely attached to memories, beautiful smells can hug you from within and keep you in a pleasant state of flow.
Hence I also have a Palo Santo wood that is used for spiritual rituals, it also smells so pure, it brings me back to nature in an instant. These oils and Palo Santo are strong elements that can create powerful visualisation for my meditations.
So it is important to choose your essentials and incense carefully to, ones that can guide you through a meditative journey in to your soul.
Last but not least, place your altar facing east, where the sun rises, which is perfect for your sun salutations.
As you can see this altar is created out of my own personal preferences, it is a sacred space that is filled with things that make me feel good and can help me re center. An altar doesn’t need to be too complicated and big, but what you have on the altar need to be carefully selected so that you can feel empowered when you’re within the space.