When Kate Walsh graduated from college and launched a career, her
parents turned her bedroom into a space for meditation and yoga.
Jim and Zina Walsh of surburban Newark kept a daybed for Kate's
visits home, but they took down the Cal Ripken posters and painted
over the stencils of ballet slippers.
They made the walls a soothing misty green and added meditation
cushions, a yoga mat, Tibetan prayer flags and a statue of
the Buddha. "It's really a work in progress, " Jim says.
Yoga teacher Beth Shaw encourages people to carve out such a space,
even in the tiniest apartment. She did that once in a shoebox-sized
New York apartment. She once made a meditation room in a kitchen
garbage closet with what she found around her home.
"It can be done anywhere," says
Shaw, founder of YogaFit, a nationwide yoga training program
with headquarters in Redondo Beach,
In places such as Los Angeles, the spiritual has blended with decorating
to such an extent that a new hybrid had developed -- the lifestyle
designer. Lissa Coffey is one such designer, advising clients
that a home feels better "when there is some sacred space included
in the design."
because of our harried lives, she says. "Having places where
we can retreat to a little bit of silence gives us balance,"
she writes in an e-mail.
maintains that altars are easy -- all you need is a flat
surface, and it doesn't have to be fancy. "Add a scarf, some
candles and some items that are meaningful and you've got
your own little corner of serenity," Coffey says.
Walsh created such an alter in a meditation room with a chest, scarf
and a Buddha. Some of the objects he already owned, others
he and Zina purchased at Pier 1 Imports.
Walsh has meditated for more than 20 years, his experience teaching
him that the practice is giving a greater sense of choice and
flexibility in how to react in each moment. He is a Catholic
and says meditation has enhanced his sense of connection to
others during the celebration of the Eucharist.
He is also a faculty member at Wilmington College, as well as a
pastorial counselor and, in these rols, often recommends meditation
"Staying sane is often a matter of having things like mediation
and a refuge to go to," he says.
Jose Ramirez of Avondale, Pa., has devoted an upstairs room in his
home to his meditation practice, too. Ramirez is abbout of
the Delaware Valley Zen Center in Newark, and he can be found
in his meditation room most mornings.
"I tell people that Zen is a way of understanding yourself," he
says. "It's a way of spending time with whatever comes up."