Heckler, The Age: Don’t be put off by market-driven mantras, because mindfulness is for everyone, writes Jamie Watson.
Mindfulness is proven to do remarkable things for mental health. Unfortunately it has a rather annoying image problem.
Whenever an article appears about mindfulness it is invariably accompanied by a picture of a beautiful woman peacefully meditating. Sometimes she is on a mountain. Sometimes she is beside a gently flowing stream. Sometimes there is a lovely rainbow in the background. Typically she has a slim yoga body, amazing posture and the apparent ability to sit cross-legged on a rock without her mind focusing solely on the …
I just got word of a Kickstarter for an interesting new meditation tool.
For many people, sitting cross-legged isn’t comfortable, or even possible! For those who aren’t so flexible, the traditional kneeling, or “seiza” posture is very handy. It provides stability, comfort (once you figure out the right height, angle, and floor cushioning), and a sense of groundedness (certainly compared to being perched on a chair).
A good seiza bench, usually made of wood, can cost anything from $60 to $200 for a decent model.
The Now Bench is a different approach, using modern foam technology. It’s a simple U-shape, allowing the bench to find the right angle for having the spine naturally erect. It’s … Read more »
Jean Erlbaum’s Sit With Less Pain is subtitled “Gentle Yoga for Meditators and Everyone Else.”
As most meditators know, finding a comfortable way to sit in meditation for long periods of time can be challenging. We can end up futzing around with our equipment, trying out different chairs, benches, and cushions, and constantly adjusting the height and tilt of our seat, and still find that we end up with sore shoulders, or a sore neck, or an aching back. Often the problem is that we’re expecting a body that lacks flexibility to be still for long periods.
Sit With Less Pain addresses that problem, offering us exercises to bring more flexibility to the muscles, tendons, … Read more »
One of my students recently commented: “I regularly have to readjust my posture, which slightly changes now and then without my noticing it. These readjustments distract me from focusing on the body/breathing.”
What I suggested was that she might usefully reframe how she was seeing this situation.
If you’re being mindful of your body and making adjustments to your posture, then in a very important way this isn’t distracting you from your body. Making readjustments like this doesn’t even have to take you away from your breathing, since you can maintain awareness of your breathing and make adjustments in your posture in time with the in-breaths and out-breaths. For example if you need to open … Read more »
Some months ago I was sent a Mayu Bench to try out and review, but somehow the review slipped off of my schedule.
Of the two benches pictured, mine is the tall one on the left. It’s a solid and stable meditation seat, and may be particularly suitable for people who find sitting on cushions or kneeling benches difficult. It allows you to sit much as you would on a chair, but with the advantage that the seat slopes forward, allowing you to have the spine upright without any effort. (Western chair design leaves much to be desired; the typical flat seat causes the pelvis to tilt backward, making it hard, if not impossible, to … Read more »
I wrote a few weeks ago about the Kindseat, which is a new design of meditation seat that allows for both cross-legged sitting and kneeling (seiza) positions. It’s undoubtedly the most comfortable meditation seat I’ve ever used, and I can’t imagine ever needing another meditation bench. I wish I had two: one for home, and another for the office, where I often sit.
I’ve been through a number of meditation seats in the last 30 years. I had a couple of home-made benches, but those were non-adjustable. For shorter periods of meditation, they would be fine, but on meditation retreats, when I was doing … Read more »
Welcome to Wildmind’s first 100 Day Meditation Challenge, which has been set up to encourage people to establish a habit of daily meditation. For background on the challenge, including the “rules,” check here.
A lot of people think that they have to sit in some exotic position to meditate, but you don’t have to sit in lotus position or even cross-legged. In fact you don’t have to sit on the floor at all.
I’ve never had the flexibility to meditate for more than a few minutes in a cross-legged position, and usually use a meditation bench. Some people I know use chairs to sit in. When I’m teaching classes on Skype I’m usually in … Read more »
What’s in your own backpack? If you’re like most of us, you’ve got too many items on each day’s To Do list and too much stuff in the closet. Too many entanglements with other people. And too many “shoulds,” worries, guilts, and regrets.
Remember a time when you lightened your load. Maybe a backpacking trip when every needless pound stayed home. Or after you finally left a bad relationship. Or just stopped worrying about something. Or came clean with a friend about something that had been bothering you. How did this feel? Probably pretty great.
Sure, we are no longer nomadic … Read more »
The manufacturer of a new meditation bench, the Kindseat, kindly sent me a “review copy” a few weeks ago. I’ve sat on nothing else since I received it, except when I’ve been visiting my local Dharma center, and the only reason I haven’t taken it to my local Dharma center is absent-mindedness. This is, I’m quite sure, the last meditation seat I will ever buy. It’s the ultimate in meditation hardware.
What has it replaced? It’s replacing a damn good meditation bench. My current (or, I should say, previous) bench is adjustable. It was made for me by a friend and has adjustable “feet” on the front and back, so that both the height … Read more »
One thing I noticed a long time ago was that the position of my head during meditation made a surprising difference to my state of mind. If my chin was down even a fraction of an inch, then I’d tend to get tired, or to get caught up in often very heavy emotional story lines, full of drama. If my chin was up even a fraction of an inch, then I’d tend to get lost in thoughts that were generally more speculative and excited. Chin down focuses our energy on the emotions; chin up puts more energy into our thoughts. This is perhaps why when someone’s depressed we tell them to “keep their chin up” … Read more »