Meditation Game-Changers; The Secrets to Being A Highly Meditated Individual
by Kiki Athanas
May 13, 2019
Do you wish you meditated more? At all? Of course you do - but maybe the solution isn’t around finding the time, it’s about finding it more COMFY.
Seriously, you can officially declare your excuse for not meditating (or meditating as often as you wish) as being that it’s just plain uncomfortable. Like, from the hard floor against your boney bum, the awkward pain in your ankles as they lean into the ground, or the cramps you get in your hips and knees from sitting cross legged.
Yup, you can blame it on the above as much as you wish...until the day you invest in a REALthings cushion and start to actually enjoy sitting in meditation once and for all. At least that’s the case for thousands of people who have already begun meditating the “right” way - and that is: being super duper comfy and at ease! Funny how when your body is at ease, it’s a heck of a lot easier to ease your mind too.
I sat down (literally) with Julie Jarvis, the founder of REALthings Cushions, to pick her highly meditated brain on all things sitting and stilling. Hope you enjoy!
Q: Is it important to sit upright during meditation?
A: In my experience, sitting straight without strain is very grounding. When your spine straightens naturally, it is easier to sit for longer periods of time and practice deeply.
There are meditation practices that do not require you to sit with a straight back when you meditate. There are also people who prefer lying down, although this can be challenging because it is easy to fall asleep. Walking meditation is another exception.
Q: What's the ideal posture?
A: The ideal posture is the one that works for your body. If you can sit with your hips higher than your knees it helps the spine straighten naturally. You can find your best position by trying different postures and cushions. Here are six of the most popular meditation postures.
Q: What are some of the benefits of finding the correct position?
A: The body smiles when you find the right alignment. It’s as if it has been waiting for you to discover it. And once you do, it is easy to begin and return to your practice.
Q: Why did you start REALthings and what problems are you solving?
A: There are so many people who think they can’t meditate because they can’t sit on the floor comfortably. This is because our bodies are bigger and less flexible in North America. Often, we give up or meditate in pain.
I started REALthings to make bigger, better, beautiful cushions that let you sit comfortably and meditate deeply. Our bigger cushions make it easier to sit straight naturally. And, we handcraft them locally with natural materials so you feel good. We make them beautiful to inspire you to practice and create wonderful meditation spaces.
Q: Would you mind sharing a little bit about your own meditation practice and some "game-changers" that have helped to advance your practice?
A: I was lucky to start meditating at the Esalen Institute where they have a beautiful meditation house with traditional Zen-style cushions (zafu and zabuton) the kind we make at our company now. I had no teacher and no idea what I was doing but it was beautiful, quiet and inspiring.
When I moved back to Toronto I tried sitting flat on the floor to meditate and gave up almost instantly – my body was not happy.
The first game changer was getting connected to a community that practiced meditation and could guide me on how to sit and practice deeply.
The second game changer was about 3 years into my practice when someone said “try meditating without moving at all”, which I thought was impossible. But some part of me made the effort and since then, this has become a central part of my practice – although sometimes there are moments when you do need to move or adjust.
The third game changer was attending week-long retreats where I had the opportunity to meditate and work with people every day. In my experience meditating with others, especially during periods of intensity, can be a great support.
The biggest game changer, if you could call it that, was adopting meditation as a life-long practice. I have been meditating for over 20 years now and my practice is always changing and deepening in unexpected ways.
As the founder of REALthings, Julie Jarvis is passionate about making cushions that let you sit comfortably and meditate deeply. "As a long-time meditator, with 20 years’ experience, I have helped thousands of people find the right posture and cushions for their body. I’d love to do the same for you!"