If you’ve ever tried finding meditation supplies, such as mats, chimes, gongs and other room décor, you know how difficult this can be. Even in urban areas, there are very few retailers that offer a selection of zabutons, meditation timers and chimes. As a result, the most reliable place to find these items is online, but how do you know which items are the best? This article will help you discover the most popular and useful items to decorate your meditation space, and best of all, everything is available in one convenient online store – Chopa.com.
Archive for the ‘meditation’ Category
These meditation timer and alarm clocks are perfect for your active lifestyle. Compact, lightweight and portable, they are ideal for meditation, yoga, Reiki therapy, and travel. The symbolic Enso circle offers an innovative way to convey time. The Enso appears brushed on the screen as time progresses. You can view the relative amount of time that has elapsed with a quick glance, thus eliminating the distractions of reading and calculating time on traditional clocks.
Enso Pearl Meditation Timer and Alarm Clock
The Enso Pearl features interval timing, allowing you to create sequential timers that run one-after-the-other to compose a customized sequence to mirror your personal practice. You can set a repeat timer function for multiple repetitions of a single timer and count-up like a stop watch in hours, minutes and seconds.
The Enso’s soothing sounds are recorded from Tibetan and Japanese singing bowls, tingsha (bell), moktok (wooden blocks) and a beep for meditation or alarm clock. Its unique design allows it to be placed flat on the floor in front of you or propped up using the hinged stand that folds out of the back of the clock to place on your bedside table.
Enso Asari Meditation Timer and Alarm Clock
The Asari offers the same sleek, light-weight design and Enso ring for conveying time. It offers a single count down timer, a repeat timer and a stop-watch (count-up) timer. As with the Enso Pearl, it can be set in hours; minutes and seconds can be laid flat or propped up using the same hinged stand.
The Asari is great for your meditation sequence to take you deeper, while a subtle chime signals your transitions. For Yoga, the Asari enhances your pranayama or asana practice by setting a timer that mirrors your flow.
The Asari offers a soothing, crystal clear singing bowl chime and a beep tone. Like the Enso Pearl, it can be used as an alarm clock. The chime gently awakens, leaving you feeling calm and refreshed.
The Asari is available in two colors; an oyster white or a soft sage green.
Whether you choose the Enso Pearl or the Asari, you will find the quality and versatility of these meditation timers to be exceptional and ensuring your meditation session to be more enjoyable.
This month we explore the sixth of the seven energy systems, the third eye or brow chakra. “Ajna” is the Sanskrit name and its translation means “beyond wisdom.” It is located in the center of the forehead, just above the eyes. Air and the color Indigo, a rich blue/violet are the associated elements for this chakra. The musical note is D.
The third eye chakra governs our center of intuitive abilities including rational thought and wisdom. This chakra which powers our intuition is called the “third eye.” As our two eyes view the physical world, the third eye senses and visualizes what is yet to be. The 6th chakra is the center of imagination, optimism and spiritual awareness. It allows us to gain insight from life’s challenges, to see and understand the “big picture,” and to discern what is right and wrong through perceptive reasoning. The power of optimism is in play when you consciously choose to make the best of a difficult situation, trusting that a power beyond your understanding is always at work. Buddha said “Wisdom arises through effort and disappears through lack of effort.” When open and functioning optimally, that “inner knowing” affords us the ability to make “clear headed” decisions.
A balanced chakra allows a keen sense of clarity with the ability to visualize creative ideas through imagination. As a center of wisdom and intelligence, the brow chakra promotes the development of learning and retention, the makings of a good student! It fosters the ability to see beyond the obstacles in our daily lives and to find alternatives to accomplish the most challenging goals. We remember our dreams and often spend time visualizing our future and mapping our future path in life.
We experience similar thoughts and feelings on a daily basis “I knew this was the right decision” or “I had a good feeling about that person” or “I just knew this was the job for me.” This is your 6th chakra providing you with the necessary insights to follow the inner- self without fear. Acknowledging and trusting those important signals strengthen your intuitive abilities, fosters self-evaluation of where you are in life, how you got there and visualizing where you see yourself in the future. Listening to others’ ideas without critical judgment, feeling secure with yourself and relying on divine intervention are signs of healthy 6th chakra energy.
An unbalanced chakra is often characterized by feeling mentally “blocked”, unable to visualize the big picture, making decisions based solely on logic, experiencing headaches or nightmares. Have you ever been told to “come down from the clouds?” This is not unusual with an under functioning 6th chakra. The inability to concentrate, remember or not being able to grasp a solution to life’s daily problems are also indicative of an imbalance.
When the 6th chakra is overactive, a person will appear egotistical, domineering and manipulative. These people will react critically to others, perceiving misplaced emotions are directed at them. The result is becoming “closed minded” to new ideas and opportunities and thereby inhibiting future intuitive and spiritual growth. Sixth chakra growth is stymied when behavior patterns are denied. We don’t permit ourselves to accept that we don’t know everything. When we cannot acknowledge the validity of new ideas or new ways of living that are different to us, we “close our minds,” essentially shutting ourselves off from the power of mental energy that is available to us.
To balance your 6th chakra, be mindful of your thoughts and stay in the present moment. Try to recall a dream from last night and keep a journal. You may be surprised at the recurring themes they take! Wear a shade of indigo or place accents in your room or office as a reminder. If you meditate, focus your attention on the location of your third eye with the intention of developing your intuitive skills. Be aware of the images that come to you.
The gemstones for this chakra are lapis, sapphire, sodalite and amethyst. If you burn incense, try vanilla, anise or jasmine which is thought to improve mental clarity. Grounding activities such as dance, exercising and being outdoors are helpful in aligning the energy centers and “getting you out of your head”. Try eating indigo colored foods such as purple grapes, plums, eggplant or grape juice.
To enhance your “third eye” power center, channel your synergistic energies by taking time each day to visualize. Journal your thoughts, predictions and visual images that come to you and over time, you will begin to see how your intuition plays a bigger role in your life and how your decision making skills have changed. Your intuitive powers and sense of mental clarity are enriched through practice and acknowledgement of listening to the inner-truth with confidence and without fear.
In the next issue, we explore the last of the seven energy centers, the crown chakra.
When you try to find that special gift for the “person who has everything,” it’s important to find out about their hobbies and favorite pastimes. If your friend or loved one is into meditation or similar Zen practices, they may need some thoughtful meditation supplies. What do I mean by “thoughtful,” you may ask? Well, these gift suggestions have both a practical and a luxurious side to them that is sure to appeal to any meditation practitioner.
This month we explore the fifth of the seven energy systems, the throat chakra. Its Sanskrit name is Vishuddha, translated as “purified.” It is located at the base of the neck below your Adams apple. Its associated color is blue and the musical note is G. The throat chakra represents our center of creativity, our receptiveness to intuition and the ability to express ourselves honestly.
The purpose of this chakra is learning a sense of what is right and knowing your inner truth. It is the energy center of your will, the awareness of your intention and self-discipline. It stems from the ability to listen from the heart, staying connected with your intuitive self and to act from truth in decision making. The stronger and more determined you become, ultimately, the better life decisions you make. This energy center is the mediator between the heart and the head facilitating choices and consequences.
A balanced throat chakra is reflected in the ability to articulate one’s fears and strengths openly and clearly without fear or guilt. As the vital connection between our spiritual and creative centers, life is uplifting, and the challenges of daily life are accomplished with a sense of peace, rhythm, ease, and creative energy. The skills of being a good listener, communicating clearly and feeling an inner balance throughout the day are also signs of a balanced throat chakra.
An unbalanced chakra is more often motivated by fear and advantage rather than steadfastly following the heart’s intention. Imbalance can be characterized by feeling restless, being critical of others, lying or telling half-truths, and an inability to listen without judgment. “Boxing in” emotions or giving someone the “silent treatment” can potentially manifest as physical ailments like a sore throat or laryngitis.
We have all experienced the “lump in the throat” feeling when faced with a difficult situation. This is your throat chakra reacting to your indecision about voicing the right words – the heart’s truth, for that situation. On an emotional level, an unbalanced throat chakra can be manifested by difficulty in decision making, tendencies towards addictions, gossiping and lack of creativity. A deficiency in throat chakra energy can leave you feeling tired, withdrawn from people and unable to speak up for yourself.
Ever have one of those days where you can’t seem to get your point across or relay your ideas in a clear manner? Feel like you are talking too much and speaking nonsense? These are signs of having an over abundance of energy which can also be problematic.
Being consciously aware of expressing your inner heart is the key to a balanced throat chakra. This can be expressed through journaling, humming or singing in the shower! Take a long walk and enjoy the blue sky or go sit near the ocean or a lake if possible and breathe consciously. Use your throat muscles, drink fruit juice, water or herbal teas. Add blueberries, purple grapes or plums to your diet. Wear blue clothing or add touches of blue to your home or office as a reminder. If you meditate, the mala bead gemstones are aquamarine, turquoise, blue lapis or blue topaz. Sage, frankincense and eucalyptus are helpful aromatherapies. Performing a service act for the fifth chakra is to provide encouragement to someone in need, bolster their spirit and conviction. The small impact you have on someone can be profound in another.
If your throat chakra is overactive, the use of red counterbalances the energy. Wear a touch of red clothing or eat red foods like tomatoes, beets and strawberries. Using red essential oils; sandalwood, cinnamon or patchouli can also be helpful in restoring balance.
In the next issue, we explore the brow or “third eye” chakra.
As stressful as life can be, it’s still not common to find a restful spot in many American homes. Busy families have a hard time controlling the clutter and making the time to create a spot for relaxation, but those who do can take some advice from the Japanese. Zen gardens and sacred spaces often incorporate Japanese garden fountains as a focal point, and designers know they also work on a porch, a sun room or a meditation room.
For families who are looking to transform an indoor space into a peaceful oasis, the use of Japanese garden fountains is a very important element. Below is an overview of some of the more popular fountains now available for sale at Chopa.com.
The New Year is here! If you are still searching for the perfect resolution, we have several ideas that may help you in reaching your goals and fulfilling your aspirations for 2012. From Zen Habits by Leo Babauta, these common sense tips are often overlooked in our busy daily routines. With practice, these simple ideas offer a different approach to finding success and may bring you happiness as well.
Select a few ideas that resonate with you and work with one at a time before taking on another. There is no particular order to this list, so browse and select the ones that you would like to work on. While nothing in life is guaranteed, these tips for happiness and productivity may bring a fresh perspective to reaching your true desires this year.
1.Try rising early.
6.Find your passion
13.Simplify your finances
14.Simplify your life
15.Accept what you have
16.Envision your ultimate life
17.Set long term goals
20.Plan your big tasks for week and day
22.Enjoy the journey
23.Create a morning and evening routine
24.Develop intimate relationships
26.Enjoy the simple pleasures
27.Empty your inbox and clear your desk
28.Build an emergency fund
29.Keep a journal
30.Use the power of others
31.Read and read to your kids
32.Limit your information intake
33.Create simple systems
34.Take time to decompress after stress
36.Spend time with family and loved ones
37.Pick yourself up you’re down
38.Don’t compare yourself to others
39.Focus on benefits, not difficulties
42.Get into the flow
45.Learn to deal with detractors.
48.Savor the little things.
52.Start small and slow
The second chakra in the energy system is the sacral chakra. It is located in the lower abdomen just below the navel and is associated with a vibrant orange color. Its associated element is water. The primary purpose of the sacral chakra involves emotional control, relationship development, financial success and creative expression.
The sacral chakra provides the tools for helping to build your own self-reality. The key components are the evolution from the “roots” of your group and family identity (the root chakra) into your own identity and being able to provide for yourself. This involves building your own personal and business relationships, creating financial security through work and discovering the creative energies within you.
Sacral chakra energy is bold and determined. It is oriented in survival instincts and balanced with resilience and creative energy. When open and balanced, the energy center helps us work through all types of life challenges. The second chakra oversees our ability to make good choices for ourselves over less desirable ones such as breaking the law or succumbing to addictions. A person with a balanced energy center will be eager to experience life, adapting easily to change as it occurs and feeling safe in the process. They will have a hobby or job that promotes and fulfills their creative desires and are often seen as entrepreneurial.
Both creative and procreative energy housed in this chakra are vital to our overall health and sense of well being. Uninhibited creative energy allows us to carve out our own identity in society, distinguishing us as unique, productive members of society. It fosters success in building friendships and allows us to raise and nurture our children. We are able to fully express our emotions, feel confident in who we are and happy in our life choices.
Do you often feel that work is the center of your life? Do you feel that life has become a daily grind? When was the last time you experienced the feeling of joy, wanted to try something spontaneously or had a desire to pursue a creative project? Has a spouse or friend told you lately that you don’t express your feelings? These can all be signs that your sacral energy may be unbalanced or blocked. It can also manifest itself as a physical ache or pain in the lower abdomen or back. You may experience emotional turmoil, wanting to withdraw from friends, family and responsibilities, feel a lack of motivation and make poor decisions.
If you feel out of balance, try spending time near open water, or swim! Surround yourself in a place where you find personal beauty, whether it’s a garden in full bloom, an art museum or a concert listening to music. Introduce the color orange into your wardrobe, your office or home as a reminder. If you meditate, visualize a vibrant orange; it will help ground your energy center to your physical body. If you work with mala beads, the gemstones related to the sacral chakra are carnelian, garnet, tiger’s eye and moonstone. Incense can also be a useful centering aide. Jasmine, Rose, Ylang Ylang and Sandalwood are associated with the sacral chakra.
In the next issue, we will explore the third or solar plexus chakra its color, meaning, how to restore balance and its relationship to the root and sacral chakras.
“Chakra” is an ancient Indian concept found in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The word chakra is derived from the Sanskrit word for “wheel” or “turning” and is often depicted as a flower or wheel-like rotating sphere from a specific point on the surface of the body. Known as energy centers, each chakra is the central point for receiving, processing and expressing life force energy.
In this seven part series we will explore each of the seven major chakras, their location on the surface of the body, associated color and the information stored in each. While there are hundreds of known chakras, we will discuss the seven main chakras identified in western culture.
Chakras are closely tied to our physical, mental and emotional state of being and support the physical body while serving the development of our higher consciousness. It is thought that each chakra is stacked as a column of energy that spans from the base of the spine with the seventh resting above the crown of our head. Each chakra relates to other chakras, correlating with the basic states of our physical being and our consciousness.
The first chakra we will explore is called the Root Chakra. It is located at the base of the tailbone and is associated with a vibrant red color and the musical tone C. Also known as the “grounding” chakra, it is related to our health, physical and material security, survival instincts, safety and our innate need to exist as an individual. It is the foundation of all chakra energy centers that connects us with our home, family, support system, social network and religious traditions. All other chakras are connected through the Root Chakra, receiving only the energy that can pass through it, making it the most important in maintaining balance and alignment.
Chakras like consistent energy flow. When the root chakra is centered and grounded, you should feel healthy, alive, safe and secure. You have the ability to move forward in life with confidence and know that life supports you, your needs are being met and you feel connected to life. When your root chakra is open, you love life and feel empowered to accomplish anything.
When your root chakra is unbalanced or closed, you may feel a lack of confidence, self-esteem and insecurity. Goals seem unachievable, and you may feel fear and self-doubt. Difficulty with daily responsibilities, managing your finances and being absent-minded may also be attributed to being ungrounded. Have you had days where you felt a bit off? You didn’t feel like yourself or felt disconnected from people? You may have experienced a sudden change which left you unsettled or fearful. This could be contributed to an unbalanced state in your root chakra. Sudden or abrupt changes can destabilize your energy flow creating an imbalance.
If you feel a bit out of balance, try gardening and work with plants. Working with your hands is grounding yourself with the earth. Take off your shoes and walk barefoot or dance! Volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen, helping those less fortunate is very grounding. Cook – using your hands to create food from the earth is balancing. Meditation and visualizing a vibrant red will help ground your energy center to your physical body. If you meditate using mala beads, the gemstones related to the root chakra are red jasper, obsidian, smoky quartz and bloodstone. Incense is also thought to be centering. Lavender, patchouli and sandalwood are associated with the root chakra.
In the next issue, we will explore the sacral chakra, it’s color, meaning, how to balance your chakra and its relationship to the root chakra.
For many of us, life becomes a blur. Rapidly advancing technology catches us in a whirlwind, demanding that we “do more”, “achieve more” and “be more”. While trying to control our lives, our lives become uncontrollable. When we stop and reflect, we often realize that there must be something more to life’s mystery. We hear a calling to explore deep within, to gain knowledge of one’s self, and the desire to simply experience “being.” For those who have reached this pinnacle, you have already begun life’s journey toward the discovery of Zen.
What is Zen? Derived from the Japanese word meaning “meditation”, Zen has been globalized over the centuries. The Japanese took Zen from the Chinese word -“chan”, which ultimately came from the Sanskrit word “dyana.” Defining Zen proves difficult. Zen is an experience. It embodies a state of being, living in the moment, living as life around you, the practice of present mindfulness, and seeing things as they are. At its heart, Zen is the practice of developing discipline of the mind through awareness.
Mindfulness may be achieved through meditation, walking, yoga, martial arts, Tai Chi, or finding an activity that is comfortable for you. Zen teaches that everything in the universe is connected and rooted in the whole, and greater than the sum of any one part. The journey of Zen is discovering that everything fits together into one divine, perfect whole.
To find Zen is to become intimate with the inner-self. One must become still – quieting the body and the mind – Not an easy task! Meditation is a wonderful tool to find the calm within you. Putting your thoughts and nagging doubts away can be achieved through practiced repetition of focused breathing or through the use of mantras.
Zazen or Zen practice is “sitting meditation.” It requires dedicated concentration on the breath. The act of feeling and hearing each breath allows you to let go of the dwelling thoughts within you, and to be in the moment of your body – simply “letting it be”.
We all have Zen within us. To rediscover the treasure of experiencing life in the moment opens the heart to an inner awareness that everything in life is possible. Through practice, we can break the cycle of conditioning that leaves us feeling overwhelmed or unhappy with life’s daily challenges. Being able to let go of the day’s stresses and to have the solitary awareness of life within us and around us is the essence of Zen.