Archive for the ‘meditation’ Category

Why are Tatami mats nonreturnable?

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

We receive inquiries from time to time asking why Tatami Mats are non-returnable.  The simple reason is for customer safety. Tatami mats are frequently used to sleep on or used for exercise, yoga, martial arts and meditation.

People sweat and sweat remains on the mat. We only sell new mats and by refraining from accepting returns, our customers are assured that the mats they receive have not been test-driven by another customer.  Shipping mats multiple times, back and forth, subjects them to a possible loss of structural integrity. Mats are always protected, insured and covered against damage during transit so the return policy does not apply to a damaged mat.

Shipping costs make returning mats cost prohibitive.  Carriers have consistently increased shipping costs year after year. Large sized cartons like a tatami mat are subject to over-size handling fees of as much as $80.00 per carton. FedEx even adds additional oversize handling fees during November and December to capitalize on Holiday traffic.

For us, we want to assure our customers they are receiving new, pristine mats.  We don’t sell “retreads”. We don’t sell “gently used” mats.  We sell new, unused mats everyday and we won’t change our minds.  If you shop for tatami mats online, you might want to ask about their return policy.  Do you want new or used tatami mats?  The choice is clear.

tatami mats

We only sell new tatami mats.

Got Stress?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Our lives can become overloaded at times with obligations, work, chores, appointments and yes, computers, phones and the internet.

When the body becomes stressed, changes occur to heart rates, blood pressure, digestion and body chemistry. When body chemistry changes, hormones, like cortisol may be released causing illness and weight gain. Sometimes these cause our bodies to store extra fat.

We can do our best to eliminate stress and anxiety, but often choosing a few healthy habits can do far more as a normal way of life.

Try incorporating these “habits” into your everyday life.

Sleep: Getting enough rest and sleep are vital for peak performance and stamina. A lack of sleep can cause imbalances in hormones, cause mood disorders, memory issues and premature aging.

Exercise: You don’t have to become a “gym rat”, but set aside even 20 minutes a day for a quick walk. Spend time stretching, as it helps tone muscles and helps relax you. Take a quick swim, hit a bucket of golf balls at the driving range, take the stairs at work, park farther away from the door. Just own the mindset that a workout can be comprised of many different activities, the key is just moving.

Eat healthy or healthier: You might be surprised at changes you will see by balancing your diet and incorporating more healthy food choices into your diet. Keep healthy snacks on hand. Try some nuts instead of chips. Eat some berries instead of a candy bar. Add more plant based foods to your meals.

Start practicing meditation and or yoga.  Meditation brings you mindfulness and is a great reducer of stress. Wellness begins with a clear mind, meditating daily will help keep you on the path to greater consciousness and inner spirit.  Yoga is a wonderful way to increase stamina, exercise, stretch and clear your head.

Just a few changes can make a powerful difference in your life. Lose your stress and start living. Learn how to meditate.

 

meditation

Meditate for health.

 

Habits of “Lucky” People

Saturday, September 8th, 2018
good habits for life

Good habits of lucky people.

Business magnate, Warren Buffett is a highly sucessful and savvy investor, and serves as the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Mr. Buffett is also a renowned philanthropist having pledged to give away 99% of his $88 billion fortune to philanthropic endeavors.

Mr. Buffett recently shared a list of 15 habits of ‘lucky’ people:

1) Work Harder
2) Complain less
3) Teach others
4) Show gratitude
5) Share credit
6) Choose kindness
7) Volunteer first
8) Unselfishly give
9) Trust first
10) Good manners
11) Stay teachable
12) Promote others
13) Love to explore
14) Storytellers
15) Love to compete

Give these habits a try for yourself and see if you become “lucky”. You can’t lose.

What’s in your mat?

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

Tatami mats have been used for several hundred years beginning as simple, thin roll-able bedding mats and evolving into what is known today, as the traditional tatami mat which is thicker, measuring 2″ thick.

Tatami mats are commonly used as flooring in homes, for tea ceremonies, martial arts, yoga and meditation. As bedding, mats become a base for a mattress or futon and even as a decorative wall covering. In ABC television’s highly acclaimed series, Extreme Makeover – Home Edition, host Ty Pennington used tatami mats from Chopa Zen Home to create a headboard for the master bedroom. It was quite dramatic and beautiful.

These Asian styled mats are filled with piled layers of natural rice straw. The straw is compressed, formed and shaped, then covered with a green, rush grass matting, made from thousands of tightly woven and bound rush reeds. A moisture barrier is sewn to the bottom of the mat, providing additional protection and to help extend the life of the mat. The two longest sides of the mat are wrapped and stitched with a fabric border completing the distinctive tatami mat look.

Over the past decade, manufacturing has undergone some changes. Some producers began using alternative materials for the core, or the filling of the mat. Rather than traditional rice straw, other materials are being used including paper, corrugated, fiber board, foam and other fillings. In our research and experience, these alternative fillings are often inferior to rice straw durability, and the life expectancy of the mat is frequently exaggerated.

In Japan, among the few producers remaining, some use synthetic papers in lieu of rush grass tops. While these mats can simulate a tatami mat, we feel nothing compares to the original, traditional rice straw filled tatami mat for beauty, aesthetics, history and symbolism, not to mention the natural aroma that “real tatami mats” produce.

Chopa Zen Home is an online retailer offering quality, premium grade, 100% rice straw filled tatami mats since 1994. As a provider of beautiful tatami mats at fair and affordable prices, our mats are stocked in the USA and normally ship within one business day. Tatami mats provide the simple life for your inspiration. Welcome to Chopa Zen Home. Zen Inspired Living. Shop with confidence.

tatami mats

What is in your tatami mat?

Affirmations and the power of positive statements.

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Affirmations are simple positive statements you can make each morning as soon as you awaken or get out of bed. Similar to mantras, you can also practice saying these while meditating.
By repeating a series of affirmations, you can visualize yourself reaching the goal or objective you set out to achieve. Many people practice saying affirmations around the world. The power of affirmations can become a powerful tool in your self-help toolbox. We like to supplement our meditation practice by incorporating positive affirmations at selected times of the day. Try it and see if you become a believer.

Here are 8 affirmations our staff submitted from their own daily rituals.

I am feeling healthy and strong today,
I am happy and content with my life.
I am patient and calm and greet the day with ease.
I make the right choices all day using my inner wisdom.
I have all the information I need to solve any challenges that come up today.
I have the knowledge to make smart decisions for myself today.
I have all that I need to make this a great day in my life.
I am filled with gratitude for another day on this earth.

meditation and affirmations

Affirmations for meditation.

Space Clearing with Tingsha Cymbals

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

A customer called the other day asking about space clearing with tingsha bells versus smudging.

Space clearing is the practice of removing or clearing negative energy in your home, office or other personal space. The practitioner walks around the perimeter of the room or space they want to clear and rings the tingsha cymbals slowly and methodically.  The resonating sound and vibrations of the hand cymbals cleanse the negative energies and replaces them with good vibrations and a positive flow. Space clearing is an integral part of Chinese Feng Shui.

Smudging works in the same manner, except a smudge stick is used instead of a space clearing bell. Smudging is done with a bundle of sage, cedar or other herbs. The smoke emitted from the smudge stick is believed to attach itself to the negative energy and when the smoke dissipates, it takes the bad energy with it. Negative energy goes up in smoke, so to speak. Smudging was originally a practice of native American Indians.

We have spoken with numerous space clearing practitioners over the years and believe it is a matter of personal preference. Quite simply, some prefer tingsha, while others prefer smudge sticks. In our discussions, we discovered that some who preferred tingsha bells quite often had sensitivities to smoke or were concerned about the clients they worked with. It is possible that clearing an office space through smudging could cause discomfort to office staff, or that many commercial spaces today are deemed “smoke-free”. One teacher pointed out that some states, like California have strict laws about commercial, smoke-free zones and this discouraged them from smudging. Others had concerns with smoke in client’s homes, especially if they have young children, seniors or even pets in the home.

Today, we are more conscious than ever about chemicals,smoke and other potentially harmful elements in our personal spaces. Some space clearing masters indicate apprehension about using smudge sticks manufactured in other countries. They are concerned about the potential for harmful chemicals and ingredients used in the process, especially if scents are added. Chopa Zen Home offers a nice selection of tingsha, bells and chimes for space clearing practices. Visit our store and shop online.

tingsha cymbals

Tingsha bells for space clearing.

Gratitude is Good for Us!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Feeling grateful has many benefits: reduce depression, sleep better, connect to others with optimism, decrease negativity…it’s all good!

When you greet the day, think of 3 things to be grateful for. Share them with friends via email, FB, text, or just jot down your thoughts in a journal.

Create conversation with gifts, blessings, fortune and abundance.

Attitude of love.

Gratitude is an attitude.

Examples:

You are asked “How are you?” rather than say, “I can’t complain” try “Everything is going well, thanks” or “I am blessed”

Instead of “Don’t throw the ball inside!” try “Please take the ball outside”

At work instead of “Can I give you some constructive criticism?” try “Would you like some feedback?”

“Stubborn” can be “Persistent”

Smile at someone. Give someone a hug today. It can be fun turning negatives into positives. Good vibes come back to us. Gratitude is a boomerang!

Mindfulness Meditation – Get your Zen on!

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Simple mindfulness meditation: 

  • Find a comfortable, quiet place with natural light
  • Set an amount of time. most beginners start with five minutes a day and increase time with practice Use a meditation timer, your phone or kitchen timer
  • Sit on support – a park bench, a meditation cushion or mat, somewhere solid where you can be comfortable, your feet or knees touch the floor or ground.
    • Meditation for mindfulness

      Mindfulness meditation.

      Rest your hands on the top of  your legs, palms upward is most common but not necessary

    • Allow your spine to naturally curve,
    • Gaze gently downward or close your eyes
  • Focus on your breath
    • Breathe in with your nose or mouth and follow your breath.
    • Breathe out, releasing tension.
    • As you breathe in and out, know you are alive in the moment
    • If your mind wanders, go back to breathing in and out without judgment or expectation
  • If you need to shift position, pause, gently move and then return and follow your breath
  • When you are done, gently lift your eyes or open them
  • Pause, feel your thoughts and emotions and decide how you want to go on with your day
  • Whenever you feel stressed take a mindfulness moment, focus on your breathing and enjoy the moment as tension is released.
  • A recent JAMA study found that those who practiced mindfulness meditation had reduced chronic back pain. Others found reduced gastrointestinal issues, less anxiety, improved cholesterol levels and much more

We hope mindfulness meditation adds Zen to your life!

 

What is a Japanese Noren?

Friday, October 14th, 2016

A noren is a traditional Japanese door curtain or Japanese fabric divider.  They are hung in doorways, windows or even to conceal a hall or storage closet. Most feature a sleeve along the top for a curtain rod or bamboo rod for easy hanging.  The most common noren is rectangular, but you can also find ‘half door’ or ‘top door’ noren for specialized styles.  Noren normally have a slit that runs from the bottom to nearly the top. This makes it easier to pass through the curtain.

These Japanese dividers may be used to enhance any room or doorway.  Noren are also used professionally in business. Restaurants and small businesses use these in doorways to help keep out dust or as a buffer against the sun. Business owners often print their name and logo on these to draw more attention to their place. Outdoor noren used in businesses allow customers to know if the business is open or closed. The curtains are hung in the morning when they open and taken down at the end of the day when they close their shops.  These are popular in Asian restaurants to separate the kitchen and dining room.  Noren softens noise and can trap odors in the kitchen.

Noren are available in many styles and patterns including written kanji or calligraphy, fish, birds, poems, temples, mountains, scenery, characters and people.  Chopa Zen Home recently added several new patterns.  Our favorite is the Kinkaku-ji Temple noren. The Kinkaku-ji temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) resides in Kyoto, Japan and was built to house Buddhist relics.  Across the water, an elegant Maiko (Geisha trainee) strolling the garden has stopped to admire the temple. You will enjoy the vivid colors and symbolic designs of this noren. This noren is made by artisans in Japan.

noren curtain

Japanese noren door curtain

Why does a mala have 108 beads?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

If you ask several people, you may receive several different answers. The number 108 is significant for several reasons. Some meditation practitioners believe the journey of the human soul has 108 stages, while others associate the possibility taking just 108 breaths in a day, while in a deep meditation state of enlightenment. We would not recommend one try it.

The best theory we discovered is that the 108 beads on your mala is open to your own interpretation. What is important to you is what matters most. Mala beads were created as a practice tool to use during meditation. While you don’t need mala beads to meditate, most people that use them make it part of their ritual. Mala beads help you to manifest and keep you focused on a mantra. A mala allows one to chant their mantra and keep track of where you are. While many mala necklaces have 108 beads, some contain 54, or half of that amount of beads.

Another explanation for the number 108 is based on Chakras. It is believed there are 108 energy lines connecting to the heart. One of these paths is believed to be the path of self-realization. Others state that while chanting your mantra during meditation you are whole when you reach 100 times.  The extra eight beads account for errors or are meant to be an offering to your guru.

Another belief is based on the ancient script of India.  Within the Sanskrit alphabet, there are 54 letters.  Each has a feminine and masculine version adding up to 108. Other theories evolve around desires, lies and delusions. There are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals. There are said to be 108 lies that humans tell. There are said to be 108 human delusions or forms of ignorance.  Math also points to some theories of the number 108. Nine times twelve; both of these numbers have significance in various traditions, 9 X 12 = 108.  The number 108 is also a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits. Harshad is from Sanskrit and means ‘great joy’.

The more research you perform, the more ideas and theories you will discover. We fall back to our belief

108 bead mala

Mala bead necklace

that whatever is important to you is what matters.  Namaste!