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The goal of meditation is to calm the body and mind in order to to enhance our physical, emotional and spiritual renewal. During meditation, the heart slows and blood circulates freely. The result: We’re refreshed, less stressed, more focused and creative. What’s not to like?
And, one of the best things about meditation is that you don’t need a lot of instruction or many supplies to begin. There are just a few items that will help you master the techniques while increasing the rewards and benefits of your meditation experience.
If you plan to meditate on a hard surface, most experts recommend a two-level pillow. The bottom level cushion, sometimes called a zabutan, is usually about 31-inches-by-26-inches in size. The best material for your zabutan is solid foam. On top of that cushion you’ll place a smaller pillow, or zafu, for lower back support. The zafu usually measures about 15 inches and is square or round, with a height of about five inches. The most popular zafus are stuffed with feather down, foam or buckwheat hulls.
Meditation timers come in a variety of styles and prices — everything from handmade wooden timers shaped like pyramids, to metal chime timers, to e-timers you can download to your computer. Unlike alarm clocks, with their annoying rings or electronic buzzes, the meditation clock you choose should use gentle, balanced sounds that reflect the quiet spirit of meditation. No one wants to be blasted out of a meditative state.
If you just can’t get comfortable sitting on the floor, a meditation bench or chair might be a perfect choice for you. There are benches constructed of wood, bamboo and rattan specifically designed to give you the enhanced ergonomic support you need to sit longer and more comfortably. Most benches and chairs come with pillows to fit them.
Depending on your individual taste, there are CDs providing every kind of meditation accompaniment: music, chanting, chimes, rainforest sounds, waves — whatever you need to help calm your mind and enhance your experience. There are also a number of instructional CDs available as well.
Experts from every school of meditation have written books for beginning to advanced meditation practices to help you grow and deepen your experience. A quick Google or Bing search can also help you find several interactive websites to guide you through your practice.