We’re all collectively going kooky as the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus traps us in our homes, but one of the best ways to clear your mind and haul yourself out of a rut is to practice meditation. There are a lot of types of meditation, each with many subtypes: Zen, Vipassana, Samatha, Transcendental, mindfulness, guided meditation, and so on, and there’s a lot of overlap.
The tenets of mindfulness, a less dogmatic approach to meditation than others, aren’t all unique to mindfulness. Much of its focus on gaining insight into your mind is lifted from millennia-old meditation practices. Guided meditation is most often bouts of quiet mindfulness punctuated by somebody’s directions of what to focus on. How you decide to set up your home meditation space is, in part, influenced by the type of meditation you plan to practice.
Set Up a Happy Environment
Making a meditation space is extraordinarily personal, and the one piece of advice that should supersede anything else is to make it a relaxing place that you enjoy being in. Having said that, clear yourself some room. It’s hard to concentrate if you have so many piles, boxes, and pieces of furniture in your face that you feel like you’re in a Rack Room store. Plunk down some plants. Add art if it makes you happy, or take it away if it distracts you.
Some people swear by candles, burning incense, or essential oil diffusers. Certain scents in particular can be relaxing; it depends on the person. Lavender and vanilla are the two most common ones, but sandalwood, rose, pine, and jasmine are also popular. Gear reviewer Medea Giordano has more tips on how to turn your home, or at least a room in it, into a sanctuary in her story on ways to stay calm and relax. Some methods, like tea or an Epsom salt bath, can be added to your meditation routine before or after your meditation session to draw out the calmness it brings you.
Meditation isn’t gear intensive. Just like yoga brands, there are a million and one stores clamoring at you to buy a few hundred bucks worth of Lycra. You don’t need a high-tech outfit. Wear something stretchy. Yoga clothes work just as well for meditation if you already have some. If you don’t, Lululemon and prAna are solid brands for stretchy yoga pants and looser, meditation-specific pants. Or you could wear sweatpants; Uniqlo has the best, in my opinion. Or don’t wear anything at all. It’s your home. Just avoid denim if you’re going to be sitting in a meditation position.
Try a Meditation Cushion
The one piece of gear I recommend you go out and buy is a meditation cushion. Some prefer to sit cross-legged on the floor. Others can meditate in a chair or on a bed, but a good cushion can save you from back pain and a sore tailbone, especially if your floors aren’t carpeted. Take a look at the Bean Products zafu. It’s $30, it’s made in Chicago, and it’s full of organically grown buckwheat. Our gear reviewer, Scott Gilbertson, bought his in 2011 and used it for seven years.