Spiritual Gear: 5 Material essentials for your spiritual path
Lululemon is a $2 Billion company. Kripalu pulls in annual revenues of $30 Million. Deepak Chopra has five pages of meditation products on his website. Makes you wonder about the Himalayan yogis sitting in their caves, doesn’t it? How do they manage to reach God without all this paraphernalia? While I haven’t stripped down to just a loin cloth yet, these are the only five essentials I’ve seen add value to my yoga and meditation practice over the years:
I’m 6ft 4-inches tall, as a result, my feet are typically slipping on the floor in plank or downward dog. Were it not for Manduka’s marvelous extra length yoga mat, that is! But don’t get it just for the generous size. The Manduka mat has a legendary sturdiness. For all twelve months of our sabbatical, the mat was tied to the outside of my backpack, weathering snowstorms and the burning sun, through the most rugged of environments from Europe to India by road via buses, trains and ferries, from Rameshwaram in the deep south of India to Gangotri right at the top of the Himalayas, never fraying or tearing even a bit. Highly, highly recommended.
I’m a firm believer that meditation is free and democratic — you need no apps, props, secret mantras, Gurus etc. But if you’re not a born yogi (or were not one in one of your 84,000 previous lives), then sitting cross-legged on the floor for more than thirty minutes can be a challenge. The fix is simple. Your hips need to be at a higher elevation vis-à-vis your legs. You can sit on a couple of pillows to achieve that effect but this vibrant red Zafu cushion gets you up just a tad more elegantly.
From Christ to Buddha to Rumi to Mohammed, mystics through the entire history of human life have had stunningly similar experiences of the ultimate reality, the One who cannot be expressed. Except by Patanjali, the 2nd century BC, mystic-intellectual that is. He collated the entire body of ancient Eastern yoga in a taut, highly readable summary. This is the only book you need to dive into the heart of Eastern spirituality (oh — and THE SEEKER of course!)
My dietary changes have greatly helped my yoga and meditation practice by allowing me to have a light, vibrating energy throughout the day. The right food has also enhanced my productivity allowing me to make more time for my spiritual practice. All thanks to my wife, Kerry, being a graduate of this course. The online version of this course is easily accessible to all and yogi or not, I highly recommend it to get the most out of your life.
Typically, I find meditation retreats hokey with their chanting, gongs, and self-help affirmations. Vipassana is the only exception. The course is tough, scientific, and logical — and will allow you to create your independent meditation practice for life. I’ve done Vipassana three times and each time it’s given me something — the first time, a spiritual ideology, next, a deeper meditation practice and finally, the idea for THE YOGA OF MAX’S DISCONTENT which turned out to be my first international release. Highly recommended. And if you pair it with a yoga teacher’s training, you may well just start walking on water!
If any of the above help you reach enlightenment, do drop me a line from the other side. And maybe, I’ll see you there too. Until then, don’t forget to download my meditation video course and Kerry’s yogic nutrition supplement here. Yes, it’s free!