Thursday, January 6, 2011

Frugal Meditation

You can probably guess that I'm not terrific at meditation...okay...I'll confess that I pretty much suck at it.

I can't help it - my mind ALWAYS wanders - like Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love - I find myself decorating imaginary rooms or making "to-do" lists when I should be emptying my thoughts.

But I do recognize the value of meditation and I know I could give it a proper try if only I had the right furniture...

You see, my niece likes to meditate AND she has the coolest chair ever to do it in (which is probably her secret - right?).

Her chair is made by a company called "Zen By Design" and these folks have really done a nice job. It's only fair that they be compensated for their superior construction except that I can't actually afford the $429 plus tax and shipping for a pasttime I'm not particularly good at.
Their chairs are gorgeous!

So when my other yoga-loving friend Barb suggested that we make our own by modifying old chairs, I was on board!

As previously mentioned, my discretionary bank balance is a bit anemic these days, so my goal was to make a meditation chair with as little cash out of pocket as possible.

Here's how it went:

I spent $5 for the ugly 1980's era dinette chair at a yard sale.

This beauty had been outside a while so all foam and fabric had to go.

I spent another $7 for cross dowels and hole plugs that it turned out I already had but of course couldn't find when I needed them. Then I hacked off the legs to shorten the chair and repositioned the seat to give the correct yoga tilt.

I decided a separate cushion would slide me right onto my meditating butt so I set out to craft an upholstered seat instead.

I cut out a huge butterfly shape from some scrap chipboard.

Now my knees will have a place to be when I sit cross-legged.

Then I glued together strips of scrap foam from my last bench project. The best part was using my new electric knife to cut the foam to fit the chipboard!
Yes, I thoroughly washed the knife afterwards - in case you stop by for dinner sometime and see me carving roast beast.

The bad part about using scrap foam is that the joints were easily visable through the seat fabric so I needed batting. I scouted around the house and happened on a quilt I'd made a few years back that had turned out to be too itchy to use - BINGO!

I absolutely LOVE my upholstery stapler - it's may favorite tool ever!
 I used scrap upholstery fabric for the cushion. I'd cut up an old broom to get the dowel I needed for the back support. Then I wrapped it with scrap foam and the result looked like something from a failed marshmallow experiment. So I wrapped it with blue painter's tape.
It's mostly even...

This was supposed to form the low back support...or in my case - sciatic support since I forgot to calculate the height of the seat cushion when I drilled the broom handle...sigh.

Finally, I placed my $12 chair facing the lake with the sunrise in view to my left...and discovered the secret to meditation...

I tried facing the sunrise but it's blinding.
...a furry friend.
Huckleberry loves how easy it is to hop into my lap.


  1. Sliding onto one's meditating butt does tend to disturb focus. :) Have you ever just fallen asleep and tilted over? Hard to have a early morning practice.

  2. Wow that turned out great! I was originally thinking i could make my own before I bought my chair but then decided I did not have the time or materials or work shop access (I was stuck living in the condo after my flooded townhouse at the time and my tools were all in a storage locker). I am totally impressed that you figured it all out from a pic and was able to adapt something. :)

  3. I would like to place an order and have it made by 2/2/11 for a pick-up date of 2/3/11 - Happy Chinese New Years! BTW - my last day of work is 2/2 at Sunset.

  4. Haha - I haven't fallen off but my morning meditation includes a cup of coffee so that helps.

  5. You were the inspiration Denise - your testimony and tips on how you actually use it helped me hugely with the design. Having the right tools makes all the difference.

  6. Happy Chinese New Years! Congrats on your retirement - will there be a party? I'd love to come lift a glass to you! If you come out to AZ to see me - we can make you a meditation chair of your own...