A Cup of Chai With Jason - The Sit Co-Founder

Jason and Mike started Making Meditation Mainstream (now The Sit) in 2018, with a goal to make meditation part of people's everyday lives. In the lead up to Mental Health Week 2022, we had a Cup of Chai With Jason to delve a bit deeper into what The Sit is all about. 

Let's start with a bit about yourself - who are you and where are you from?

My name is Jason Partington, I am the Co-founder of The Sit, and I am from Adelaide originally, but now reside in Sydney's Northern beaches. 

Tell us a bit about The Sit, how did it all start?

In December 2018, in our little pocket of the world, we had some deep trauma in our community - we lost 33 people to suicide. I was deeply impacted by this, and there was a meeting called for men at our local surf club in Avalon Beach to discuss why so many men were choosing suicide as an option from life's burdens.

They put out 30 chairs, 300+ men turned up with their sons - it was packed to the rafters. For me, this was a watershed moment. During this evening, men told of their challenges, their loneliness, anxiety, depression and in some cases, loss of their sons. It was in this moment that I decided I needed to act and become the ripple effect, not just for men but for our entire community.

I had been a meditator for 20+ years, and it has saved me in more ways than one. It was a pillar practice that filled my cup everyday, and provided me with true connection and capacity to handle life's ebbs and flows. I asked myself the question - 'why doesn't everyone meditate?'... and the answer was that there were just too many spiritual and religious stereotypes and barriers to access it easily.

So, we created a global movement that would make meditation and mindfulness super accessible and available for everyone. We wanted to de-mystify it and provide a super practical but also amazing experience in nature every single week. We created The Sit community, which is an Australian registered 'not for profit' that would provide FREE sunrise meditations in nature every Saturday for the community. Every week, we have dozens of people that enjoy the experience of meditating together in nature. It is truly amazing to witness people from all different ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, exceptionalities, language, religion, sexual orientation, and geographical area - all sitting together, as one - its quite unique and very beautiful. 

What does an average working day look like for you?

I begin my day with a meditation at 5am - or a 'sit' as we fondly call it. It's a 20-minute silent meditation passed down to me 23 years ago. I'm consulting to the USA for the next 3 months, so I begin my work day at 5.30am and go until 10.30am. I have an awesome home gym set up, so I stop every day around 11am for a workout and some lunch, before working on 'The Sit' with our amazing team. My evenings are usually pretty busy facilitating our course called 'The Shift' with our team  - it's an 8 week deep dive into meditation, mindfulness, breath-work, capacity and resilience building and self awareness. 

What are The Sit's greatest achievements and what are you most proud of? 
We raised just under $100k for Lifeline and Head Above Water in 2020 / 2021 - which was an incredible effort from our team. We were named community event of the year for the Australia Day awards - that was a great recognition for our team. 
What's been the biggest challenge?

Hmm, there are lots of challenges managing a not-for-profit plus a commercial enterprise at the same time - so I would say, just a lack of time to do everything would be the biggest one, plus being pulled in multiple directions at once! It's also super challenging as a relatively small Not for Profit to access grants and funding from the Government - it just seems to be geared to all go to the bigger charities. Writing grants is a specific skill set and takes a lot of time to write and apply for. 

Where's your favourite spot to meditate?
I would have to say the beach. It's just incredible... It's so loud in many respects...with the waves and the wind, and being open to the elements...but there's something so raw and beautiful about it. 
When you've got a bit of free time, what do you like to do?

I love to ride my motorcycle! I love the feeling of freedom that comes with riding a motorbike. I think it all began when I was visiting Bali so often, and would rent motorcycles to get to and from the beach or the restaurants. It just makes you feel alive. Although there has been a couple of dodgy moments there as well ;) 

Do you have a favourite Prana Chai Blend?

I sure do... I cant go past the Original Blend. It takes me back to India every time I brew it up :)

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
I have a trip currently in the planning stages to India for my 50th. I am planning on buying a motorcycle and riding from the very South - to the Top of the Himalayas on a traditional Royal Enfield Bullet 500 motorbike (for those motorcycle enthusiasts). There are a lot of moving parts to this trip, so it will take a lot to organise from here - a mechanic will be super important! 
Are you working towards anything exciting that you can share with us?

Yes, we are super excited about 'The BIG Sit' challenge that we are doing with Prana Chai. It's a fantastic opportunity for people to commit to meditation for October, and see what a difference just 10 mins a day can make to their life.

We're also planning on a huge get-together at Manly Beach on Sat 29th October at 7.30am, where we would love to see hundreds of meditators all together! At the same time, we will be raising funds for Goctha4life, an amazing charity that is all about suicide prevention.