There are literally thousands of people who struggle with meditation. Some of the most common challenges are finding a few moments of stillness, and internal and external silence. Or even a position that feels comfortable. While most meditations involve sitting on the floor, usually in the 7 Point or Lotus position, if you are not comfortable doing so, do not hesitate to use one of the following seating options, designed especially for meditators. It's one of the most practical meditation tools. After that, explore the other meditation accessories that will make your practice easier, smoother and as a result, more enriching.
1. Meditation Seating
These come in various shapes, sizes and colors, and with a variety of stuffings that include kapok, quallofill, syrofoam beads and buckwheat shells. Some are even adjustable and even offer orthopedic approved designs. Additionally, you can also invest in smaller support cushions for your knees and ankles. These provide padding and are very useful if you have pain in these areas.
Weather you buy support cushions or not, it helps to have a zabuton or larger flat mat that goes under your cushion. This raises the cushion a little higher off the ground and also gives a slight padding to your ankles.
A straight-backed or meditation chair
This is a hybrid between a normal chair and a cushion. It is low, wide enough for you to sit cross-legged and offers back support.
This is a flat, floor level seat that offers back support. If you feel awkward, especially in a group, for not sitting on the same floor level, this is a great option that allows you to not stand out and yet be comfortable.
2. Yoga Mat
Even if you don’t do yoga, the mat could be a handy thing to have. You can use it as a surface to sit on, or to do relaxation exercises or meditation that requires lying down. It’s also very easy to carry around.
3. Mediation Clothing
You should wear loose and comfortable clothing while mediating. Avoid anything that constricts you, such as belts, watches, wristband, ties or tight clothes in general. Lose shirts or kurtas with pyjamas, comfy tracks, kaftans and robes work well. Try to choose natural fabrics that breathe but are soft on the skin.
You may want a light blanket to keep you warm, especially during relaxation exercises. Or keep a light shawl handy, especially if you are in an air-conditioned environment, or mediating in wee hours of the morning.
4. Meditation Jewelry
Jewelry has traditionally never played any role in the practice of meditation. However, the internet is now flooded with so-called 'meditation and yoga jewelry.' The wide range includes motivational messages, symbols, images of gods and gurus, crystals, beads and a range of spiritual motifs. While these are in no way necessary, a lot of people seem to find these very beneficial in setting intentions, and keeping them mindful and grounded in the practice.
5. Prayer beads
These have been used by meditators for thousands of years to count the number of times you recite a prayer or mantra. These help guide and intensify your awareness to your practice. They also connect your physical body to your mind while using mantras or prayer recitations as part of your meditation. You can keep your prayer beads in your meditation space, wear them or carry them with you in a small pouch. Wearing or carrying them ensures you can use them anywhere and whenever you have time...at an airport lounge, in the car or in the midst of a stressful day.
6. Bells, tingshas and singing bowls
Meditation is a practice that’s intrinsically independent of dependency on any rituals. Having said that, often simple rituals help you create a framework for your practice and become a nice way to lead in to and wrap up your daily sessions. Beginning and ending your meditation with the sound of a bell, singing bowl or tiny cymbals called tingshas can help you focus and get the most out of your sessions. These prayer instruments also vibrationally cleanse the atmosphere and raise your individual vibrational frequency.
7. Incense Sticks Or Oil Burners
Lighting incense sticks or oil burners in a fragrance of your choice creates a soothing and pleasing atmosphere. It calms you down, helps uplift your spirit, heightens the senses, and brings peace and harmony. By creating a positive emotional and mental state, the fragrance creates a calming atmosphere that is very conducive to meditative practice. For best results, choose a fragrance that you enjoy. Keep it natural and avoid chemicals.
For centuries, candles have been used in spiritual practice not only to illuminate the physical world but also to light the divine path. The flame has a calming power that creates a deep meditative mood. This combined with your own thoughts and desires can have a profound impact in assisting you in balancing and maintaining a healthy mind, body, and spirit. The flames own energies provide a good focal point for refection and meditation.
Several people get distracted during meditation simply because they don’t know how to keep track of time. They worry about over-shooting the time they have set aside for their practice, and as a result they disrupt their meditation to keep a check on time. That's why it helps to keep a timer. If you wish to set a timer on your cell phone, then do so after putting you phone of Airplane Mode, so that you are not disturbed by calls or messages. Choose a soft, gentle tone so that you don’t get jolted out of your meditative state. You can also you a Kitchen Timer, provided it is not too jarring.
I hope these tools help deepen your meditation practice and make it more fulfilling. If you have any other tools or suggestions, feel free to share them.