The growing popularity of benches/stools in the realm of meditation makes many people wonder, “What is a meditation stool?” Find out more here.
Around the globe, stress levels are amongst the highest levels people have ever experienced. As a result, a growing number of people are turning to meditation to alleviate anxiety, gain inner peace, and enhance their overall well-being.
As you become accustomed to meditation, you might find yourself looking for ways to help elevate your practice and make it more comfortable.
A meditation stool, among many others, is a popular tool utilized by seasoned and amateur meditators and can be a great addition to your meditation practice.
But what is a meditation stool, and how does it help to level up your meditation sessions? Keep on reading to find out!
A meditation stool, also known as a meditation bench, is a seat designed specifically for meditators.
Sitting for an hour or more while meditating can be taxing – especially for beginners. A meditation bench eliminates this barrier by allowing a person to sit comfortably for extended periods.
Meditation benches may feature varying designs, but the basic style remains the same on all stools. A typical meditation stool features a small bench with a single seat and supportive legs at either end. A few, however, may contain single supports in the center.
The fact that a traditional meditation chair is also commonly called a “Japanese meditation stool” unveils a lot about its history and origin.
Although the practice of meditation is rightfully credited to the ancient yogis of India, it wouldn’t be wrong to acknowledge that Japanese culture has also significantly influenced the practice.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
The concept of a meditation stool can be traced back to the 18th century when the Japanese adopted the seiza sitting style. It soon became an integral part of their culture because it was considered a respectful way of sitting around superiors.
The Japanese seating style involved sitting in a simple cross-legged posture with the help of benches or cushions and even to this day, yogis replicate a similar style with minimal modifications when meditating with a meditation stool.
Using a meditation kneeling stool is quite simple. Here’s how to go about it:
- Begin by sitting on the floor in a kneeling position.
- We recommend keeping a soft blanket or rug below to keep your knees and legs comfortable.
- Lift your bottom slightly, away from your ankles, and place the stool under your sitting bone.
- Finally, find a comfortable seating angle – this may require you to make minor adjustments to the bench. For instance, you may need to tilt it slightly if you find yourself falling or sliding off during your meditation session.
If you’ve been meditating for a while, you probably already know how kneeling for long hours or meditating with a poor posture can hurt your lower back and neck.
Luckily, research has shown that a meditation stool can help improve spinal alignment and minimize stress and weight on hips, knees, back, and ankles.
A few other ways how it can boost your overall meditation practice include:
- The best meditation stools are able to boost your comfort level when meditating and allow you to practice for extended periods of time.
- It helps you maintain an appropriate meditating posture and prevents injuries by taking the pressure off your joints.
- When you’re first starting out with meditation, it can be helpful to have something to anchor you in place. A meditation stool provides a sense of stability and helps prevent you from getting distracted by your surroundings.
- A meditation stool also helps encourage proper spine alignment by elevating your hips slightly higher than your knees. This helps take the pressure off your lower back and prevents slouching and upper back or neck pain.
- Lastly, unlike bulky and heavy meditation chairs, they’re super portable and lightweight, making them easy to travel with and take with you on the go. And when you’re not using them, you can easily store them away without taking up too much space!
For those of you who are new to using meditation stools, here are a few tips to get you started:
The height of the meditation bench is important for two reasons: first, you want to make sure your hips are higher than your knees when seated; and second, you don’t want the bench to be too high off the ground where it might be unstable.
This is why when purchasing a meditation bench, it’s best to try it out first by sitting on it physically for a few minutes to get a better idea.
Meditation chairs are meant to improve your posture. That, however, does not imply you need not focus on your seating position.
Make sure to avoid drooping/slouching forward and ensure your spine isn’t excessively curved throughout your session.
Raise the crown of your head and heart center to straighten your spine. The key, however, is not to add stress to your spine but to keep it relaxed as you sit straight.
When first starting out, it can be helpful to widen your legs to help keep you from toppling over. As you become more comfortable and used to meditating with a stool, you can start bringing your legs closer together over time.
You won’t find your ideal position right away! You’ll need to make a few adjustments before discovering the ideal seating position for you.
The “right” position is the one that gives you the best meditation posture while keeping you comfortable. To achieve this, try experimenting and tilting your bench multiple times to find where it fits the best.
Avoid being overly concerned about your seating position. Once you’ve adjusted the stool and found your ideal seating posture, give yourself time to breathe.
Keep meditation at the forefront of your mind; you are meant to focus on breathing and keeping your muscles loose. Don’t get distracted from the intent of your practice by focusing too much on the stool!
Here are some frequently asked questions about meditation benches.
Some meditation stools come with cushions, while others do not. If you think you might want a cushion, it’s important to check before you buy to see if one is included. If it isn’t you can always purchase them separately at your convenience.
Cleaning your meditation stool is important to keep it in good condition. Most stools can be wiped down with a damp cloth. But if your stool is made of wood, you can also use mild soapy water to clean it. Just be sure to dry the stool completely before using it again!
Tech-savvy meditators can DIY their meditation stool. However, if you prefer convenience above everything, you can just as easily buy one. It won’t cost you much if you’re not going for a branded one.
Sitting for long hours can cause physical discomfort and stresses your muscles and joints, distracting you from meditating adequately.
Luckily, meditation benches offer a hassle-free way to meditate for long hours while maintaining proper posture and avoiding knee and back pain.
Just make sure to consider your needs and find one that is comfortable for you before making the purchase!
Have any other questions? Let us know in the comments below!