Meditation Bench vs. Meditation Cushion: Which Should I Get?
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Feeling burned out or stressed? Considering meditation, but before you dive in consider your physical space.
Believe it or not, mediation can be physically rigorous. Sitting for long periods is not easy, and it is going to be tough to get in tune with your mind and body if you are distracted by aches and pains.
That is why having the right seating is essential. So, what should you choose? Here is what you need to know about getting started with mediation and making the choice between a meditation bench and a meditation cushion.
What is Meditation?
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Meditation is the habitual practice of training your mind to redirect your thoughts. You can use the process to increase your awareness of your surroundings and yourself as well as develop other beneficial feelings and habits.
Some of the benefits of meditation include:
- Reduces stress – Studies show that regular mediation is able to reduce stress and improve the symptoms of stress-related conditions.
- Improves health – Meditation can help control pain because it is linked to your state of mind.
- Enhances sleep – A variety of meditation techniques can assist with relaxation and control the wandering thoughts that interfere with a good night’s rest.
- Slows aging – Meditation can reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and other issues that will shorten your lifespan.
- Promotes positive outlook – Meditation can increase positive feelings and promote a positive outlook toward yourself and others.
- Lengthens attention span – People who meditate experience improved attention spans and accuracy when completing tasks compared to those who don’t.
Comfort is Vital When You Meditate!
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If you are going to pursue mediation you must be comfortable. Most people meditate from a seated position (if you lie down, you will likely end up taking a nap).
Comfortable seating depends on the ability of your spine to maintain its natural curves. Your sacrum’s optimum position is with a forward tilt of roughly 30-degrees. With that achieved, the rest of your spine’s curve will be natural.
One problem that many run into with seated meditation is that the sacrum is positioned vertically or even tilted backward instead of that 30-degrees. In this scenario, the spine must compensate, and it takes a lot of core strength to hold the body upright. This can get exhausting!
While the cross-legged pose, or Sukhasana, is the traditional seated position for meditation, not everyone can do this comfortably on an even surface. Depending on how your hip joints rotate internally, having a meditation seat can help make this practice more comfortable.
Meditation benches and cushions are designed so that your sacrum and pelvis are higher than your knee joints, allowing your hip joints to naturally rotate forward and keeping your spinal curves intact.
Making Your Meditation Posture Count
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The seat you choose for your meditation practice will depend on your particular meditation posture.
To treat your body right, your posture should be:
- Straight – helps your body be more focused, alert, and present..
- Stable – so that you feel safe enough to turn inward without distractions
- Comfortable – enables you to sit for long periods without pain or interruption.
There are a variety of recommended positions for meditation, but here are the six primary ones:
- Full Lotus – Cross our legs with both feet resting on top of the opposite thighs.
- Half Lotus – One foot rests on top of the opposite thigh, and the other can rest below the knee or thigh of the other leg.
- Burmese – If you cannot cross your legs, sit with both legs lying on the floor in a relaxed position, also called the Sukhasana position.
- On a Stool – Sit on a stool with your legs slightly crossed in a comfortable position.
- On a Chair – When using a chair to meditate, place your feet firmly on the ground and sit away from the back of the chair.
- Kneeling – Some people find that kneeling while meditating is most comfortable, with both legs tucked under the body.
If you choose the full lotus or half-lotus posture, you should be more flexible because these can become uncomfortable after a period. No matter what posture you select, be sure that you:
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- Close your mouth and gently rest your tongue on the palate.
- Gently pull your chin back and stretch your head upwards.
- Relax your shoulders.
- Position your pelvis properly so that you don’t arch your spine.
Having your hips elevated from the floor can help you get the best position for your pelvis. A meditation bench or cushion can assist you in achieving this effect.
Making the Right Choice
When choosing between a meditation bench and a meditation cushion, you’ll want to consider your ideal posture or seating position first.
If you’re someone that prefers to sit in a full or half-lotus position, a meditation bench might not be practical, but a cushion would work well. A bench would work with most relaxed positions, like Burmese, and a cushion would work with just about any meditation position as long as it provides the right comfort and support.
What is a Meditation Bench?
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A meditation bench is a small wooden bench that is meant to take the pressure off certain body parts while you meditate. Specifically, it works well for people who experience knee discomfort while in the Sukhasana position. It is also perfect for kneeling since the legs can tuck underneath the bench.
If you tend to get sleepy when you meditate, a bench could be a good choice. Some find that it provides a level of comfort while increasing energy levels at the same time. If you want to buy a meditation bench, you will be able to find them in a variety of sizes and colors, and some even come with a storage or carrying bag.
What is a Meditation Cushion?
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Maybe you would rather have a meditation cushion that will allow you to sit for longer periods with comfort and stability. If you plan on buying a meditation cushion, you have a ton of options. These vary considerably based on their size, shape, and materials.
Shape and Height
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Meditation pillows come in a variety of shapes, from the classic wheel to a crescent shape to a square or rectangle. In terms of shape, many find the round ones work best because it is easier to adjust leg and knee positions around the curves.
Meditation pillows also come in different heights, from two to nine inches. If you are uncomfortable with a cushion, it is likely due to its height.
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What is inside your cushion can impact your meditation experience. More sturdy cushions tend to have buckwheat or Kapok fills. If you want something much softer, you can look for a cushion that is filled with cotton, wool, or air. While these might be comfortable, they may also lose their shape and support over time.
Choosing between a meditation bench and a meditation cushion will be simple enough once you have all the right information. Understanding the importance of posture as well as how you plan to meditate will help you find the product that will give you the most comfort while you get in touch with your mind, body, and soul.