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If you’ve begun meditating daily, or you’re interested in meditating and want to make sure that you have the setup, you may want to invest in a meditation bench.
Meditation benches are great for folks who are not very flexible, or who may have difficulties remaining in a kneeling position – which is usually recommended for meditation – for a long period of time.
But what is a meditation bench, and how does it work? In this article, we’ll explain everything that you need to know.
What Is A Meditation Bench?
A meditation bench is a small, single-person bench that is designed to take the pressure off your legs and ankles when kneeling, and to help keep your back and spine in proper alignment. The bench typically has two short “legs” which may be anywhere from 6-8 inches in height. These support an angled “seat,” where your bottom will sit when you meditate.
To use a meditation bench, you will simply place the bench behind you and get into a kneeling position. Then, you will slide the bench towards your behind. You will keep your ankles flat behind you and move the bench until it’s directly above your ankles. Then, sit down and rest your bottom on the seat. If this does not feel comfortable, you can feel free to adjust the angle and position of the bench and your bottom until it feels right.
“Pi” meditation benches are also available. These benches have one or two legs that are closer to the center of the bench. Instead of resting outside your legs when you sit, the legs of a Pi meditation bench will rest between your legs.
Your legs and knees will be bent, just like they would be if you were kneeling. However, you will not be “sitting” directly on your ankles, because your bottom will be resting on the seat. This helps relieve some of the discomfort that you may feel when kneeling for a long time.
In addition, the angled seat of the meditation bench makes it easier to keep your spine in alignment and maintain the proper posture. Because of this, a meditation bench is an ideal choice for you if:
- You want to remain more comfortable than meditating
- You experience pain and discomfort when kneeling
- You have spinal issues and must maintain proper posture
- You lack flexibility and have trouble getting into a kneeling posture
- You have joint issues that may prevent you from kneeling properly/kneeling for a long time
Choosing the Right Bench Height
To make sure you are perfectly comfortable when meditating, it’s important to choose the right bench height for your height and body shape.
A bench that is too high may put too much weight on your knees, which will make you uncomfortable when meditating for a long period of time. In contrast, a bench that is too short may put additional pressure on your ankles, which will also make you feel uncomfortable when meditating.
Most benches range in height from about 6-8 inches. If you are shorter, it’s best to choose a shorter bench. Taller individuals or those with long legs will be better off with a taller bench.
To simulate the feeling of sitting on a meditation bench and see what feels right to you, you can use a stack of small books. Stack them equal in height to the bench (say, 7.5 inches), and then kneel and sit on the books just like you would with a meditation bench. Once you find a height that feels comfortable, you should look at benches that are very close to that height.
If you are worried about finding the right height, you can also opt for an adjustable height meditation bench. Here’s one example on Amazon.
Note that you can make a taller bench feel “shorter” by placing blankets below the bench. It will sink into the blankets, making it shorter and more comfortable. However, a bench that is too low can’t be adjusted in this way. If you think you’re between sizes, we recommend scaling up!
Proper Meditation Posture – Our Top Tips For Beginners
If you’re using a meditation bench and want to make sure that you keep proper posture throughout your next meditation session, here are a few tips that you should follow to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.
- Cushion your knees – Even though most of your weight will be on the bench, you will still have some pressure on your knees when you are using your bench. If you are using your bench on a hard or non-carpeted surface, you should cushion your knees to keep yourself comfortable. You could use a yoga mat, a cushion, a rolled-up blanket, or any other soft object of your choice.
- Keep your ankles flat, or support them with a blanket or towel – If your ankles are flexible enough, the ideal position for them is to keep them flat and straight behind you, with the soles of your feet pointing upward. However, if your ankles are not flexible enough for this, you can place a rolled-up blanket or towel underneath them, which will allow them to rest in a more neutral position.
- Make sure your back is “tall” and straight” – Meditation benches make it easier to improve your posture, but you still must pay attention to how you are sitting. Do not “slouch” forward or allow your spine to curve excessively. Picture a wooden rod or a stick attached to your spine – you want to keep that rod vertical and pointing directly toward the ceiling!
- Stay relaxed – You should be focused on your posture, but not excessively so. To meditate properly, you must be relaxed. Keep your muscles relaxed, loose, and focus on your breathing meditation!
- Don’t be afraid to adjust – It may take a little while to figure out how to use your meditation bench for maximum benefits. That’s okay! Everyone is different. Don’t be afraid to adjust and try different angles, new cushions and other positioning changes – everyone is different!
These tips are sure to help you find the right position and posture with your meditation bench. Remember that everyone is different – depending on your age, weight, height, and other such factors, the proper angle, height and posture when using a meditation bench may vary.
If you’re comfortable, there’s no wrong way to use your bench!
Benefits of Using a Meditation Bench
Using a meditation bench has a number of benefits for meditation practitioners of all ages, sizes and levels of expertise. Here are just a few of them!
- Keeps you comfortable – To meditate properly, you must be comfortable. If you’re distracted by aches, pains and discomfort, you won’t be able to focus on your meditative practice. For some people, a meditation bench is a great way to enhance comfort.
- Makes meditation more accessible – A proper meditation posture is essential, but many older individuals, people with joint issues or people with flexibility problems may find it hard to assume a traditional kneeling posture. The meditation bench is a great “in-between” that combines the benefits of both kneeling and sitting in a chair.
- Better posture – Keeping your spine in alignment helps prevent issues like lower back pain. If this is is an issue for you, check out our our article on the best meditation cushions and chairs for back pain. In fact, the posture you assume when using a meditation bench can actually train you to maintain better posture throughout your day-to-day life!
- Multi-purpose – Even when you’re not meditating, a meditation bench can be useful! They’re a great height for sitting at a coffee table or other low table – whether you’re eating a meal, indulging in one of your favorite hobbies, or doing anything else, you may find that your bench is so comfortable that you want to use it all the time!
A meditation bench will not magically make you “better” at meditating, and not everyone needs a bench to kneel and meditate properly. But if you have experienced discomfort in the traditional kneeling position, chances are that it’s distracting you from the experience of meditating – and you may not be able to focus as well. If this situation sounds familiar to you, a meditation bench may just be the right solution!
If you’re looking for other ways to improve your focus during meditation, consider using a scented candle to set the mood.
Are Meditation Benches Foldable?
This depends on the model of meditation benches. Most traditional meditation benches are not foldable, but as they have become more popular, more companies are offering foldable models.
High-quality, lightweight, foldable meditation benches are made of the same durable wood materials as traditional benches. However, the legs are not simply attached with nails or screws. Instead, they are attached to durable folding hinges.
These hinges are lockable, so you can lock the bench into an open or closed position whenever you want. A foldable bench is easier to store when it’s not in use. They are also easier to transport if you are going on a trip or need to move it to another area of your home.
There are also plastic meditation benches that are available. They are often foldable and are very lightweight in comparison with wood benches. However, they are also usually lower in quality, and wear out more quickly.
A plastic bench may be okay for occasional use or for traveling, but a high-quality wood meditation bench will be a better overall investment if you plan on using it regularly – a wood bench will last much longer compared to a plastic model.
Enhance Your Daily Practice With a Meditation Bench
A meditation bench can be a great accessory if you have flexibility problems, joint issues, or simply find the traditional “ankles-under-legs” kneeling posture to be uncomfortable.
Thanks for reading, and taking the time to learn more about these helpful and unique meditation products. Happy meditating 😊