Probably like many folks, I used to attempt to meditate in a less-than-ideal environment. I’d get up early and use the couch in the sunroom, the bolt upright chairs at the kitchen table, or other locations that were equally sub-optimal. I’d get interrupted by noises and sensations…like my kids jumping on me when they got up early.
It didn’t take me long to recognize the value of having a dedicated space for meditation. I also found that there is value in a few well-chosen accessories to a meditation space. If you can create an association between tranquil meditation and a certain space and/or certain objects, you’ll attain that inner silence that much faster.
Below I’ve divided all the meditation gear into categories and I’ve made at least one recommendation per category. Whether a gift to yourself or to a loved one who meditates, this list should get you faster results in your quest for inner peace.
If you want to outfit a quiet space with purpose-built furniture (which I think is a solid idea), you’ll need a place to sit and maybe a table, at a minimum.
I once had a meditation teacher that described the proper posture for meditation. It is possible, of course, to meditate in virtually any position. However, there are also positions that encourage the proper flow of energy through one’s body.
My teacher described it as sitting with dignity, as you’d sit if you were a monarch. I personally found it easier to do this if seated in a chair that encourages that posture. It takes a bit of practice to hold it without any assistance and that’s one less thing I’d have to avoid obsessing over while trying to meditate.
Below is our top pick, followed by a more portable model and the Padma seat, which is really an accessory for any chair. Also, check out our full review of meditation chairs.
This is our top recommendation for meditation chairs. It's neither the most expensive nor the cheapest, but it's packed with value and versatility.
A step down in price is this very portable model. It has a different look from most other meditation chairs and it folds for easy carrying. This is a highly rated meditation chair that would double as a comfy chair to take to sporting events.
This isn't really a chair or a cushion, but it's a great way to hold your body effortlessly in the Lotus position regardless of what else you're sitting on. This could be a great addition to one of the chairs above and it's very affordable.
Some people find it a great deal more comfortable to sit on a meditation bench than on a cushion. It lifts you higher off the ground which is easier for people with limited flexibility.
A cleverly designed hinged, folding meditation bench made of sturdy walnut. It's not cheap for a meditation bench, but it's so much better looking than the other options that it may just be worth it.
Here's a mid-range version that has a padded surface. Unless you meditate for hours on end, I've found that padding on a bench doesn't matter that much but it can't hurt.
Here's the economy model; it's just like the one we had in our house when I was growing up. Just the basics, but if this is what you're seeking and you don't want to build it yourself, this will do the trick.
This category is also to help you sit properly and if you’re more experienced and don’t want or need a proper chair, you can save some money by just getting a cushion or mat. Make sure you get one that is the proper height for how you like to sit. Small differences in height can make a big difference when you're starting out.
This category is also to help you sit properly and if you’re more experienced and don’t want or need a proper chair, you can save some money by just getting a cushion or mat. You can also use a mat in combination with a cushion. That's what I do because anywhere your bones hit the floor (like your ankles in a cross-legged position) will start to hurt pretty quickly if there's no cushion at all.
This is an extra large meditation mat that is intended for use with the Zafu cushion in the cushions section below.
This is a much smaller, cheaper and more portable mat that is handy for traveling.
This is a high quality mat that can fold so that it's part mat and part seat/cushion. It's actually great for any kind of floor or outdoor seating but it was designed specifically for meditation.
Meditation Cushions and Pillows
Below are some great meditation cushions and pillows, which you can use with or without a mat.
This is the Zafu Yoga Meditation Pillow which I like because it is tall enough to help out inflexible folks like myself. It also comes in a wide variety of colors and is pretty affordable. They make a variety of these as well, filled with cotton or buckwheat and with several designs.
This meditation pillow is filled with buckwheat, which is an eco-friendly option that never goes flat. The cover is washable and it's a svelte size overall, making it a good choice for travel.
Of course there's an organic option, did you really need to ask? And here it is, you can get it stuffed with buckwheat or 100% Organic cotton. They use obscene quantities of pesticides on cotton, so this isn't a terrible idea, though I don't know how big a deal it is in the context of a meditation pillow.
This is a neat idea. It's a highly mobile meditation cushion that has 3 separate chambers that are filled with air when you want to meditate. The rest of the time it can be flat as a pancake; perfect if you are a meditator who travels often.
The options for meditation tables falls into a pretty narrow range. There are a lot of similarly priced options and most of them have a very minimalist and modern appearance. If that’s your thing—which it is for me and I suspect for most people—then here are a couple good options:
This is the top-rated option from our meditation table reviews. It's beautiful and made of reclaimed wood so it's recycled. You can't beat it!
Another cool-looking and modern option, this table is two-toned which gives it a whole different appearance than the other options. Still totally modern in design though.
This category contains aids to help you meditate. There are essentially three sub-categories here, apps, books and sounds/music. There is a tremendous opportunity to improve your practice through education and augmentation. I’ve listed some of my favorites below.
My two favorites here are Headspace and Calm. They both have free trials that are useful even if you never go beyond that. You can get a pretty good meditation practice going with nothing but one of these apps. I highly recommend them for beginners.
There's a wide variety of meditation music available. Which music you choose is entirely up to you and for the purposes of effectiveness in your practice, probably doesn't matter that much. The one exception to that is binaural meditation, which is covered later in this article.
Below are a few of my favorites to get you started:
Meditation (like most things) is best learned by doing. However, you can get a useful foundation from reading books. I also find that it helps me to stay inspired to continue my practice. I specifically do NOT recommend the books on transcendental meditation (TM). I have nothing against that practice, but the books are just long sales pitches for seeing an expensive TM teacher.
Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite books on meditation:
One of the very best ways to get farther faster in meditation is using binaural sounds to slow your brain waves much more quickly than you'd otherwise be able to without years of practice. The best program for doing this is called Holosync by CenterPointe. It's a scientifically proven method for accelerating your meditation practice.
I consider these more optional than furniture and even than the other meditation aids in the last category. They are essentially decor items that personalize your space and some believe them to have their own energetic properties.
You may not be aware of this (I wasn't until a few years ago) but a lot of people believe that different stones have different energies and healing properties. Whether you believe that or not, some of the meditation stones below can make attractive additions to your meditation space.
A common accessory is prayer beads. Many practitioners of meditation, particularly Buddhists, use prayer beads when they pray or meditate. If you like them, they're one of the cheapest accessories available.
In addition to these bracelets, there is a wide variety of meditation jewelry available, from pendants and charms to rings and necklaces.
Why would I lump bowls and gongs together? It's a fair question but it's because they both exist for the purpose of making similar noises. I strongly prefer a bowl, the sound a good bowl makes is transcendent, but that's a personal preference. Below are some good quality bowls and gongs.
These are obviously just for decor and creating a serene space that is customized to you and your beliefs or practices.