Have you been wondering if a meditation chair is right for you? Check out this blog post by NewbieYoga and get the low-down on why you might need a meditation chair and what different types are available.
Meditating is hard work. Don’t believe me? Try sitting still for a half an hour on the floor. Going away on a Meditation Retreat sounds nice and relaxing, but, it can be extremely painful. As you settle in for your hour long meditation on the nice cushy carpet, your joints begin to hurt as well as your lower back. Some people (like me!) have their blood circulation cut off at the knees and their feet go numb. Why is this? Well, we don’t have strong backs and cores like we used to. Most of our hunter and gather days had us constantly using our backs and sitting on the hard earth. Nowadays, most of us sit or slouch on chairs so sitting on the floor and meditating becomes hard work for your back and core muscles.
Obviously the solution is strengthening your back and core, something that can be done with yoga and exercise. However, that takes time and for you to truly begin to enjoy meditating you might need a bit of help.
Why use a meditation chair?
Meditation chairs are designed specifically to aid with meditation positions. You can sit in lotus or hero pose and be comfortable. Most of the pain comes from lack of back support so meditation chairs help support you where you need it most. It isn’t the same as a regular chair which is designed for lounging or dining. A meditation chair is usually lower to the ground or on the ground and has thicker cushioning.
I do recommend meditating on the ground with cushions and a back support. Sitting on the ground or floor is active sitting because you need to engage muscles to do so without pain. Sitting on the floor also helps to “ground” you, which you need when attempting to go beyond your body during meditation.
There are a variety of meditation chairs. You need to determine a few things before deciding which one is right for you. First you must decide on your meditation position and your physical needs. Will you be sitting crossed legged, in lotus? Or will you be kneeling? Do you need extra upper back support? Or is just lower support fine?
Portability is another issue. Do you meditate at home in the same spot? Does it need to be packed away? Or will you be traveling with it? That’s an important factor.
And finally, how much are you willing to spend on a meditation chair? A regular cushion can cost $10 U.S., a meditation cushion can cost you around $30 U.S., but a chair can range from $40 to $400 U.S., so make sure you have a price in mind. Here are the three main chair types, the prices will vary of course so make sure you look around for a good deal.
The Back Support
There are many versions of this chair. From very simple to very luxurious. The main feature of a Back support chair is there is a seat with an attachment that supports your back. This chair usually folds up and is easy to carry.
Position: This is used mostly for sitting positions. Price: The cheapest. It can vary from $30-$130 U.S. for the more sturdy makes. Portability: Can vary from easy to a bit cumbersome.
The bench is most effective if kneeling is your favorite position. Many benches also have an ergonomic tilt so you are still actively sitting but without putting the pressure on your knees.
Position: This is used mostly for kneeling positions. Price: You can buy a bench for $40-$160. Portability: Easy to carry around but not as light and easy to fold as the back support chair.
The Full Chair
Finally the most sturdy and comfortable option as well as the most expensive. These chairs give full support in various meditation positions.
Position: This chair can be used for a variety of postitions. Price: The most expensive. Usually around $160-$400. Portability: Too heavy to move usually, ideal for meditating at home.
Do you use a meditation chair? If so, what kind do you use and why? Use the comment box below.
The handmade chair in the image is from KAMPSTUDIO.