Meditation is wonderful on its own; no bells or whistles needed. All you need is yourself, really. A quiet space and a place to sit are nice, but not actually required. Wherever you are, there is always a place you can meditate. Present awareness is available to all of us anytime, anywhere. All we need to do is access it.
That said, there are certain things that can make meditation more comfortable, and things that can enhance the experience in various ways. The following are 7 “props” you can use during meditation. If you have a meditation room or zen space, these can make great accents.
If you’re sitting on the floor for your meditation, consider getting a cushion. Unless your carpet is incredibly plush and soft, your sit bones are probably going to hurt after awhile of sitting cross-legged. Sitting on a cushion can protect your precious sit bones, and make meditating a more comfortable, less hurty experience, especially for us folks past our twenties. You want your cushion to be soft, but also big, firm and flat enough to sit on comfortably.
Pro tip from a person with a bad back: Sit on your cushion with your back against a wall. Put another small cushion behind your back or your neck if need be.
Candles can add a vibrant, energetic glow to your meditation session. Place some around your meditation area, wherever feels right to you. If you’re stumped, try a circular layout. Just make sure that the candles aren’t anywhere that they can be easily knocked over, and don’t forget to blow them out when you’re done. Also, as artificially scented candles may be toxic, opt for unscented beeswax ones, or candles scented with real, natural fragrances.
If you have a large enough meditation room, consider a fountain for a centerpiece. If you have an outdoor meditation garden, you could make a fountain an amazingly tranquil focal point. The gentle sounds of water bubbling are very zen for many people — myself included. Just make sure you test out the sound and feel of a fountain before you buy one. I once had an experience with a little fountain that looked great, but sounded irritating. Make sure yours has a pleasing gurgle.
Many types of incense can be perfectly at home in a meditation area. You could set up a regular stick incense burner, a cone incense burner, or use an oil burner. Just make sure that the incense you use is natural, without artificial perfumes or filler ingredients. Give woody, earthy scents a try.
Many people use mala beads to focus their meditation. This consists of holding and focusing on certain stones in order to tap into their energies. These beads are also quite beautiful, and can adorn a room along with being a functional meditation tool.
A tabletop zen garden can really help get you in the mood for meditation, especially if you’re feeling antsy and having a hard time relaxing your body and mind. Before you meditate, try raking some sand — spirals are always zen — stacking some small rocks, or arranging the other items in your zen garden. This can put your mind in a perfect state for meditation.
Essential oils are a great way to fuse meditation with aromatherapy. Many scents can greatly enhance your sense of calm and awareness. Examples include lavender, cedarwood, and sage. Make sure you purchase a high quality, therapeutic grade oil, and either place a few drops in a diffuser, or mix with a bit of organic coconut oil and apply to pressure points before you meditate.
What other “props” do you use during your meditation? Any favorites you’d recommend?
— Meditation Daily