What is a Meditation Bench
If you prefer to practice your meditation on your knees, but find that kneeling on the floor often leads to discomfort, then it might be time for you to invest in a meditation bench. These benches are specially designed for meditating in a kneeling position, and allow you to meditate comfortably for much longer than you would be able to if you were just kneeling on the floor.
Meditation benches are used during meditation sessions to provide you with a little more comfort while you are sitting or kneeling, especially if you find the traditional kneeling position uncomfortable. They support your upper body, reduce pressure on your shins, knees and ankles, and stimulate your posture so that you sit in a healthy upright position. They’re a great tool for anyone who enjoys kneeling while meditating.
So what is a meditation bench and how can you use it? Just keep reading to discover the answer to this question and what meditation benches do for us during our practice sessions.
When you sit in a cross-legged position, you might experience a tingling sensation in your upper legs and groin, or you might feel numbness throughout your legs. If you do, then you’re not alone - this is a common experience among many people.
This sensation is caused by compression that occurs at the knees and tension in the groin - both of which can hinder the blood circulation in your legs. When we sit in a kneeling position, especially on a meditation bench, this pressure is distributed more evenly, and you’ll find that there is not as much tension in your groin area.
Because of this, you’ll be able to sit and meditate for much longer without having to suffer that pesky numb feeling.
The seat on a meditation bench has a slight forward slope to it, which allows your hips to tilt forward. This makes it much easier for you to keep your spine straight, preventing you from rounding out your lower back and falling into an unhealthy posture.
Because of this active, straight sitting position, you’ll experience no compression in your lower back, which allows you to sit comfortably for much longer. Being comfortable during your meditation sessions is paramount, as you don’t want to be distracted by annoying, persistent aches and pains.
When you sit on a meditation bench, you are going to be partly activating your abdominal muscles to make sure that you are sitting upright. What’s more, you will need to keep your balance to prevent you from swaying from side to side.
This subtle level of body awareness can really help you stay focused during your meditation sessions, which, like we mentioned before, is essential to meditating successfully. Distractions can pull you out of your meditative state, which can be extremely frustrating.
Types of Meditation Bench
There are two primary types of meditation benches that most people use. The first is the traditional meditation bench, and the second is the Pi meditation bench.
The traditional bench
When you use a traditional meditation bench, you will begin in a kneeling position on the floor. Once you are kneeling, you’ll lift your backside off of your ankles and slide the bench beneath your coccyx. At this point, you might have to adjust the bench backward or forward, or tilt it until you find an angle that is comfortable to sit in.
It is important that the bench is supporting your weight and that your ankles are flat against the floor beneath the bench, situated between the bench’s legs. If your ankles are not flexible enough to lay flat on the floor, you can use a cushion or blanket to provide some support to your legs, allowing your feet to hang over its edge for additional comfort. A rolled towel works well for this as well.
You’ll also want to adjust the bench so that you can get the perfect angle and height for your kneeling position. If you use a bench that is too high for you, you’ll be placing too much weight on your knees, which can become very uncomfortable very quickly. On the other hand, when the bench is too low, you place pressure on your ankles.
If the meditation bench has curved feet, you will be able to adjust its angle until it properly supports your body. Again, you can use blankets to increase or decrease the height of the bench. Experimentation will help you find the perfect kneeling angle for your meditation.
The Pi bench
Pi-style meditation benches have their legs toward the center of the bench rather than toward the outside, and are perfect for people who feel confined by traditional meditation benches, or who are just too tall for them.
Using a Pi bench is very similar to using a traditional meditation bench, save for a few minor adjustments. The biggest difference that you’ll notice is that your legs will rest on the bench’s outer area, which provides you with a bit more freedom of movement. This makes it easier to get in and out of your kneeling position.
You have two options when sitting on the bench.
Option 1 - Start in a kneeling position, then raise your backside up and slide the bench beneath you and between your legs.
Option 2 - Slide your body onto the bench, moving your legs underneath it simultaneously.
Like the traditional meditation bench, you are able to place a mat or cushion beneath the bench to provide a softer surface for your ankles and legs to rest on. While the Pi bench is generally more comfortable for your legs, you might have to make a few slight adjustments if you have tight ankles. A rolled towel is quite effective for supporting tight ankles without altering the position of the bench.
Now you know everything you need to know about meditation benches and how you can incorporate them into your daily practice. We hope this information aids you in a more peaceful and centered journey.