It’s possible to meditate anywhere — hoisted up in a used Herman Miller Aeron, in the middle seat of a crowded plane during turbulence, in the early hours of the morning before children come barreling downstairs — but taking five minutes to breathe can be difficult if your body feels uncomfortable. Almost every recorded meditation will start with “find yourself in a comfortable seated position…” But what if that position isn’t on the ground cross-legged with every chakra aligned? For some, getting up and down off the floor is a pain, but that’s where meditation chairs and benches come in.
The goal of meditation furniture is to provide both comfort and support during your practice so you can stay relaxed but engaged. For this reason, meditation chairs and benches tend to be smaller, minimalist, and designed to support the spine.
The Best Meditation Chairs & Benches: At a Glance
What the Experts Say
SPY spoke to Dr. Jenelle Kim, a doctor of Chinese Medicine, and yoga instructor Ellie Smith about the benefits of meditation chairs and benches, as well as what to look for when shopping for one yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions About Meditation Chairs and Benches
What Should You Look For In a Meditation Chair or Bench?
Dr. Kim recommends looking for one that’s portable, because a lot of us travel regularly, and also one that’s adjustable: “Choose a chair or bench that accommodates your body size and personal preferences,” she says. “Look for features such as adjustable height, tilt, or back support.”
Smith suggested keeping body position in mind, as well. “Having your knees higher or lower than your hips may cause tension in the knees, legs, and ankles, or cause the back to round uncomfortably,” she says. “Over time, this will serve to distract you from your meditation practice.” For optimal comfort, choose a bench or chair that keeps the hips and knees level, the ankles at 90 degrees with the legs, and supports a straight back.
In her personal practice, Smith adds, she prefers chairs with a sturdy seat and back: “My knees [need] to be in line with my hips while my feet are firmly placed on the floor.”
Are Chairs and Benches Better Than a Meditation Cushion?
There are pros and cons to each one. “Meditation chairs and benches can be helpful tools for maintaining a comfortable and upright sitting posture during meditation practice,” says Dr. Kim. Cushions, on the other hand, are designed with the ultimate goal of comfort, but require getting on and off the floor. Ultimately, it’s important to choose whichever one fits your physical and mobility needs.
Monk & llama Meditation Bench
Why It Stands Out: This small, sleek bench comes with a top cushion for extra comfort.
Made For: Folks who both sit and kneel during meditation.
This foldable meditation bench stores compactly and comes with an accompanying cushion that makes it much more comfortable to use. Legs can either be cross-legged out front or tucked underneath the bench for a kneeling position.
Mindful & Modern Folding Meditation Floor Chair
Why It Stands Out: This chair offers both tailbone and back support for those who need it.
Made For: Folks who struggle with their posture and sitting upright for longer periods of time.
This folding floor chair gives users the benefits of sitting on the floor but resolves the big issue of back support. The cushion lifts the sit bones slightly off the floor to help the knees and hips relax, and the sturdy filling gives the back a sturdier place to rest so the abs and back muscles don’t tire as quickly. It’s also easy to adjust, comes in three colors, is waterproof, and folds flat so it’s easy to store.
Florensi Meditation Bench
Why It Stands Out: The Florensi brand is well-known in meditation circles, and this bench is well-made and incredibly compact.
Made For: Those who know they want to spend more time on their knees rather than their butts while meditating.
The Florensi Meditation Bench, which comes with a cushion, and is made with bamboo and has a lightweight yet sturdy ergonomic design. The magnetic hinges lock in place and the legs are designed to be anti-slip so they won’t slide around on the ground as the user is getting comfortable.
Hihip Patented Legless Floor Chair
Why It Stands Out: This chair’s more breathable back offers support and a promise of less sweating.
Made For: Those who like a multi-purpose floor chair.
This orthopedic meditation chair has an odd look of an office chair with the legs cut off, but it offers excellent back support and helps position the hips and pelvis into a position that can be held for extended periods of time without the body getting tired. It’s a great option for those looking to sit on the floor while supporting their body.
Friends of Meditation Relaxing Meditation Chair
Why It Stands Out: This chair is an investment compared to others on our list, but its extra bolstering and comfort make it worth it.
Made For: Those who want a more luxurious meditative experience.
This meditation chair more resembles a meditation throne, with three different cushions supporting the body, including a backrest to prevent fatigue. It’s also large enough to make sitting for hours more comfortable.
Ungloo Meditation Floor Chair
Why It Stands Out: This meditation chair has a more elaborate setup with a backrest, elevated seating surface, and accompanying knee rests.
Made For: Those who don’t mind a lack of aesthetic appeal.
This box chair isn’t designed for pleasing aesthetics, but it’s comfortable and offers more comprehensive support than some of the other options on this list. It’s designed to support the back, hips, knees and ankles simultaneously, and the accompanying tools can be stowed within the chair itself for convenience.
Bluecony Meditation Bench
Why It Stands Out: This bench has a minimalist design for more experienced meditators.
Made For: Those who embrace the minimalist lifestyle and aren’t prioritizing comfort in their practice.
This meditation bench isn’t as comfortable as other options on this list but is perfect for more experienced meditators. The simple wooden design doesn’t come with any cushions or pads for joints but has a sleeker look. It comes in three different height sizes and two colors and can be used for sitting or kneeling.
H-A Ergonomic Cross-Legged Chair
Why It Stands Out: This rolling meditation chair is easy to move from place to place and can be used for the workday as well, so long as the user doesn’t need back support.
Made For: Meditators who like multi-purpose functionality.
This unusual chair is good for those who don’t want to be on the floor, and doubles as a viable work chair too. The chair is designed for crossing the legs, with an elevated platform for the tailbone and a wider seat below for cushioning the knees and ankles.
Forest Aesthetics Kneeling Meditation Bench
Why It Stands Out: This is another minimalist wooden meditation bench with a much more affordable price tag.
Made For: Minimalists on a budget.
This minimalist bamboo stool has a budget-friendly price tag and folds flat for easy storage between uses. It’s angled five degrees forward for just enough tailbone support without putting too much pressure on the knees and it caters to both cross-legged and kneeling positions.
There’s More Than One Position for Meditating
Sitting cross-legged with a straight back, hands on the knees, and eyes closed isn’t the only position that unlocks meditative benefits. Meditation on the ground can be wonderful, but straining distracts from the mindfulness and, ultimately, finding a position that can be held consistently and comfortably is the goal. This may involve a meditation bench or chair, or a bolster, blanket or cushion. It also may not involve sitting. Trial and error are necessary when building out a new habit or practice, and thankfully there are a ton of options for different body types.