5 Simple Ways to Elevate Your Meditation Space (or Create One From Scratch) – The New York Times

Posted: December 21, 2020 at 2:58 am

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1. A comfortable seat Photo: Bean Products

Bean Products Zafu Meditation Pillow ($35 at the time of publication)

Believe it or not, there is an art to sitting properly for meditation. You need a straight back (to stay alert), stability (so you dont get distracted), and comfort. A meditation pillow lifts your hips above your knees, which can alleviate lower-back tension. Wirecutter producer Erin Moore has been using the Bean Products Zafu Meditation Cushion for years and still loves it. The cotton pillow is filled with buckwheat hulls that shift to support you through a variety of sitting positions, she says. Its also great as a cat bed when youre not meditating.

If you dont have the space or budget to get a dedicated meditation pillow, you can also use a yoga bolster you already own, as Wirecutter senior staff writer Lesley Stockton does. She likes the Manduka Enlight Rectangular Bolster. Its super-thick and firm, she says. It props up my tush high enough so I can sit in lotus position without angering my tight hip flexors.

Urpower 300ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser ($25 at the time of publication)

Theres evidence that our sense of smell is relatively connected to the parts of the brain that control emotional response. And theres also some evidence that scents like lavender can help reduce stress and anxiety. Adding a scent to the air while youre meditating can also help you focus on your breath, and every time you inhale youll get the extra benefit of smelling something nice. The Urpower 300ml Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser is a great option because it offers four timer settings, ranging from one to six hours (with auto shutoff). And there are seven changing LED colors to choose from, so you can set the color that best suits your mood.

I use a blend of lavender and cedarwood because those scents are soothing to me without making me feel sleepy. I use this blend only during meditation, so that my mind associates the scent with the practice. Now when I smell it, I immediately feel a sense of calm and presence wash over me. Look for a scent or blend that helps you feel calm and at peace. You dont want a super-strong scent that could distract you, since you shouldnt be focusing more on the fragrance than on your breathing.

If you dont like essential oils, consider incense, which also comes in a variety of scents. Unlike essential oil diffusers, which usually have timers, incense sticks come in a variety of lengths. Longer incense sticks will burn for longer periods of time (usually ranging from 30 to 90 minutes), which is helpful if you want the fragrance to last as long as your meditation session.

IKEA TVRFOT ($9 at the time of publication)

No matter how cozy your meditation corner is, itll be hard to relax if the lighting isnt right. Although any kind of light will suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light (from LED lights) has a stronger effect than light from warmer incandescent bulbs.

A small lamp in your meditation corner that gives off a warm light can help tame your monkey mind. In my corner, I have a simple IKEA lamp with a warm, daylight-tone bulb. If you want something on the fancier side, the Andrew Neyer Goodnight Light (a pick in our bedside lamps guide) turns on and off with a touch, so you wont have to fumble around looking for the light switch.

If you dont have the space for a dedicated lamp, consider swapping smart bulbs into your existing lighting setup so you can change the colors when youre ready to clear your mind.

UE Wonderboom 2 ($70 at the time of publication)

Silence is great for meditating, if you can get it. But if you live in an urban area with noisy neighbors and lots of commotion happening outside (like I do), then you might want to add some sounds to help drown out the noise. A small Bluetooth speaker can provide some subtle background music in any space. We like the UE Wonderboom 2 for its natural sound. Its one of the few small speakers weve tested that has a great balance of treble, midrange, and bass, so it can easily handle crystal singing bowls or gong sound bath soundtracks.

If a speaker wont work, then noise-cancelling headphones could do the trick. Alex Vaughn, a Wirecutter product manager, uses a comfortable pair of headphones so my zen time doesnt disrupt someone elses dayhazard of small apartment living. We suggest the Bose NC700 because theyre effective, comfortable, and lightweight, so they wont cause discomfort during longer mediation sessions.

Sound advice: Sometimes when I want a deeper meditation, I play binaural beatssounds set to a certain pair of frequencies, which, when combined, become a new tone. I listen to beta binaural beats to help me concentrate (as I write this article) and theta beats to help me fall into a deeper meditative state. I find these beats on the Insight Timer app (all tracks are free to use, but youll need a membership if you want to try the courses). You can also find tracks for free on YouTube.

The Sill Snake Plant Laurentii and Planter (starting at $40 at the time of publication)

Its hard to call any meditation or zen corner complete without a little bit of nature. Studies show that looking at, being close to, and interacting with plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress on the mind and body. I like snake plants (such as this one from The Sill) because theyre extremely hardy succulents that can survive in nearly any lighting condition, and I find their leaf pattern fun to look at. Just be mindful if you have pets because snake plants and others can be harmful to small animals if they are consumed.

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5 Simple Ways to Elevate Your Meditation Space (or Create One From Scratch) - The New York Times

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December 21st, 2020 at 2:58 am

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