Thinking of introducing a friend or family to meditation? It may be helpful to have some meditation tools at their disposal. A cushion or a chair, for example, can help make their practice more effortless and accessible, relieving some of the stress of sitting for longer periods.
Looking For The Perfect Gift?
Below, we’ve provided a list of the best and most helpful meditation gifts available. These items make excellent presents for someone who is thinking about starting a meditation practice. Or, if you are considering it on your own, these can be excellent gifts to treat yourself with.
Before we dive into discussing the best meditation gift, here's some information about meditation in general and what you should know as a beginner in practice.
Meditation Tips for Beginners
Whether you’re thinking about starting a practice on your own or you know someone who is, understand that this is a great decision to make. Meditation is an excellent practice for finding more mental clarity and inner peace. It is a tool anyone can use, and the rewards one can reap are immeasurable.
Why try meditation?
Meditation helps you wake up and become more curious about yourself and your world. It can help you let go of anxiety, and it can help you be free of unnecessary stress as well. In addition to helping you feel more focused and centered overall, recent research on the effects of meditation has even proven that regular practice can “increase the brain's ability to process information.”
Meditation is a great way to work on self-reflection; it helps to de-stress, clear the negative energy surrounding you, and simply manifest mindful living with awareness and calm.
Why Mention Tips?
Before we go further, it may be helpful to talk a little about what it will take to start your practice (or help a friend start theirs). Here are the top meditation tips we recommend for beginners.
1. Learn from experts.
Many people want to know the purpose of meditation, however, it can be pretty difficult to define accurately. Traditionally, it’s seen as sitting on a meditation pillow (or zafu) and cultivating a quiet time in which you attempt to increase your self-awareness and quiet the mind of frantic thoughts and feelings. Still, it's not about checking out entirely, and it certainly isn’t about "not thinking." Thinking is absolutely acceptable, however, during practice, you will notice when and why you think. It's essential to be aware of your thoughts but not linger on them, and meditation teaches you to do so.
We certainly aren't trying to confuse you here. Instead, we are trying to convey just how complicated this mindfulness practice can be and why, as a beginner, it’s crucial to learn from an expert. While you can find a plethora of information online about how to meditate, an actual teacher has a deep understanding of the practice. They are the best resource for learning the true spirit of the practice.
2. Schedule your time on the cushion
While it may be your generalized goal to practice meditation every day, you’ll never just randomly “find time” to make your way to the mat. Instead, you have to schedule it — just like you prepare everything else in your life: exercise class, meetings at work, dental appointments, etc.
The good news is that if you lead a busy lifestyle, there are a few ways to make your “appointments” with your meditation pillow much more likely to happen. For example, if you’re always on the go, you can squeeze in private sessions conducted virtually via our streaming service with a teacher or a group.
3. Practice in a place you feel comfortable.
Your practice will inevitably be more successful if you promote a comfortable and relaxing space. In this space, you can have your meditation mat, cushion or pillow, and all other accessories and surroundings required to cultivate a strong practice. For many people, the ideal space is their own home.
4. Meditate with others.
In the Buddhist tradition, a sangha is a community of spiritual practitioners who meditate together. Of course, they also practice the Dharma of Buddhism together and foster an awareness of love, harmony, and mutual understanding. While it may not be possible for you to develop or participate in a sangha in your community, you can still tap into the essence of this idea by practicing meditation with others, even your whole family, colleagues or friends.
Perfect Meditation Gift Ideas
From a zafu and zabuton to a sage smudging stick and a Tibetan singing bowl, here are the best meditation gifts for the beginning meditator in your life. It could also be an excellent gift set for a meditation newbie, such as a loved one that wants to practice mindfulness.
1. White Sage Smudge Stick
Many meditation instructors and practitioners will burn sage before meditating. It is a helpful way to open up the senses and encourage clarity and focus. If used for meditation, the burning of sage is called “smudging.” The smudging ritual aims to cleanse the energy in your space. The practice involves lighting the sage with a match and letting it gently burn for a few moments. The sage can then be gently waved until a stream of smoke begins to come off the sage. The comforting, calming scent is perfect for starting a meditation session.
What is a zafu? This funny name may sound like it’s referencing something from outer space, but a zafu is just a type of meditation pillow. A traditional zafu is generally circular, and it is usually substantial so that it can support you during your practice.
In particular, you want your zafu to support your hip joints to rotate easily outward, and (as stated above), it should help your knees rest lower than your hips. This will make sitting for long periods much more comfortable. If your knees are higher than your hips (as is the case when sitting cross-legged on a flat surface like the floor), your sacrum will be positioned either vertically or even tilted backward. Instead, you want your sacrum to be listed at a 30° angle while sitting.
Like other meditation accessories, most zafu pillows are full of buckwheat hulls. You can choose the color, design, and fabric you want for your zafu. There are a variety of options available to meet your unique taste.
A zabuton goes along with a zafu most of the time. A zafu and zabuton set is a common choice for meditation seating. This is often what you’ll see set up for practitioners in meditation centers.
Zabutons are a type of meditation mat that is meant to settle beneath a zafu or other meditation pillow to cushion the knees and feet. Depending on the position you choose to take on your zafu, a zabuton can provide added comfort and stability. It is essentially the foundation for a zafu. Like zafus, zabutons come in various colors, designs, and fabrics. They are usually filled with a polyfill similar to regular pillows.
4. Meditation Chair
Some individuals may desire a meditation chair over a meditation pillow or cushion (zafu or Zen cushion). In this case, you can use a regular chair for sitting in, but as is the case with using a couch pillow, you'll want to advance to a legitimate chair as you continue your practice.
Many individuals who find it difficult to kneel, bend their knees, or sit on the ground for long periods will choose a chair over a meditation pillow or meditation mat.
What is a meditation chair? A meditation chair can come in a range of styles. Often, it looks like a regular, comfortable chair with a back and legs, but the key difference is that the legs are extremely short. Perhaps, for example, it will only rise four to eight inches off the ground.
What’s common among all chairs is that they put you in an optimal position for meditating comfortably. There are different designs available to help with different postures and possible physical difficulties that may make a meditation cushion impossible to use.
5. Meditation Mat
A meditation mat may be a zabuton (see above), or it can be similar to a yoga mat. Most importantly, a meditation mat goes beneath a meditation pillow or cushion to provide a foundation for the cushion. If sitting cross-legged, your knees can rest on the meditation mat for added comfort.
6. Meditation Cushion
Your meditation cushion will probably be the essential item in your space. Believe it or not, it can be quite physically demanding to sit for meditation, especially as you advance to sitting for long periods.
It may come in the form of a zafu (see below), or it may take another shape. For example, you can also purchase a Zen cushion or pillow. You can even use a regular couch pillow as a cushion when you're just starting. As you improve your practice and lengthen the amount of time you sit, however, you’ll want to invest in a regular meditation cushion built for the course.
You'll need one because, in many ways, a meditation cushion is different than a regular couch pillow. For one thing, it is firmer. Most practice cushions are full of buckwheat (or sometimes beans). The goal of your pillow is to keep your knees lower than your hip bones, so it has to be firmer. This is especially true for the most common meditation position: cross-legged and resting your knees in front of you.
7. Meditation Timer
Most meditation sessions are timed, but you'll need to time yourself if you are meditating alone or in a small group without an instructor. This means investing in a meditation timer for yourself or whomever you are offering a meditation gift.
Meditation timers can be regular kitchen timers or watch timers. You can even use the timer on your phone. Still, it's even better to find a timer that you designate, especially as your meditation timer. It’s generally good practice to keep your phone out of your meditation space, as it can be a distraction if you’re constantly getting notifications.
Moreover, it’s good if your meditation timer has a soft and delicate alarm so that you are not awakened from your meditative state to a loud and abrasive sound. A bell or soft gong sound can be good to come out of meditation.
If you’d like to go with something analog (non-digital), you might consider a sand timer or hourglass. Just be sure you know how long the hourglass runs. Alternatively, you can try a lighted timer (one that lights up, turns the light off, or changes color when the time is up).
8. Tibetan Singing Bowl Set
The sound of Tibetan singing bowls can calm you in an instant3. That’s why they’re perfect for getting into the spirit of meditation. Tibetan bowls range in shape and diameter. Often, several will be used at once during Buddhist religious ceremonies or as accompaniment for chanting. A mallet is used to play the bowls and make them sing. The mallet can be guided around the bowl rim or used to strike the bowl gently.
The signing bowls release beautiful sounds that calm the mind and raise internal vibrations, promoting stress relief and creating space in a busy mind. Singing bowls have shown to have positive effects on physical health, including inflammation and chronic pain.
9. Meditation Shawl
Some people may find it comforting to wear a meditation shawl while meditating. Even though it’s unnecessary, a body-covering meditation shawl (also known as a meditation blanket or prayer shawl) can shield the body, providing additional comfort and a sense of security. Some practitioners like meditation shawls because they believe the closeness of the covering cultivates the accumulation of energy created during meditation.
10. A Beautiful Journal
Journaling is an essential part of meditation process. While you might be achieving great results on self reflection and personal growth during your practice, putting it into words is a powerful tool to strengthen the effects of this spiritual practice.
Journal is a simple yet great gift to encourage yourself or your loved ones to go the extra mile within the mindfulness journey.
Other fantastic gift ideas
Sage bundle or essential oil diffuser– to clear the space for practice
Mala beads – for those who practice manta meditation and need to count their mantras
Guided meditations subscription
A gift box containing the seven chakra stones
A meditation gift card
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