I have used a meditation cushion since 2004, but I saw a meditation bench on Etsy and decided to give it a try. Honestly, I have never sat well with meditation cushions. I have tried to get my knees lower than my hips, but there was always discomfort. I wish I had tried a meditation bench way back then.
If you have not used a bench like this, you are basically on the front of your legs, with your knees on the ground and the tops of your feet flat on the ground. Your bottom rests on the bench, taking the bulk of your weight. This allows you to have your knees below your hips, which helps with blood flow. Having most of your weight on the bench, keeps pressure off your knees. The only very slight thing to get used to was having the tops of my feet stretched back behind me and this stretching sensation was only obvious the first time or two that I meditated on this new bench.
Another thing to note is that this meditation bench has curved feet – absolutely fantastic! This allows you to lean into the position which is most natural for you. I would strongly suggest that if you want to try one of these out, get the curved feet. If the bench has flat legs, you will be forced to shift your body to match the angle of the seat. After experiencing these legs, I wouldn’t buy another without this option, no matter how otherwise desirable it might seem.
What else? The legs fold up under the bench. When I was looking online, I wasn’t too excited about the look of the hinges but it allows me to fold up the bench and put in my backpack, to easily take with me to solitary locations to meditate. This will encourage me to meditate more and the ease of transport is a huge plus. If I had bought a bench that didn’t fold, I wouldn’t think of taking it on holidays. This bench will be one of the first things I pack.
I have found my old meditation blanket and have my malas next to my bed. I haven’t enjoyed meditation this much in years. Because I am in a good position and have no distracting discomfort, my practice has increased dramatically.
Find what works for you. Don’t assume discomfort is a natural or required aspect of your practice.