You're stressed out. Your life is a mess. Or maybe you heard a friend or someone on a podcast raving about all the benefits of meditation. Whatever your reasoning, you decide to give it a try.
Go-getter that you are, you head over to YouTube and search for a guided meditation video to get started. You sit down on the floor, cross your legs, close your eyes and try to meditate.
After about 30 seconds in, your mind starts to wander and you think:
"Am I supposed to be thinking right now?"
"What should I do with my hands?"
"Am I doing this right?"
Let's face it, getting started with meditation isn't as simple or easy as it seems. But with all the reported benefits of a solid meditation practice, it's nearly impossible to resist giving it a shot.
One of the biggest reasons you might not get the relaxing euphoric experience you hear about in blog posts or podcasts is because you don't have the right meditation tools to get started.
Just like with anything else in life, equipping yourself with the right tools and apps for meditating can help you out tremendously.
Not sure where to start? We've got you covered. We've put together a list of the best meditation tools you can use to jumpstart your meditation practice and get the most out of your experience.
what's it for?
Zafu and Zabuton meditation cushions
Guidance and meditations
Learn to calm your mind
Essential Oil Diffuser
Create a calm atmosphere
I Am Here Now Mindfulness Journal
The Best Meditation Tools of 2017
These meditation tools will help you free your mind of distractions, keep you comfortable while you meditate and guide you through the entire experience.
1. Zafu And Zabuton Meditation Cushion Set
The very first meditation tool on your list needs to be a cushion. We wrote an entire guide on how to choose the best meditation cushion that we highly suggest reading through. In our guide, we listed the top six meditation cushions you should try out. One of the options was this Zafu and Zabuton meditation cushion set from Conscious Life Shop.
The reason why we love this set is exactly that, it's a set. You see, there are two main types of meditation cushions. A Zafu, which is the thicker pillow-style cushion you're probably familiar with. And the Zabuton, which is a flatter but wider cushion.
While you can use one or the other, the best solution is to get both and put your Zafu on top of your Zabuton. It gives you more support, comfort and allows you to focus on your meditation instead of the discomfort of sitting on the bare ground.
A mistake a lot of beginners make is thinking they can just sit on a yoga mat or pillow to meditate. If you've ever done this, we don't have to tell you how uncomfortable it is. Yoga mats and pillows aren't designed to be sat on for 30+ minutes. Even the thickest mats won't give you the support you need for meditation. Do yourself a huge favor and invest in a quality meditation cushion and leave your couch pillows on the couch. You'll thank us later.
There are a ton of meditation apps out there, but we use and recommend Headspace. Headspace is a wellness and meditation tool packed with tons of unguided and guided meditations.
What we like about Headspace is the meditations are categorized based on skill level, activity or goals. For instance, if you want to meditate to relieve stress, they provide a library full of meditations for that. If you have a big job interview coming up and you want to mentally prepare, there's a meditation for that too.
If you're just getting started with meditation, it's highly recommended that you start with guided meditations first. Headspace will help you learn how to breathe properly, relax your body and quiet your mind. These are all the biggest challenges people new to meditation face, so it's nice to have an expert to teach you how to do it correctly.
Another great thing about Headspace is you can use it anywhere. While meditation classes are cool, they can be pricey and depending on where you live, there might not be any studios nearby. With Headspace, you can get started for free or sign up for a subscription to unlock all the meditations. A year-long subscription cost less than what you'd spend in a month of in-person meditation classes, and you get a much larger selection of meditations to try. So it's well worth the money!
3. Muse Headband
Ask people what their biggest challenge is when it comes to meditation, and you'll undoubtedly hear a common theme of "my mind wanders too much."
It's perfectly normal. In today's fast paced society where we're constantly multi-tasking, on the go and trying to juggle a million things at once, most of us simply aren't used to having a calm mind. That's probably why you're trying to meditate in the first place!
The Muse Headband is a meditation tool that's designed to fix that problem. We did an entire review on Muse, but the general premise is it monitors your brainwave activity while you meditate. When it senses that your mind is calm, it rewards you with relaxing sounds of chirping birds or gentle waves. But as your mind starts to wander, the sounds intensify to remind you to get back to a calm state.
Here's a video that describes how Muse works in detail.
Muse is a great meditation tool for you if you struggle to quite your mind. If you're mind is constantly wandering and you're struggling to center yourself, then add it to your toolset. It also comes with an app that keeps record of your sessions and lets you track your progress, which gamifies the experience a bit and makes it fun.
4. Essential Oil Diffuser
Mediation is supposed to be a relaxing and mind-freeing activity. In order to achieve true zen, you need to create the right atmosphere and environment. There's a reason meditation studios are quiet and serene like a spa.
Aside from keeping your meditation space quiet, one of the best ways to create a calming atmosphere is with essential oils. If you've ever gone to a meditation or yoga class, you're likely very familiar with essential oil.
Essential oils have a wide range of reported benefits like relieving stress, reducing anxiety, balancing hormones, improving digestion and more. So it shouldn't be much of a surprise that an essential oil diffuser is on our list of the best meditation tools.
An essential oil diffuser is simply a tool that disperses essential oils in the form of steam/vapor. You pour in water, a few drops of your favorite essential oil scent and let the diffuser do the work.
We recommend this diffuser in particular because it also comes with a pack of essential oils so you get a lot more bang for your buck!
Having the relaxing scent of lavender, mint or whatever oil you choose can really help your mind relax and put your body in a calm state. There's a reason aromatherapy has become so popular in the U.S. It has been shown to help with depression, anxiety and several other health conditions.
The next time you want to meditate, fire up your essential oil diffuser to set the perfect mood for tranquility and relaxation.
5. I Am Here Now: A Creative Mindfulness Guide and Journal
This is a different kind of meditation tool, since you don't use it while you actually meditate. The I Am Here Now mindfulness guide and journal is designed to help you learn more about how your mind functions on a day-to-day basis and train you find moments of mindfulness in your everyday life.
All of this translates into better meditation, because being aware/mindful of your emotions, state of mind and being "in the moment" is what meditating is all about. So that also makes this one of the best meditation books as well.
This journal from The Mindfulness Project mixes education with fun activities so you can learn about meditation and mindfulness, and then put those learnings into practice.
The Best Meditation Tools
That's our list of the best meditation tools. Did we miss your favorite? What's the one meditation tool you rely on to make your experience more relaxing freeing? Leave a comment below!