21 Meditation Tools We Love To Use

Meditation is not easy. The practice of sitting still for twenty minutes focusing your mind on breathing or on a mantra. It’s harder than it sounds. If you want to get the most benefit out of meditation, if you want to relives stress, relax, and increase concentration, you need to meditate properly. Tools can help.

Some items that can help you meditate include: 

Now, let’s take a look at our recommended meditation products. 

21 Meditation Tools 

1.  Meditation Chair

meditation chair

Andy Puddicombe from Headspace states that we need proper posture when meditating. This is especially true if you’re doing Zazen (seated Zen, as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh). 

To help improve your posture, get a chair. Not only will they support your back, but they will help you meditate because good posture improves concentration

I find that when I sit in a proper chair my spine feels stronger and overall I feel more supported. In turn, that helps me to be mindful.

Check out our collection of the best meditation chairs.

Also consider meditation benches.

2. Meditation Cushions

meditation cushion

You can use a meditation cushion either with a chair or by itself. Either way, it is another meditation tool that helps with posture.  

One of my favorite types of cushion is a traditional Zen Zafu. You will have seen these if you have ever visited Zen Buddhist monasteries. They are used for protecting the knees when kneeling to meditate.

3. A Tibetan Singing Bowl  

tibetan singing bowl

Tibetan Singing Bowls are bowl-shaped instruments usually made of brass. They became incredibly popular after Yogi Bhajan brought sound healing to the West. Bhajan explained how certain frequencies of sounds could heal the mind and body. 

Cathy Wong on VeryWellMind says, “Research does support the idea that these singing bowls can enhance practice and deep breathing, which may help maximize the stress-relieving benefits of those practices.”

Take a look at my guide to Tibetan Singing Bowls.

4: Buddha Statues

garden buddha statue

There is one reason why Buddha statues are on this list: They are incredibly inspiring and they make you want to meditate. Sure, they might look beautiful and add class to your home, but beyond that, everytime you look at a Buddha statue you will feel inclined to meditate, and that will help you to make it a habit. 

5. A Meditation Book 

meditation book

 There are many books on meditation, from the Pali Canon to Peace In Every Step by Thich Naht Hanh.

I recommend the works of the following authors:

  • Sharon Salzberg (New York Times bestselling author and teacher of Buddhism)
  • John Kabat Zinn [American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.]
  •  Thich Nhat Hanh [Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk, peace activist, and founder of the Plum Village Tradition.]
  • Pema Chodron [American Tibetan Buddhist., ordained nun, former acharya of Shambhala Buddhism and disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.]
  • Me, obviously [duh!].
  • See my list of the best meditation books.

6. Meditation Altars

meditation altars

Altars and shrines are becoming popular. These are small altars that we sit at to meditate. You can use them to show reverence for your deity. Or, you can decorate them with various items that make you feel peaceful and happy.

What makes them such a good meditation tool is that they give you one dedicated space to practice in. That way, you have a little spot in your home reserved for your sitting. sessions.

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7. Mala (Yoga Beads)

buddhist mala

The Chopra Center calls malas “a significant part of your practice”.

Malas are prayer beads that were first used in India 3000 years ago for Buddhist and Hindu practices. They are used for counting breaths and for Japa, which is a Sanskrit word meaning recitations.

Most malas have 108 beads. As we meditate, we count the beads from 1 to 108. This way, we know which breath we are on. Plus, malas also help you focus.  

Diffefent malas are made of different materials such as sandalwood, rosewood, and coral, so choose meditation beads with your favorite material.

8. Meditation Apps

meditation apps

There are many Android / iOS apps on the market, like Calm, Headspace and other daily meditation apps. Some apps work as timers. Others offer guided sessions to help you relax. 

The sheer variety and versatility of mindfulness apps makes them one of the best meditation tools. Plus, many are free.   

I will say that I personally never use an app because for me they spoil the experience of proper practice. Plus, according to Harvard Medical School, mindfulness apps are not as effective as proper, traditional practice. But they are helpful for beginners.

Some of the best apps include:

  • Synctuition
  • Calm
  • InsightTimer

9.  Meditation Music 

zen music

Meditation music helps us to relax and focus. It is composed using specific instruments and specific frequencies of sound that heal the mind (usually the Solfeggio Frequencies). I recommend the music of Deva Premal and Krishna Das.  

You can find a ton of music to listen to on SoundCloud.

Closely related are meditation cds and dvds

10. Muse  

Muse Meditation Assistant

Muse is a  unique mindfulness tool. It works like a personal assistant. When you put the Muse headband on and start the app it plays relaxing music designed to calm the mind. You then focus on those sounds.

As you practise, Muse measures whether you’re calm or stressed and uses that information to change the sounds it’s playing. When calm, you hear peaceful sounds, when the mind wanders you hear more intense sounds that remind you to relax. This helps you to be mindful of how you are feeling, which is great because “mindfulness of feelings” is one of the Buddha’s Four Foundations of Mindfulness. 

How can Muse help you meditate?

11. Guided Meditation Recordings

guided meditation

Guided meditations are the easiest way to meditate. And although they are massively limited compared to more traditional techniques, they are helpful for beginners who just want to relax.    

Some of the best guided meditation artists are:

12. Buddhist Gongs

buddhist gongs 

Gongs are definitely one of my favourite meditation tools. They look stunning and they sound divine. Talk about a focal-point! 

Buddhist gongs are specifically designed to create frequencies of sounds that help us meditate by entering the brain into a relaxed and focused state. [2]  

My guide to meditation gongs shares everything you need to know about these beautiful instruments.

13. Zen Gardens

zen garden

Zen Gardens are actually Japanese Rock Gardens. Many centuries ago, Zen monks began to turn gardening into a mindfulness practice. And the hobby took off from there.

Today there are full-size Zen gardens at temples. Some extremely cool people have them in their own garden, or even indoors. And others have desktop Zen gardens.

Zen gardens are great because:

  1. Creating them is an exercise in mindfulness
  2. We can meditate in them.

14. All The New Tech mindfulnes tech

The technology industry has created some of the best meditation tools we’ve seen in centuries.

Some of the best meditation aids include:

  • Lights
  • Headbands
  • Headphones
  • Brain sensing technology
  • Software

15. Meditation Crystals

crystals

If you enjoy meditating on beautiful objects, get a few crystals.

Different types of crystals such as Amethyst, Clear Quartz, and Lapis Lazuli have different spiritual properties [3], so it is important to make sure that you meditate on the right type of crystal.  

16. Games

meditation game

Believe it or not, there are lots of meditation video games. These are simple games that help to slow the mind. My favourites include Flower and Journey.   

These gamse are relaxing and help us to get into that Zen-state that we all know and love. We are just witnessing the rise of medi-tainment now, and there are bound to be lots more games soon.

17. Kasina Deep Vision

GET IT ON AMAZON

kasina meditation device

Kasina is one of the most unique devices I’ve seen. The name itself, “Kasina”, refers to a type of visualization used in Theravada Buddhism. And this gadget works in a similar way: it focuses the mind on visualizations.

To use Kasina you sit comfortably, choose one of the device’s sessions, and then focus on the visions and sounds the machine makes. There are sessions for energy, concentration, trances, and more.    

18. MUSE 2 

GET IT ON AMAZON

muse 2

Muse 2 is a brain-sensing headband. The manufacturer describes it this way: “Muse helps make meditation easy, tangible, and enjoyable to learn by offering a simple and accessible ‘work out plan’ for your practice, with incredible insights into your inner world. It offers all the same tracking and brain-sensing features as the original Muse, but now with so much more!” 

Muse 2 is one of the best meditation devices. It provides you with insights into your practice and can help you to progress.

19. NOW Tone Therapy System ($)   

-GET IT ON AMAZON

now tone therapy system

Now Tone Therapy System is basically two speakers that play a relaxing and ever-changing sound. The idea is that you listen to the sound, and it relaxes your mind. Simple. The sound then fades, bringing you back to the present moment.

It has its limitations though. The manufacturer calls it an aid to spiritual awakening. Really, it’s just relaxing sounds.  

20. Bose Noise-Masking Sleep Buds  ($$$$)  

bose noise masking sleepbuds

Are you trying to use meditation to get to sleep at night? If so, you might like to try Bose Noise Masking Sleepbuds.

Okay, they are more a product for sleep than for mindfulness, but you can use them for both. They have two main functions: 1) cancel out background noise, and 2) play relaxing sounds. Both functions are great for both mindfulness and sleep. You can cancel out background noise to help you focus when you meditate. And you can meditate on the relaxing sounds that the buds make. Perfect!   

  21. Incense and Candles

burning incense meditation tool 

Incense has been used for centuries in various places of worship, and it is a popular item to have on your altar. Burning incense is usually done as part of spiritual practice or as a form of offering to various gods. It is also an excellent way of clearing negative energy.

In the Buddhist tradition, burning incense is part of a meditative practice that is used to help clean the mind of impure thoughts and to increase focus ready for mindfulness, according to Barbara O’Brien, who trained at Zen Mountain Monastery.

Incense is comprised of spices and oils and can be purchased in various scents and as clumps, cones, or sticks. They are burnt in metal balls that sway in the wind.

Candles are also a popular meditation tool. In particular, candles can be used in practices like Trataka, a yogic practice in which we meditate on a lit candle.

My favourite is my mala

My personal best meditation tool has to be my Buddhist mala. It’s the first piece of meditation equipment I ever purchased (except for books). And malas are one of the original types of equipment used by Buddhists.  

My mala has travelled with me for ten years and over tens of thousands of miles. It’s been with me at the best of times, like when I returned home in 2014 to visit my family for the first time in years. And it’s been with me at the worst of times, like when my father passed away. By my estimation, I have taken over 394,000 mindful breaths with this mala. It’s helped me to take my practice to a new level. And it is deeply personal to me.   

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations.

8 comments

  1. The Blog is damn informative. Got to learn a variety of new meditation techniques. Looking forward to implement your valuable teachings soon…

  2. What a wonderful article. I’ve been using meditation as a tool to help with stress and being more focus throughout the day. I just finished an MBSR(Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) class and learned so many methods of meditation.

  3. Hey thanks for sharing such interesting article. I am beginner to practice meditation and joined classes for that at Montclair. Good to know about these tools.

  4. My best friend is Buddhist, and he’s going to be moving away soon. I’m trying to think of a thoughtful gift for him. I know he has a mala – should I give him one if he already has one? Is there a reason he might want or use more than one? Do you have any other thoughts or suggestions?

  5. Very informative post! Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice.
    I love using singing bowls the most. These are my all time favourite!
    Inscense sticks and diffusers placed alongside a tealight is another calming ritual I follow after returning home from a busy office day.
    I have not tried zen garden yet. Any suggestive patterns to try for a calming mind?

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