22 Meditation Tools We Absolutely Love In 2021

meditation tools

What are the best meditation tools, equipment, and device you have ever used?

There is excellent equipment available to help us meditate, from Zen chairs to Buddhist malas, to modern aids like Muse Headband.

As a mindfulness instructor, I’ve used all sorts of meditation equipment over the years.  And in this list, I will show you my absolute favourite aids for meditation. 

 

22 Types Of Meditation Tools & Devices To Buy 

Looking for a gift? See my list of the best gifts for Buddhists.

1. A Meditation Mala (Yoga Beads)

buddhist mala

The number one best meditation tool to buy is a meditation mala (beads). 

Just look at these beautiful malas /prayer beads. Aren’t they glorious? The Chopra Center tells us that malas can be “a significant part of your meditation practice”.

Malas are prayer beads that are used for counting breaths and for Japa (mantra recitations). They are one of the most important Buddhist mindfulness tools to buy. And they are also important for yoga. After all, according to the Eight Limbs of yoga by Patanajali, meditation is as important as asanas.

Most malas have 108 beads. As we practice, we count the beads from 1 to 108 so we know how many breaths we have taken (or how many times we have recited a mantra) and to help us focus on meditating.

Malas come in varying sizes and there are a wide variety of materials to choose from.

My personal choice is always to go with coral because I like the energy that coral has. And black always looks best on me. So that would be my choice.

So, why is a mala one of the best meditation tools?

  • Firstly, you’re wearing it, so it reminds you to practice.
  • It also helps you count breaths, which is better than having a timer.
  • And the best ones look beautiful.

In my opinion, this is the best meditation equipment you can buy. Essential.

2.  Meditation Chair

meditation chair

“When sitting, sit”. So says the old Zen proverb. 

That proverb basically means to sit still, not fidget, and to be mindful of sitting.

If you want to sit still and not fidget, then the best meditation tool to buy is a good chair to sit on.

The posture we use when sitting is incredibly important for most meditations, especially Zazen (seated Zen meditation, as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh). Andy Puddicombe from Headspace states that proper posture is imperative for good meditation.

The best chairs don’t just support your back, they actually help you meditate because they support your posture, and good posture improves cognitive performance (such as by helping you focus). 

As someone who spends a lot of time sitting on rocks doing Vipassana, I’m always aware of the difference a comfortable chair can make.

Check out our collection of the best meditation chairs.

3. A Meditation Cushion 

meditation cushion

A good cushion can be used either with a chair or as a standalone product.

I remember when I used to sit on the floor to meditate. I would fidget all the time. It was difficult to find the right stillness in my body. And if the body is not still the mind will not be either.

That’s why a cushion is one of the best meditation tools to buy. It aids by providing more comfort and by promoting good posture. It’s also one of the best items of meditation equipment to take on a retreat or whenever you travel.

Plus, a great cushion looks beautiful in your Zen room. You could always go with a traditional Zen meditation cushion, which is called a Zafu. You will have seen these if you have ever visited Zen monasteries. They are important for protecting the knees when kneeling to meditate. 

3. A Tibetan Singing Bowl  

tibetan singing bowl

My favourite musical equipment has to be a Tibetan Singing Bowl.

Tibetan Singing Bowls are so much more than just musical instruments. They have been scientifically proven to put our brains into more restful states. And they help us meditate.

These beautiful instruments became incredibly popular after Yogi Bhajan brought sound healing to the West and explained how certain frequencies of sounds can help with the mind and body. One instrument Yogi Bhajan advocated was the Tibetan Singing Bowl, famed for its healing powers.

These are one of the best Buddhist meditation tools to buy because of the powerful effect they have on the mind. Cathy Wong on VeryWellMind says, “Research does support the idea that these singing bowls can enhance meditation and deep breathing, which may help maximize the stress-relieving benefits of those practices.”.

Take a quick look at my guide to Tibetan Singing Bowls, which I wrote to explain the power and beauty of these instruments. 

5. Meditation Apps

meditation apps

There are so many Android / iOS apps on the market, like Calm, Headspace and other daily meditation apps.

Some apps work as timers. Others offer guided sessions designed to help you relax. However, do bear in mind that there are major limitations of the guided method, and it is not a suitable replacement for proper practice according to Harvard Medical School.

The sheer variety and versatility of mindfulness apps makes them one of the most essential meditation tools to buy now. And many are even completely free! 

I will mention that, despite what Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe might say, meditation apps are not as powerful as traditional forms of meditation. Indeed, in 2019 Harvard Medical School released an article in which they stated that mindfulness apps do not provide nearly as much benefit as proper, traditional meditation. However, they are an easy way to get started and can help you to form the habit of meditating.

Some of the best apps include:

6. A Meditation Book 

meditation book

Hands up who loves reading? I know I do. And as a meditation instructor, I especially love reading books on the practice [here are the best meditation books].

Some of the best meditation book authors you should look out for are:

  • Sharon Salzberg (New York Times bestselling author and teacher of Buddhist meditation)
  • 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.

7.  Zen Meditation Music 

zen music

Meditation music is much more than pure entertainment. It is a tool for meditation. It helps us to relax and focus.

Meditation music is specifically composed to promote relaxing brainwaves and to calm the mind.

My absolute favourite musician is Deva Premal. She’s a singer with a simply angelic voice. And the music she creates is like pure nectar for the spirit. It’s so relaxing and healing. She is famous for producing music that uses Sanskrit mantras. Truly sensational. Also notable is Krishna Das [American vocalist known for his performances of Hindu devotional music].

There is a ton of meditation music to listen to on SoundCloud.

8. Muse Meditation Assistant  

Muse Meditation Assistant

Muse [available on AMAZON] is a truly unique and wonderful mindfulness tool. It’s modern and a little futuristic, but it is definitely a good piece of equipment to buy.

Muse works as 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.

Data is then used to show you how you’re progressing.

This is truly 21st Century mindfulness at its best. It is an aid for meditation to help relax. Highly recommended for anyone who is serious about using technology to enhance their practice. Probably the best modern meditation equipment to buy.

9. Guided Meditation Recordings

guided meditation

Guided methods are the easiest way to practice. And although they are massively limited compared to more traditional techniques, they are very helpful for beginners who just want some inner calm.  

If you like Zen with zero effort, you will definitely like guided sessions.

These days there are millions of guided meditations on Youtube, and some of them are truly exceptional.

There are many free guided meditation recordings on Mindful.

Here are some of the best guided meditation recording artists to listen to:

  • Michael Sealey 
  • Jason Stephenson
  • Sharon Salzbery 
  • Jack Kornfield

10. Buddhist Gongs

buddhist gongs 

Gongs are definitely one of my favourite musical meditation tools.

Gongs look absolutely stunning, and they sound divine. Of all the meditation aids out there, this is one of the most impressive to show your friends.

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

By simply sitting and listening to a gong you can quickly relax and focus the mind.

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

11. 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.

12. All The New Meditation Tech mindfulnes tech

 

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

Some of the best meditation aids include:

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

13. Meditation Crystals

crystals

Crystals are some of the most beautiful objects that you can meditate on.  [READ: Best Crystals For Beginners].

Different types of crystals hold different spiritual properties [3], so it is important to make sure that you meditate on the right type of crystal. 

Take a look at the link above for the best crystals available.

14. Meditation Games

meditation game

In 2021 we’re seeing the rise of medi-tainment.

One of the most popular types of medi-tainment is video games. Check out these games for examples.

When I’m chilling out I love to play a relaxing game like Flower or Journey (see the link above for more).

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

15. Meditation Altars

meditation altars

Altars and shrines are becoming very popular recently. These are small altars that we sit at to meditate. Altars can be a place 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 aid is that they give you one dedicated space to practice in, so you can have a little spot of your home reserved for your sitting sessions.  

16. Kasina Deep Vision Bundle ($$$) 

GET IT ON AMAZON

kasina meditation device

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

To use Kasina you sit comfortably, choose one of the devices meditation sessions, and then focus on the visions and sounds the machine makes.

The Kasina meditation device offers various sessions including:

  • Meditate
  • focus energy
  • night voyage
  • trance
  • and mind-art.

There are 70+ sessions and you can also create your own. 

Kasina is one of the best meditation devices to buy and is very reasonably priced compared to similar products.

Although I would not advise using this as a replacement for traditional meditation it can complement your practice. It is soothing and relaxing and does help when you’re trying to focus the mind.

17. MUSE 2—High Tech Meditation Headband  

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 meditation practice, with incredible insights into your inner world. It  offers all the same meditation 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 meditation practice and can help you to progress in meditation.

My one concern is that tech like this detracts from the actual meditation part. It can be distracting having a piece of technology on your head. You might be more interested in the tech than in meditating.

That said, if you can wear Muse 2 comfortably without being distracted by it, then sure, go for it. The information relay you get from Muse 2 is truly fascinating and it can help you to progress in meditation.

18. 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.

The manufacturer recommends using NOW twice a day for three minutes. And a big part of their marketing is that this system relaxes you very quickly. You can visit the official site here

A lot of people have commented on how this tone therapy system relaxes the mind and can help with problems like anxiety. The sounds quickly centre and relax us. It is ideal for busy people who don’t have 20 minutes a day to meditate.

It has its limitations though. The manufacturer calls it an aid to spiritual awakening. Really, its just relaxing sounds. I like it, but it is not a suitable replacement for traditional meditation.

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

GET IT ON AMAZON

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 meditation, 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 meditation 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!  

Being Bose, this product is not cheap. Bose are always expensive. But they are always high quality too.

20. 3D Illusion Lamp ($$) – Quirky Lil’ Gadget!

GET IT ON AMAZON

3d meditation light

The 3D Illusion Lamp is a night light in the shape of a person meditating.

The lamp is beautifully designed and relaxing. Its soft edges and tranquil colours are soothing to the eye. And it makes a great night-light for kids.

If you can get past the embarrassingly bad spelling and grammar on this product’s description page (see the link above) you will find a wonderful and charming meditation gadget that is decorative and relaxing. 

21. SkyLite ($$)  

GET IT ON AMAZON

sylite

This is a really relaxing meditation tool that is perfect for nighttime. If you don’t feel like going deep in a proper meditation, just lie down and gaze up at the stars. The soothing blue light will help you to relax and drift off.

The SkyLite features simple button controls you can use to cycle through lighting effect and adjust the brightness of sky/ceiling.   

If you want to use it during meditation, set the lighting to a relaxing dim blue and focus on your breath for 10 minutes.

  22. 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 meditation 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 meditation, 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 types of meditation like Trataka, a yogic meditation in which we meditate on a lit candle.

My favourite meditation tool is still my mala

My personal best meditation tool is to be my Buddhist mala. It’s the first piece of meditation equipment I ever purchased (except for books). And they 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.   

What is your favourite tool? And what do you love about it?

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.