Meditation requires focus and concentration, so you can block out the outside stimuli and explore inner peace. If you are uncomfortable sitting on a floor or floor mat, you will not be able to focus. As you age, it is difficult to maintain a position without your body becoming stiff. A meditation chair will give you the comfort necessary to sit for long periods without your mind wandering to a hurting back or a cramped leg muscle.
Meditation chairs are available in different sizes and styles depending on your needs and types of meditation techniques you practice. Portable chairs allow you to pack your chair and take it with you whether you are traveling or going to classes. Benches are ideal for the "seiza" position where you kneel and place your buttocks on your feet. Some benches fold for easy carrying. Cushioned seats are excellent for those who use the Burmese position (cross-legged) because it offers a larger area to sit on.
Meditation chairs benefit spinal alignment and lumbar support. Some chairs have adjustable lumbar support for those who wish to lean back or forward. A slight forward angle works well for those who want to avoid a slumping back. Some chairs are adjustable for your height and weight.
Depending upon the type of meditation chair you purchase, features will vary. Wooden chairs are usually made of hardwood with strong hinges. Some cushions use viscoelastic memory foam that molds to the weight of your body. Cushioned seats come in fine silk materials or durable cottons. Some cushions have zippers to adjust padding.
Santosha.com offers the Salubrion Seat with a memory foam cushion. It is lightweight and easy to carry. Dharma Communications offers the Tibetan Mountain Seat that is rectangular and uses memory foam. Bodymindwisdom.com has a portable bench made of hardwood construction. The Zen Network has a portable cushioned chair and a cushioned bench for ultimate comfort (see Resources below).
Because there are so many sizes, shapes, styles and types of meditation chairs, it is important to do your research before buying a chair. Consider the type of positions you prefer for meditation, whether you have back or leg issues, and if you are going to transport the chair. Look for adjustable chairs or chairs that maintain correct spinal alignment. If it is a portable, look for a lightweight chair.