Incense for Meditation
To help the mind turn inward and be less involved in the
chitter-chatter of the world and one’s thoughts, incense can
be burned. There are now less smoke forms of incense from
Japan that yield mineral smoke. The popular Tibetan incense
that is 13 inches burns approximately for 45 minutes.
Many people have designed creative ways to hold the incense
sticks but there are incense burners designed for safe
placement. For the three-legged burner they advise placing
sand inside. Remember that the focus isn’t on the props but
going inside yourself so though it’s wonderful to create an
enviroment for your practice, it’s good to remember your
Meditation gongs are used in both yoga and meditation
classes and are often imported from India, Japan, China and
Nepal. You can find sites on the internet to sample the tone
of the gong you are interested in purchasing in advance. You
can also buy cds of gong sounds to play when you meditate.
At meditation centers a gong is often used to bring people
back to the meditation hall or indicate that it is dinner.
In yoga classes, the meditation gong sometimes is played
when students are in corpse pose at the end of class to help
acheive a deep and relaxed state. Many say that meditation
gong sounds help them to release emotional blockages.
A meditation timer is a convenient way to set the meditation
time so you don’t have to keep take a quick peek to see if
you have reached your time. Obviously you can use your watch
as an alarm as well. Keeping your eye on the time can be a
There are some meditation timers that will chime to signal
the end of your session. How often when you meditate do you
wonder, “Have I been sitting 15 minutes or 20 minutes”?
Meditation timers can also be used by psychotherapists or
healers that don’t want to sneak a peek at their watch
throughout the session. Some companies sell cds which can be
used instead of timers. There are tracks that are 5, 10, 20
and 30 minutes and you just pick the track number that
matches your desired meditation session length.
Zen Meditation Cushions
In zen meditaiton the cushions are called zafu and zabuton.
It helps to have a little support when you meditate if you
are on a hard wood floor or thin rug. The zafu pillow is
round and also is helpful in adjusting one’s spine to sit
The zabuton is the mat underneath the zafu pillow (or
cushion). The two combined together take off pressure from
the legs . The height is helpful if you have joint problems
or your legs fall asleep easily. It can be a distraction if
you are in pain during the meditation and end up focusing
instead on discomfort in your back or legs. The zen
meditation cushions will help you go to deeper into your
meditation to reflect inside instead of thinking about
bodily aches and pains.
The meditation room should be pleasantly arranged as a place
that is a mini retreat from the daily circumstances that
push your buttons. If you don’t have a separate room
available, you can section off a corner within a room to be
your meditation area.
You can use a table to make a small alter for acheiving a
concentrated and peaceful state. A lot of people will put a
vase with fresh flowers on a table, light a candle or burn
incense. You can also have a picture of a saint or sage that
you admire on the table. Ideally it is nice to not hear a tv
from another room or be disturbed by distractions that can
take away this special inner retreat time but if it is noisy
use it as a way to practice patience and understanding.