Rated 1 out of 5 by daniel347x No flexibility in the reeds - Will crack
About 2 years ago, I was excited to purchase this, because I do not own any regular chairs, and I do all of my work on the floor or on meditation cushions.
When I saw this chair, I imagined that the water hyacinth reeds had some flexibility, like bamboo reeds.
Unfortunately, they do not. When the chair arrived, I found that the reeds were as hard as stone, with no flexibility whatsoever in the shape of the chair. Furthermore, the reeds form large (half-fist size) bumps that are too large to create an "overall background material", and instead press uncomfortably into your skin no matter what position you sit in.
Finally, the underside of the chair is not woven reed (this is not visible in any of the pictures) - instead, it is a wooden framework. Despite its hardness, the chair surface feels fragile - I was careful not to step on the center of the chair with my full body weight for fear it would not support the weight and crack.
If you are looking for a good, simple, wide-open meditation chair, I understand how difficult it is to find one, and I understand the draw to purchase this chair. I did purchase this chair. Unfortunately, the chair is not satisfactory and I had to go through the hassle to return it.
February 22, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by DanielleA great purchase
This chair really is stunning to look at. Truly a beautifully made product. Very sturdy. Comfortable to meditate on however I recommend a soft blanket on the chair as the chair is not soft on the skin. And a lumbar pillow for your lower back. Great buy --
March 18, 2011
Rated 4 out of 5 by SantaBarbaraGirl I love that this meditation seat is made from renewable natural reeds and that it's made by a fair trade group. It feels good to make a purchase that gives back. The chair itself is surprisingly comfortable, not rough like it looks in the picture. And it reminds me to take time for myself every day.
January 24, 2011
Rated 1 out of 5 by daniel347x Not usable for meditation
There aren't any reviews yet, but I hope this review will be taken seriously, because I actually bought this chair.
I bought it so that I could sit cross-legged on it, like the woman in the picture. And then maybe be able to slightly lean against the back of the chair for a bit of firm support, so that I could do some work at a low table while sitting crosslegged or lotus, or just low to the ground. I've been looking for a low chair like that for a long time - nearly impossible to find one. It's hard to find a low chair, first of all, that is *wide* enough to sit comfortably cross-legged.
This chair seemed perfect, and I finally bought it.
However, Gaiam has mis-advertised this chair. This chair does not support meditation. The bumps on the chair are large and rock-hard and extremely uncomfortable to put your legs on. The woman in the picture must be steeling herself for the sake of the photograph, because no serious meditator would use a chair with such uncomfortable, rock-hard bumps biting into their legs.
This was not the only issue with the chair. The images make the chair appear to be resilient and to yield under pressure with a bit of flexibility. This is not the case. The chair is rock-hard, without any yield whatsoever. It does not flex, bend, or yield to the touch in even the slightest degree. Furthermore, it is also brittle. I realized when I received the chair that I could not place a foot on the center and put my weight on it, because the brittle material would completely crack down the middle, unable to support my body weight. It is a fragile chair - not solid - bound to crack the first time you become careless and mistakenly step on it with your full body weight on one foot.
Furthermore, the picture is misleading in another way. The images give the appearance that the chair is composed 100% of woven hyacinth grass. It is not. Also, the images lead you to believe that the weave of the hyacinth grass forms a complete loop, giving rise to the two flap-like sections that compose the place you sit on. This is not the case. The underside of the chair (the bottom "flap") is not hyacinth at all - it is a wooden frame consisting of two pieces of 2"x2" along the left and right edges with 3 cross-beams of the same size connection the side beams, from front to back. Furthermore, there is a short vertical wooden support piece extending up from the rear wooden beam which is the only reason there is a gap visible at the front - the hyacinth itself is not capable of supporting this gap. (The lower front piece, which looks like hyacinth weave, is just a thin layer of hyacinth over the front wooden beam.) This wooden frame is absolutely necessary to support the entire chair, because without the frame and the vertical support piece, the hyacinth would crack and drop down to the floor beneath.
Sadly, the images are a misrepresentation of this chair. Also, Gaiam seems to be using the word "meditation" to sell this chair because it sounds good, even though this chair is unusable as a meditation chair.
It's sad - I was really looking forward to getting a chair that was low to the ground, with a well-positioned back support, that would enable sitting cross-legged with a resilient but flexible surface, and I was excited when I found this chair, which seemed designed for meditators like myself (though in my case my intention was to do some work from the chair while sitting cross-legged, as I mentioned). However, it's clear when you receive this chair that it was not designed with meditators in mind.
Note: Even zooming into the picture as far as the zoom allows and staring closely at it, the large bumps of the hyacinth weave do not really look like they're there in these images. I think it is possible that at the time these pictures were taken, with a newly-made chair, the hyacinth did have some more flexibility and give and the bumps where softer and somehow smaller (I have no idea if this is true - it is just a guess), but that over time the hyacinth dries out, sort of expands somehow, and becomes brittle, unyielding and hard. Or - perhaps the photographs just do not really do justice to what the bumps actually look like, and the chair in the images is just as bad as the one I received. I have no idea.
As an added indication of the age of the chair - and giving the impression it had been sitting in a warehouse for a long time - when I received the chair, there were a clunk of spiderwebs between a couple of the wooden planks on the underside that I had to wipe away and dust off.
On the whole, I wish that the description of this chair had not been so mis-representative. The description does not say anywhere that this chair has a wooden frame, with hyacinth weave supported by that frame. And, as I've mentioned, the word "meditation" was thrown into the name of this chair presumably because it sounds good on the Gaiam site to use the word "meditation", but there is a disconnect between the marketing/naming department and the actual reality of this chair because the chair is not usable by meditators, and it also was clearly not designed or intended to be used by meditators.
Oh, well. I just thought I would give a thorough report to anyone else who is considering getting this chair for the same reasons I was - thinking that they may have finally found a chair that was low to the ground, wide enough to meditate on, and with a supportive but yielding back. This chair will not work for this purpose, despite Gaiam's advertising. Too bad.
December 24, 2010