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Meditation Pillow

Last Updated: July 28, 2023

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Discover the benefits of having a meditation pillow and how to choose from different materials and fabrics for optimal comfort.

A meditation pillow is a cushion specifically designed for meditative purposes. It is usually made of materials like cotton, buckwheat, or memory foam that provide comfort and support for prolonged periods of sitting.

The shape and size are designed to help the user maintain proper posture during their practice as it cradles the body in the optimal alignment for deep relaxation. Many meditation pillows also come with handles or straps to easily carry and move.

How to Choose a Meditation Pillow

When buying your first meditation pillow, there are a couple of factors to consider. Those are:

  • The position you meditate in
  • Height of the cushion
  • Firmness of the pillow
  • Shape

The cushion height is a key factor when searching for a pillow. That will depend on the length of your legs, your height, and how you prefer to be positioned on the pillow.

Your meditation pillow must be big enough for you to sit cross-legged comfortably. It must also be flexible enough to let you position and angle the cushion to support your body in a triangle shape.

Next, consider the firmness of the pillow. The filling of the cushions influences this. For example, Kapok fiber gives you a soft cushion, while buckwheat hulls tend to be firmer.

The shape is also important when deciding what kind of pillow you want. Try a Zafu-shaped cushion, a crescent, wedge, or flower shape.

Because meditation cushions are made from different soft fabrics, washability may vary. If you are keen on cleaning convenience, look for machine-washable options.

Best Meditation Cushions

best meditation cushions

Early Chinese nuns and monks used handwoven blankets made from dried grass as mats for meditation. It was common for villagers to use mats to protect themselves if the rain came.

While those cushions were common back then, sitting on meditation mats for long periods nowadays is harder and more uncomfortable.

Meditation cushions come in a unique shape, and they help relieve pain in the hips, limbs, and lower limbs, amongst other meditation benefits

Zafu Meditation Cushion

Zafu cushions are the most common meditation pillows and are usually the cheapest. They are round, firm, and usually filled with buckwheat hulls or kapok fiber. A round cushion raises the hips and upper body so the legs can rest comfortably.

You would sit on the edge of the Zafu so your thighs can drop down slightly. The hips are rolled forward, creating a natural alignment of the spinal column curve. Maintaining an upright posture during yoga meditation is easy because the neck, back, shoulders and head are comfortable. A Zafu pillow is great for someone of average height and with average to above-average flexibility.

Sitting on the floor, also known as Zen in Japanese traditions, is the most common place to sit in meditation. A Zafu pillow can help those who struggle to sit in cross-legged sitting meditation positions. You can also turn a Zafu on a wheel and place it between your legs to help with grounding.

Zabuton Meditation Cushion

A Zabuton is a rectangular cushion, generally placed under a Zafu or meditation bench, but can be used independently. Aligning the body during a sitting meditation can create pressure in certain areas of your knees or ankles. Still, a Zabuton helps to cushion those areas.

Cosmic Cushion

A Cosmic Cushion is shaped like a fortune cookie with a built-in slope supporting proper alignment and comfort. The sides of the cushion support the thighs. A Cosmic Cushion works for everyone but is well suited for tall people and those with below-average flexibility.

Rectangular Meditation Cushion

A rectangular meditation pillow can be used for meditation, yoga, and stretching. The rectangular bolsters of the pillow help people sit comfortably in the meditation posture or stretch they are performing. A rectangular meditation cushion with a Zafu cushion can increase lift and create proper alignment.

Rectangular cushions have straight edges, so they will not interfere with the positioning of your heels. Experienced meditators with significant flexibility or average or below-average height prefer a rectangular pillow.

BlackJack Chair

A BlackJack chair can help support the back in a sitting meditation posture. The chair can cushion the lower back and create the S curve of the spine.

Omigo Cushion

An Omigo Cushion is a good meditation cushion that helps to make a healthy S alignment in your spine. The shape of the pillow is similar to a sloped shape. The cushion looks very stylish and can be used even when not meditating.

Gomden Cushion

Gomden cushions are rectangular-shaped cushions that are mainly used for elevation. They allow you to sit cross-legged without your knees touching the ground. Gomden cushions are well suited for when you're doing an arched-back yoga meditation or need added support for movement meditation.

Types of Materials

Kapok

Traditional meditation cushions are usually made from kapok tree fibre. Kapok is lighter and softer but less firm than cushions with buckwheat filling. If the quality of the Kapok is poor, clumping can occur.

Buckwheat Hulls

Traditional meditation cushions are also usually made from buckwheat hulls. You can add or remove buckwheat hulls to adjust the height of your cushion.

Buckwheat hull filling will make your cushion twice as heavy as one with Kapok. Buckwheat hulls cushions mold to your seating position and doesn't compress much over time and frequent use.

Wool

Wool meditation pillows are very durable, lightweight and comfortable. They help with blood circulation but are less firm than a Kapok-filled pillow. It may be too spongy for those wanting a thicker seat or cushion.

Cotton

A cotton-filled cushion will be a better choice for someone planning on moving their Zafu pillows around. Cotton loses its shape more quickly than buckwheat when used frequently.

The Benefits of Meditation Cushions

the benefits of using meditation cushions

Comfort

Comfort is very important in meditation. Make sure you're relaxed; if you're still feeling uncomfortable or tense, you can shift your posture or take a break from the meditation. A meditation pillow is supposed to increase comfort and helps you meditate at a consistent rate.

Suppose you would prefer to sit in a Japanese Seiza style, supported by a pillow or a bench in a kneeling posture. It creates a straight back but decreases stress on the knee.

Seiza is usually used by meditators who don't want to sit with their legs crossed. This is an extremely advantageous proper posture for less flexible or older individuals. Traditional Zafu meditation cushions are designed to support this position.

Stability

Another benefit of meditation pillows is that they allow for stability during meditation. It allows individuals to meditate without being distracted by poor alignment.

Meditating in a sitting or kneeling posture is impacted by the flexibility of your ankles, knees, and hips. Meditation pillows are needed to maintain proper alignment.

You must have a firm foundation when performing a full or half lotus posture. The spine should be upright, with the upper back slightly curved out, the lower back curved, and the neck curved in slightly.

Proper alignment naturally supports your body's stability and reduces stress on the spinal components.

Portability

Portability is very important for those who like to meditate daily and would like the ease of meditating in different areas or spaces.

Similar to the yoga mats, the pillows are highly portable. You can travel to various places, indoors or outdoors, and take the pillow. Portability means you don't need to confine yourself to meditation at home.

Portability ranges depending on which meditation cushions you have. Portable meditation cushions usually have a handle built into the lining to make transporting more convenient.

How to Choose a Meditation Pillow

Choosing the right meditation pillow for regular meditation practice is crucial for maintaining a comfortable and stable sitting posture during meditation. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a pillow:

  • Height and Thickness: The height and thickness of the pillow are important for finding the right sitting position. Consider your flexibility and the natural curvature of your spine. A higher pillow may be suitable if you have tight hips or limited flexibility, while a thinner pillow might be preferable if you are more flexible.

  • Firmness: The pillow's firmness determines the level of support it provides. Some prefer a firmer cushion that holds its shape well, while others prefer a softer cushion that allows for some sinking and molding to your body contours. A firm yet comfortable cushion is a better choice since it helps keep the back straight.

  • Filling Material: Common filling materials for meditation pillows include buckwheat hulls, kapok, cotton, or memory foam. Buckwheat hulls inside a cushion are popular for inner lining because they conform to your body shape, providing good support and breathability.

  • Cover Material: Choose a cover material that is durable, comfortable, and easy to clean. Many meditation pillows have a removable cover that is easy to wash.

  • Size and Shape: Consider the size and shape of the pillow, as it should comfortably accommodate your sitting posture. Zafus are generally round and slightly elevated, while zabutons are larger and flatter cushions meant to be placed under the zafu for added support.

  • Portability: If you plan to carry your meditation pillow to different locations, consider a lightweight and portable option that won't be a burden during travel.

  • Style and Aesthetics: The pillows come in various colors and designs. Choose one that resonates with your personal style and creates a calming atmosphere in your meditation space.

  • Reviews and Recommendations: Read online reviews and seek recommendations from experienced meditators or friends who use the pillows. Real-life experiences can provide valuable insights into the comfort and durability of different cushions.

  • Try It Out: Test the meditation pillow before purchasing it. Some meditation centers or specialty stores may have display models for you to try out and assess the comfort and support.

Ultimately, the best meditation pillow is one that complements your body and meditation style, providing a stable and comfortable platform for your practice. Take your time to explore different options and choose a pillow that enhances your meditation experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a regular pillow for meditation practice?

A regular pillow works fine for meditation but won't last for long-term use. Meditation pillows are specially designed for long-standing seating and support the body better than an ordinary pillow.

A good meditation pillow or set lasts longer and often doesn't need to be rebought or upgraded.

Are meditation pillows worth it?

It’s nice to have one.

A meditation pillow will be helpful if you plan to meditate for long periods. Most non-walking or standing meditation practices require a cushion.

Logically, you don't need a meditation pillow if you normally do standing or walking meditation.

Why should I use a meditation cushion?

Meditation pillows are great for people who meditate longer because they can provide comfort and proper alignment to your body. They are stronger than a regular pillow and provide better support.

References

How to Choose a Meditation Cushion

Do You Need a Cushion to Meditate?

10 Best Meditation Pillows to Enhance Your Mindfulness Practice

The 12 Best Meditation Pillows of 2022 | Psych Central

Using a meditation pillow: 8 awesome benefits – Yogigo

How to sit on a meditation pillow? 7 different positions – Yogigo

Disclaimer

The contents of this article are provided for informational purposes only. Anahana does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice from a healthcare professional. Anahana encourages to consult a qualified healthcare professional for medical guidance. Anahana is not liable for any errors, omissions, or consequences that may occur from using the information provided.

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