Choosing the proper meditation cushion or pillow depends on a few criteria including meditation posture, proper alignment, comfort, and the look and feel of the cushion.
Why Do I Need a Meditation Cushion?
The human body is neither flat nor predictably curved. Without proper support, your body will succumb to the shape of the surface on which it rests. This generally causes the legs, hips, spine, shoulders, and head to misalign and can result in discomfort. Meditation cushions or pillows, yoga blankets, yoga bolsters, and other props can greatly improve your posture and comfort level during meditation. As with any practice, whether construction or cooking, meditation requires the proper tools to ensure a successful practice session.
During a sitting meditation in either the full or half lotus posture a firm foundation is crucial. The spine should be erect with the lower back curved in, the upper back curved out slightly, the neck curved in slightly, and the head level (the “S” curve). This alignment naturally supports your body, allows for the greatest comfort, and reduces stress on the spinal components. In the lotus posture, the traditional Zafu and Zabuton Meditation Cushions work well.
As if sitting still for more than 10 minutes isn’t hard enough, try sitting on the floor without any support. It’s probably not going to inspire daily meditation sessions.
Just like you need a proper bed for a good night’s sleep, a high-quality meditation cushion is a must if you want to establish a consistent practice. Luckily, seasoned sitters created cushions, mats, and chairs to make meditating for a long period of time not only manageable, but truly comfortable.
When choosing a meditation cushion, you want to be mindful—no pun intended—of the sturdiness of the cushion. Most meditation cushions are filled with buckwheat, which makes it heavy enough to keep you from shifting in your seat. If your knees and feet are sensitive, look for a meditation cushion that comes with a mat, which provides extra support.