Meditation Cushion Types – A Guide

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Someone who practices or wants to start practicing meditation needs a medication

Zazen cushion used by Soto-zen school.

cushion. Having the right cushion type for your body will help you maintain the right meditation posture, proper body alignment and ultimately, provide you the comfort you need when practicing meditation.

Why get a cushion?

If you’re practicing meditation, you need something to help support your body. Since the body isn’t completely flat or curved, you need something that will help support its foundation when you place yourself into different postures.

When you don’t have something to support your body, it can make your legs, spine, hips, shoulders and head to become improperly aligned, something that can cause you a lot of discomfort. It can even cause lasting discomfort if you continue to practice without having something to support yourself. That’s the main reason why getting helpful tools like yoga bolsters, yoga blankets and meditation cushions is important for anyone who’s practicing any of those spiritual arts.

Meditation posture, cushions and how they matter for comfort

 

One of the most important aspects of meditation involves the very postures you

See: www.falundafa.org/eng/exercises.html

See: www.falundafa.org/eng/exercises.html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

perform when practicing. The most common medication postures include the full lotus, half-lotus (cross-legged), kneeling (seiza) lying (savasana) and chair sitting. You can also use more than one posture in meditation, particularly during different times throughout the day.

Of course, the ability to use certain postures all depends on the innate flexibility of your body. If you can’t get yourself into certain positions without straining, you will need some kind of support to help you achieve that, while keeping yourself comfortable and your body properly aligned.

Choosing the right cushion for meditation can actually affect how you perform your meditative stretches and postures. In other words, certain cushions will work better to support your body in certain postures over other meditation cushion types.

Meditation types of cushions

There are naturally many types available to buy nowadays, all found in a wide variety of sizes, colors and shapes. They’re also made from several different materials, some of which that can influence your comfort level when meditating.

If you’re shopping for a  cushion, it’s important to think about how certain cushions might fulfill your meditation-related needs. You should think about things like the height of the cushion, the softness of its fabric and how the cushion itself will provide adequate support for your body.

Some people might place a large emphasis on the color of their  cushion, as color can affect one’s personal energy, when taking Feng Shui into consideration.

A look at common cushions

The zafu or round cushion is the most popular cushion for  meditation used by many people. It comes in either buckwheat hull or Kapok versions, which both have thresholds for regular use.

The buckwheat zafu, as an example, doesn’t require people to undergo a ‘break-in’ period when using it in meditation. This cushion is well suited for lotus, half-lotus or cross-legged postures. It can also be used on its side to support the seiza or kneeling posture. People who have less flexible knees and hips should consider getting this cushion.

The Kapok zafu, on the other hand, is firmer than the aforementioned zafu cushion, making it more suitable for people who prefer firmer cushions. It does require a break-in period, since it uses very dense filler material.

When ‘broken in,’ this zafu easily conforms to any body shape. While beginners can easily use this zafu cushion, it’s more suited for long-time mediators, as it provides them more height and support than the softer buckwheat zafu.

The fillers

The most common fillers used in many cushions types today include Kapok and

A typical throw pillow (cushion) found in a su...

buckwheat hulls.

Kapok is a type of downy cotton-like filler that originates from Kapok trees in Asia, though they’re also located within the Southern United States. When Kapok is used to fill a cushion, it becomes firm and dense. This material is actually preferred as a cushion filler, as it doesn’t completely compress like cotton or polyester batting, instead conforming to the body’s shape without collapsing and losing support.

Buckwheat hulls are the outermost chaff of the buckwheat grain. When they’re poured inside of a cushion, they essentially feel like a pile of sand without the density of sand. Thanks to this sand-like effect, it easily conforms to the shape of the body, providing more stable support than Kapok cushions. They are, however, heavier than Kapok cushions and might cost more.

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