Sensational meditation cushions for beginners you’ll love
Meditation cushions are one of the most important items to have when doing the intended practice. Its primary job is to provide you with the physical comfort and support necessary for a complete and fulfilling practice. Thereby it’s enhancing your overall experience and it helps to incorporate this practice as a part of your daily life.
Is a meditation cushion necessary? Why?
Meditation is the process of simply clearing your mind and allowing energy to naturally flow through the body. Any discomfort could potentially disrupt the natural flow of energy and ultimately the meditative process.
Finding a cushion is crucial to creating a balanced meditative experience. Your physical comfort and stability are imperative in your practice, akin to finding the right mattress. You want something that is suitable to your body’s particular needs and allows you to easily transport yourself to that sacred place. Finding a pillow is not only significant for the physical experience, but for the spiritual and mental state as well.
What are the different types of meditation cushions available?
There are a few cushions that are commonly used amongst both beginners and masters alike. Although there are many variations, these are the basic core of those used in most practices.
Usually a rounded and overly stuffed cushion, which is approximately 14” in diameter, and 8” high. Zafus are great for those with hip issues and those who have trouble with the lotus position. It helps to elevate the hips, making it easier to accomplish the task.
There is also a crescent-shaped zafu, which provides wider support for hips and your legs. I personally have found the crescent shaped zafu beneficial as it prevents my legs from becoming numb and falling asleep.
A longer (30” x 28”), but thinner cushion. Although it can be used independently, it is mainly used in conjunction with the zafu by being placed underneath it. This creates additional support for the knees and ankles, especially important during long meditation sessions. This can create a more positive and productive experience.
It should be noted there is an additional alternative to the zafu. Tibetan style meditation seat cushions act similar to a traditional zafu. These can also be used with a zabuton. However, they are rectangular in shape, thus creating a larger space to facilitate the body and accommodate the knees.
Does the filling matter?
The filling within the cushion, especially the zafu, is paramount in your decision. The two most prevalent fillings are buckwheat hulls and kapok. (this latter one, by the way, has an amazing flower as you can see on the picture).
Although there are additional fillers, like organic cotton and synthetics such as polyester, I personally would recommend to choose them. In my opinion, the best choices are the ones enumerated above. And I tell you why.
Despite these outer casings can be hard, somewhat heavy and noisy, they provide a firm yet stable base that readily molds and conforms to your body shape, and does not flatten. They provide for easy removal to adjust the cushion height, and those extras can be maintained as replacements if existing hulls break down. This is my personal preference as I have found that I require a firmer foundation enhances my posture and maintains my alignment organically.
A natural fiber similar to cotton, it is a soft and spongy cushion, which might be more comfortable at first blush. Kapok, unlike cotton, will not get moldy. It is lightweight and convenient for portability. The downside is that it is not easily removable for adjustment purposes, and will flatten with use over time, requiring a new purchase.
It should be noted that as zabutons are thinner and not held to same standards as zafus. They require less filling and primarily use kapok or cotton to ensure the softness needed.
What should I consider before using the product?
There is a myriad of factors involved in determining which meditation cushion to buy. Factors include from the basic to the sublime. These are the questions you should ask yourself before buying a product.
I would strongly recommend that, whenever possible, you physically try all possibilities to determine what best suits your needs. If indeed, your option is restricted to an online purchase, you locate a vendor with a fair return policy. Lastly, even aesthetics play a role in your choosing… it is your sacred space eventually. What color sets the tone for you? What makes it more appealing? Knowing your possibilities, the decision becomes simpler to make.
There are a variety of meditation cushions out on the market, and I know making a decision is not easy. Especially if you’re a beginner. So here’s a little help for you. I collected my personal picks, denoting both their pros and cons.
- It utilizes a buckwheat hull stuffing, which readily molds to your body shape and offers great stability, and tested it up to 200 lbs of weight to ensure that it maintains your shape.The zipper enclosure to adjust the hulls to your individual preference.
- It includes a handmade cover, made of organic cotton, which includes a zipper closing allowing it to be easily removed and is machine washable.
- Modestly priced for its given features.
- At 12.5” x 7”, this product runs significantly smaller than traditional zafus, making it difficult for most body sizes to comfortably use.
- The cover fabric is a bit thin and might be subject to wear and tear more readily.
- The cover depicted from the manufacturer was significantly more vibrant in color than what was received. There have also been reports of unintended
- Markings on the cover, making them seem damaged.
- The handle (for portability) is also thin, possibly increasing the odds of ripping due to the weight of the buckwheat husks.
- The cover for the zafu is either 100% twill cotton or silk depending on which of the pillows you choose from.
- The product is 6” in height and the diameter is about 15”, which makes the zafu more spacious for those with long legs and with to maintain position.
- There is a side zipper which makes the cover removable and you are able to adjust the filling inside.
- This zafu also comes with a handle, making it easy to transport.
- This a very reasonable price considering the quality that you are receiving.
- Due to the interchangeable covers, it could also look great as a living room or bedroom décor.
- The cushion tends to get dirty easily and it collects lint often.
- The marketing for this product is unclear and it is difficult to determine whether the stuffing is cotton or buckwheat hulls.
- The wear and tear of the cover will continue in a matter of months if used on a frequent basis.
- Although the covers are removable and interchangeable, the silk covers will probably require dry cleaning.
- Utilizes buckwheat hulls, making it easily adjustable and stable.
- The dimensions are 16” x 8”, giving 2” extra in diameter, which allows for more space for wider hips than a traditional zafu.
- The crescent shape makes it easier for the knees and the ankles to stay in a comfortable position.
- The cover is twill cotton and it is removable and machine washable.
- Like all of the other zafus listed, this does come with a sturdy handle for portability purposes.
- You have more color options which can work great for decoration purposes as well.
- The seaming is rather tenuous, and the stitching readily tears open, exposing loose filling. In it of itself, this is an obvious issue, especially when being transported.
- Different models reflect different construction. Some contain interior liners, while others do not.
- Marketing needs to reflect qualities specific to each product.
- Price is slightly more expensive.
- The mat is 36” x 30”, considerably larger dimensions than a traditional zabuton accommodating those with long legs.
- The mat is only three pounds, making it lightweight and easily portable.
- Stuffed with kapok, which is enclosed in a separate casing.
- Removable and machine-washable cover.
- Long-lasting durability with minimal wear and tear. Reports indicate that it can well over five years with multiple washes.
- Overstuffed and firm, making it a suitable choice for independent use without a zafu.
- Made in the USA, which means strict quality control employed.
- Despite its ultra-light weight, the manufacturer did not include a handle, greatly curtailing what could have been easy portability.
- With a slicker than usual feel, this product might be disconcerting to a beginner.
- It is a little bit pricier, compared to its competitors.
- Although the zafu is filled with buckwheat hulls which mold to your body, the zabuton is filled with kapok, which is a natural fiber yielding a softer cushion that effectively protects the knees and ankles.
- The zafu does have a zipper, it is adjustable in height and it is double stitched so that it remains sturdy.
- The zafu is 14″ wide and 7″ tall and weighs up to 7 lbs. The zabuton is at least 30″ x 28″, which ranges towards the typical perimeter of both a zafu and zabuton. However, the zabuton is considerably lightweight enabling portability.
- The benefits when using a complete set are readily apparent. The zabuton helps to pad the knees and ankles while the zafu provides support for the spine, hips and other areas for alignment. By purchasing a set, you are addressing all the physical needs at a more economical price than if purchased individually.
- Only the zabuton is washable.
- The buckwheat hulls can be too thick and the zabuton can be too thin for your liking.
- The zafu and zabuton may come off as smaller than what is the norm.
- You would have to constantly fluff up the zafu and despite it having buckwheat hulls, it does tend to flatten.
I would recommend purchasing the zafu and zabuton set. While this may appear to be a costlier alternative, it is actually less expensive than purchasing the cushions individually. Both items offer maximum comfort and stability.
The set has the requisite pleating and sturdier stitching than some of the single zafus listed. The cushion is more likely to resist major wear and tear and be a long-lasting part of your meditation practice.
I hope this article helped you to make the first step on the path of regular meditation.