A meditation cushion can be an important tool for those who are meditating regularly. It is important to find a cushion which is best for your own needs. In this article we will examine what to look for and some great examples to consider.
But how can you determine what will suit your needs? You need to consider good posture, comfort, perfect balance, structure of the body. There are many cushions available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and are made with many different materials. So one should take time and choose what they buy carefully. Consider each of the designs and how they can best suit your personal needs, the height of the cushions, whether the fabric is durable yet soft, and how the fill will support the body. Many people look for a color that will fit with the color scheme of their own space, though color of the cushion may not be too important!
Importance of mediation cushions
People who want to meditate come in different shapes and sizes. Our body shape, in particular our back, is different for everyone. So we have different requirements. But one thing is true for all, if we don’t have good support while meditating – our posture will be poor. For some, years of practice makes it easy to maintain posture.
Others need some support without support, to maintain alignment and stop the body from slumping. If cushions are incorporated as a support, this can greatly improve the situation for beginners. Such support can promote proper posture and make things more physically comfortable. Thus we can focus on our mantra and not on the pain that may come with poor support!
Cushions for Meditation Postures
The ancient full lotus or the half lotus, kneeling, chair sitting, and lying postures are the main postures. Of course, one can vary their practice, using different postures at different times. Your muscular strength and flexibility are major determinants in what postures you can use. Your ability will be greatly increased by utilizing support such as a cushion.
For comfortable sitting
While meditating, whichever postures one chooses, a firm foundation, proper alignment to support the body and breath, and comfort are important. Meditation cushions are amongst the tools in achieving comfort, so that one can focus on the mind and not be distracted by physical discomfort. Beginners need to focus on the body for a short time, to take notice of any areas of the body that need additional support or adjustment. If anyone needs added height, cushioning under the knees when sitting in the cross-legged position, or cushioning under the ankles or hands if she/he takes cushions as support it will provide additional comfort and flexibility.
There are many resources to find out how you should sit during meditation. We will only touch on it here. What is most important is a sound basic foundation, most gurus advocate these main points:
- Keep your backbone fairly upright.
- At this position, the lower spine will naturally curve inwards (the spine is ‘S’ shaped) and the top part of your back will be curved slightly outwards.
- Hold your neck curved so your chin is pointing down very slightly.
If this position can be kept, it will support the body in a comfortable posture. Doing so will give you comfort, so your mind is not distracted by pain while you sit.
Beginners often prefer the traditional cushion Zafu. This raises your posture slightly, your bottom is higher than the legs, which many find more comfortable. Zafu is well suited for those of average height and who have normal to above average flexibility. While meditating, your core is kept in such a way that the spinal column is in its natural alignment. This position should prove to be both comfortable and maintainable for long periods.
Cosmic cushion (see image below) is similar to the zafu. This is shaped like a fortune cookie, with a slope against the spine that promotes what we want… You guessed it, good posture. The cushion is nicely ergonomic, taking into account where the thighs need support, and where the ankles will lie. These types of cushions are great options for tall folk and those who may have less flexibility.
Benefits of using Zafu (filled with organic buckwheat hull or kapok):
- Can be turned on its side for use in kneeling position.
- Long lasting.
- Buckwheat Zafu doesn’t require any break-in period.
- Provides excellent support.
- Extra height and width for taller and/or larger-framed meditators who are less flexible.
- Solid support for those who want a very firm seat.
See the Zafu here:
There are other types of cushions which can also be used comfortably such as square cushions, zabuton meditation cushion. The square cushions have straight edges, so won’t get in the way of foot position. This style is often preferred by seasoned meditators, who may have developed a good level of flexibility. Those who are less than or of average height may also find these square cushions ideal.
During sitting meditating, for your lower leg – ankles and knees – the zabuton cushions provide good support. A Zabuton is usually placed under the zafu or other sitting cushion. Whichever you choose - Zafu, Zabuton or cosmic cushion – all support the body while in various meditation postures and create proper alignment and comfort.
For information on meditation chairs and more return home.
To search for your new meditation cushion on amazon click here.