Cassandra at Porch recently asked me this great question:
What kind of sitting props & cushions would you suggest to be comfortable while you meditate?
Everyone’s body is different, so the most important thing is to find the perfect cushion and posture for your body. Once you know what size and shape of cushion you need, you can choose the fabrics and designs that inspire you.
The Perfect Combo
My favourite meditation cushion combination is a zafu ‘sit cushion’ on top of a zabuton meditation mat. The words zafu (za-foo) and zabuton (za-booton) are Japanese words meaning sit cushion and sit mat.
The zafu is a round meditation cushion that lifts your hips up, so your spine can straighten naturally. It can be used by itself or paired with a zabuton mat – a large square cushion that provides warmth and softness for the ankles and knees. These cushions feel great together because they support the whole body.
Your Sweet Spot – Finding what your body needs
The first step is finding the right ‘sit cushion’ for your body. Although you can find meditation cushions and props in different shapes and sizes, the round zafu cushions are the most popular. We make our zafu cushions in different heights to accommodate different body types.
Depending on how flexible your hips are, you may need a little bit of lift (2-5”tall ) or a lot of lift (7-9” tall). We find most people in North America need more lift because we have less flexible hips.
We make zafu cushions in 4 sizes, and our most popular is the medium-sized zafu cushion, which is 8” tall. This is double the height of a traditional zafu and most of the cushions you see on-line today.
We started making cushions in different heights because we saw so many people struggling to sit comfortably on the floor. Often, they would give up because they thought they couldn’t meditate. What we found though is that as soon as they found the cushions and posture they needed, they could sit comfortably and meditate successfully.
To find the right cushion you may have to try some different postures. The two most popular postures in North America are ‘Seiza or the Hero Pose’ (a kneeling posture) – and ‘Burmese’ (a cross-legged posture). You can check these out on our website tutorials.
Although the Lotus posture is often featured in images, it is an extremely challenging posture for most North American meditators because we have less flexibility in our hips.
What’s in the stuffing – the natural choice
Meditation cushions and mats can be stuffed with cotton, kapok, foam or buckwheat hulls. The most popular zafu cushions are filled with buckwheat hulls because they are malleable, adjustable and super comfy. They are also natural, which feels good when you meditate. Similarly, we find the zabuton mats stuffed with cotton are also very soft and supportive of the ankles and knees. We love to use natural materials that enhance your environment and breathe with you when you meditate.
Check out the entire blog & get more great advice from the experts about how to set up your perfect meditation space at home Porch.com.
Excerpt By Julie Jarvis, Founder & Designer, REALthings