By Julie Jarvis
Posted in REALthings Meditation Blog, on December 16, 2017
Meditation Cushions 101
What is a meditation cushion?
Meditation cushions are designed to help you sit straight comfortably. A meditation cushion can be any shape or size. The key is finding the cushion that fits your body.
How do I choose?
First, you need to find a meditation posture that works for you. Then you need to find the meditation cushion that will support you in that posture comfortably. Here are the three most popular meditation postures. You can also take a variation of these postures using a bench or a chair.
Burmese Lotus Seiza
The most important cushion is your sit cushion, because it lifts your hips and lets your back straighten naturally.
If your knees tend to be high in the air when you sit cross-legged on a cushion, you might want to try kneeling in the Seiza posture. The best way to do this is to take a tall zafu cushion and turn it on its side. It opens your hips and takes the pressure off your knees and ankles.
If your knees are flexible but don't touch the ground, you may want to try a prop under your knees.
If you are super duper flexible, the small or mini zafu cushion is probably the best choice for you. Learn more about posture here.
Types of Cushions?
The most popular meditation cushion is the zafu. It is a round cushion stuffed with buckwheat hulls, which makes it comfy. Our most popular zafu is the Medium Mountain Zafu which is 8” tall, almost double the height of most traditional-sized meditation cushions. However, if you have tight hips and or very long legs you may prefer a tall. The zafu is designed to go with a zabuton mat. We call this combination bliss.
If the zafu does not feel right for you, you can also try meditation benches or bolsters. You can find many variations of bolsters for meditation and yoga. Our bolsters are hand-packed with cotton to offer firm lasting support.
Back Bolster or Stress Absorber
Runa Chair Cushion
If you prefer to be on a chair, our Runa cushion helps you sit up straight comfortably by lifting the hips as a zafu does on the floor. You can also place it behind your back.
Cushion props are used with meditation cushions. They vary widely and are used to offer extra support to the hands, knees and ankles when you are meditating.
Knee cushions are extremely helpful if you find your legs or feet failing asleep during meditation.
Hand cushions lift the hands, relieving stress and pulling on the shoulders, so you can sit straight without strain. It makes a huge difference. Another way to support the hands is by rolling up the bottom of your t-shirt or t-shirt dress and using it as perch for your hands. Just make sure the fabric is stretchy.
Our meditation cushions are stuffed with natural materials - buckwheat hulls, cotton, and kapok. Buckwheat hulls are popular because they are malleable, natural, and can be adjusted. We use cotton for mats and bolsters which makes them comfortable.
More Tips & Tid Bits
Be gentle with your self and the cushion. Your cushion is your home. It is where you start.
When you meditate, always take time to find your posture so you can sit straight peacefully like a majestic mountain.
Meditation cushions are designed to lift your hips and allow your knees so come to the ground. To do this, you need to sit right on the front edge of your cushion, so your pelvis can roll forward.
If you like sitting with your ankles crossed and your knees slightly in the air, your may prefer to sit in the middle of your zafu meditation cushion. Try it a few different ways.
If your knees are high up in the air when you sit cross-legged, you may prefer kneeling on a tall cushion turned sideways or a meditation bench.
If your legs fall asleep when you meditate, it may help to put a cushion or mat under your ankles and/or cushions under your knees. Even a small lift under the knees can help alleviate pain and increase circulation.
If you are physically uncomfortable when you sit and you think you need to 'push through the pain', in fact, it is the opposite. You can sit with it and see if something changes over time, or find a posture and cushions that support you from the start.
If you take a thin cushion and place in in your lap when you meditate, you can cradle your hands and ease the tension from your shoulders. It can make a big difference.
Many people like to sit in front of windows and leave their cushions there during the day. If you do, we recommend covering the cushions with a cloth so the sun does not fade them.
Our meditation cushion cases are water-resistant. You can open them and leave the case on the cushion when you are sitting for protection from dust or dampness.
Our Dolma cushions are named after our lead artisan, Dolma Tsering.The cushion design is inspired by Tibetan craftsmanship.
Fabrics and Sunshine - Mr Morimoto , the founder of IKTT in Cambodia, told us that natural fabrics are alive. They need to sit outside in the sun sometimes to breathe. We are like that.