Using Meditation Pillows
in Your Spiritual Practice

When we think of meditating, we also think of meditation pillows and Yoga mats. These have become part of the modern approach. In the past, monks did not always avail themselves of these devices. Yet, they were not unknown.

Shakyamuni Buddha is said to have told his followers, “In a quiet, solitary place, on a comfortable meditation mat and cushion, you should sit in the proper meditation position, your back erect, maintaining the correct position of the body and engage in the practice of Samadhi.”

The approach has changed little over the centuries. The material in and out of cushions may alter, but the need remains.

If you plan to make a practice of meditating, consider purchasing the right kind of meditation cushions for your needs. Meditation cushions or pillows are an important aspect of your practice. It doesn't matter whether you're practicing alone or in a group setting.

Why is a Meditation Pillow Important?

Practicing meditation requires an effort from not only the mind, but also the body. We demand it remain in place for longer than it's accustomed to. If we want to keep our body loose and relaxed, we need to avoid anything that will cause it to become restless. Moreover, by taking the right precautions we can prevent our bodies from becoming uncomfortable, not only during meditation but afterwards.

When we select the right meditation pillow, we provide the right support for our body. In particular, we prevent stress on the spine. As a result, we help our body achieve spinal alignment and, therefore, optimal posture.

We need to make the body comfortable while we focus on our mind. This requires cushioning it from discomfort. One of the best means of doing so is to select the right type of pillow for our purpose. The choice depends upon a variety of factors.

How to Select a Meditation Cushion

When it comes to picking out the right meditation cushion, you need to consider several factors. These consist of the following:

  • Height
  • Flexibility
  • Comfort
  • Position – lotus, half-lotus, kneeling, sitting cross-legged
  • Spinal issues
  • Other health issues

Some other factors to consider are color and shape. Some individuals may select a pillow based on its attractiveness. The color blends in with the environment. This is not mere esthetics. Choosing the right color may indicate of an understanding of feng shui.

Types of Meditation Cushions or Pillows

Meditation cushions or pillows vary in size, shape and content. They range from the traditional to the modern. The most common ones are:

  • Zafu – This pillow is the traditional shape – round, pleated and puffy. It is best for either lotus or half-lotus positions. It's also best suited for those of average height.
  • Zabuton – This cushion is rectangular and flat. It's larger and less puffy than a Zafu, and is the common choice for intermediate meditation practitioners. You can put a Zafu over the Zabuton to have more comfort.
  • Cosmic Cushion – This is a horseshoe shaped pillow. It suits tall people and those with issues of flexibility.

The materials comprising a meditation cushion also are important. They tend to consist of one or two materials. These are Kapok and buckwheat. The former originates from the Kapok tree of Asia and certain American southern states. The latter are the outer hulls of the buckwheat grain.

Kapok provides the cushion with a dense, firm texture. It provides the body with support while conforming to the body. Buckwheat also conforms to the body while providing support and comfort. Buckwheat is considered more stable and earthy, but Kapok is lighter. They can also be filled with cotton.

A Final Word on Pillows

Meditation pillows are a tool of our practice. They act in several ways to help us move along our path. Not only do they provide support for our body, they also help us to be comfortable while we meditate.

Selecting the right cushion for our practice, whether it's Zafu, Zabuton or Cosmic Cushion, is important. Selecting the right meditation pillow will affect how we move along the steps to spiritual growth or self-discovery.

Also learn more on the following pages:

My Ergonomic Meditation Seat

I found this meditation seat in a retreat in Switzerland. My room mate Juerg was a designer and he made it by himself. Discover how comfortable, unique and cute it is.

Learn about the help you can get from my services, to improve or check your meditation practice or to support your healing process.

Do you want to know more ? Contact me.

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