8 Best Meditation Cushions for Concentration & Comfort
True meditation doesn’t really require anything other than the ability to quiet your mind, however many of us develop certain meditation rituals that we like to turn to each day that compliments our individual preferences for meditating.
So while it is definitely not essential to have a cushion to start a meditation practice, there are some distinct advantages to sitting on a meditation cushion that may enhance your experience and help you get and stay in the Zen zone!
Ancient Chinese monks used to hand weave grass mats, which they carried with them on their backs and used as hats if it started to rain. They also used them to place on the wet ground and meditate sitting on top of them for hours. However, you will be pleased to hear, nowadays the best meditation cushions are a lot more comfortable and are designed especially for long periods of sitting.
Meditation is a life-changing skill but it is also an experience and an intensely personal one.
Meditation and mindfulness are appearing so frequently in the media it seems everyone is in a rush to define meditation one way or another, either as a philosophical concept or a way to boost mental and emotional health. While all of this is wonderful the fact remains that in order to really experience meditation you actually have to be willing to do it. That means making it part of your daily routine, a habit that you turn to as easily as you would making that first cup of tea or coffee. In order to make it something you stick to, why not ensure that your meditation experience is as comfortable as possible? As this guide will explore, this can be achieved with the right meditation cushion or even a meditation chair which includes back support.
It can be all too easy to get frustrated with your busy thoughts, get distracted by outside noises or feel uncomfortable and give up. Do yourself a favor and define a sacred space for your meditation ritual. You don’t want to get discouraged from meditation, so do everything you can to make it a routine, a habit, a comfortable and special experience. Having a dedicated meditation cushion can really help with this.
Just having it in the vicinity acts as a reminder to meditate. You will come to view your meditation cushion as a symbol of everything calm and sacred and that moment of Zen becomes impossible to do without. If you’re still new to the art of meditation a great way to learn is with the help of a meditation book.
Benefits of using a meditation cushion
There are obvious health benefits associated with using a cushion for meditation. However, just to be clear, the meditation cushions we examine in this guide should be used to sit on, not to rest your head on like a traditional cushion may be. That isn’t to say you can’t meditate while lying down, however, and you can find out more about meditation and sleep in our dedicated guide.
Believe it or not, sitting still can actually be physically quite demanding. Meditation requires you to tune into your breath and body, becoming acutely aware of how you feel throughout.
It’s common to start to feel restless and uncomfortable after sitting for a long period of time. We all have different shaped bodies, and without proper support, extended periods of sitting still can cause your posture to droop, and your body to misalign. Using a meditation cushion assists you to maintain good posture while meditating and also lessens any pain or discomfort.
To learn to sit still and remain comfortable you have to know how to sit so that your spine is supporting itself naturally without strain. It is actually challenging to sit, with an upright spine and remain comfortable for any length of time, especially if you are not used to it. The correct alignment for sitting is with an erect spine with the lower back curved slightly in and the upper back curved slightly out. Your head should be level and your neck curved slightly inwards. Once you’re happy with your posture during meditation you can also enhance your practice in other ways, including through the use of a incense.
Using a cushion supports this pose as a firm foundation
Spending a long time seated in a meditation pose like Sukhasna (cross-legged) can also cause people to experience discomfort in their hip joints. We all have different levels of flexibility and our hip joints rotate differently. Some people simply cannot sit cross-legged for long, if their hip joints tend to rotate internally, causing their knees to rise higher than their hipbones.
Your aim is to be able to sit in comfort, without becoming restless or feeling any kind of pain so that you can get the best out of your meditation experience, and practice for as long as you like.
Different types of meditation cushions
When choosing the best meditation cushion for your individual needs, consider the way that you prefer to sit and your own height and flexibility. The idea of all meditation cushions is to provide support for you by elevating your pelvis so that your hips remain above your knees. That way healthy blood flow to your legs and feet is assured and you will be able to meditate for longer with a tall spine and free-flowing energy.
Zafu is a traditional round pleated cushion that raises the hips up enabling your legs to rest comfortably. You usually sit on the front half or the edge of the zafu with your thighs sloping downwards. Zafu cushions increase the stability of the spine by encouraging its natural alignment, which in turn creates support for your neck and head. You will find it easy to maintain an upright posture while meditating. If used alone, the zafu cushion is good for people of average height and normal flexibility.
Zabuton cushions are larger and provide support for the knees and ankles. Usually, people place a zafu on top of a zabuton for maximum comfort and alignment. The zabuton helps cushion your knees and ankles from touching the floor which just adds to a more comfortable meditation experience.
The silky and resilient Kapok fiber has been used for hundreds of years as a traditional cushion filling. It is a natural, soft fiber that comes from the seedpod of the kapok tree in Asia. Cushions made from kapok fiber are firmer with very little bulging or give under your weight.
Buckwheat hulls are also used for cushion stuffing, but unlike kapok, they do bulge under body weight. They are the outer chag of the grain, small and dark and shaped like saucers. They are softer and form to your shape, allowing you to shift around on top of the cushion with a feeling of sand beneath you. They tend to feel more stable to people than kapok cushions are generally preferred.
Best Meditation Cushion Reviews
Below you will find our best meditation cushion reviews to assist you when making the healthiest, most informed choices for your own meditation practice, enabling you to focus your mind and not be distracted by any physical discomfort. When chosen correctly, a meditation cushion can be a wonderful tool for your practice.
Seat Of Your Soul Buckwheat Hull Filled Yoga Meditation Cushion
This buckwheat filled zafu and crescent moon cushion offers a soft and stable foundation that contours to mold to your body shape.
The ergonomic design aids spine alignment and helps to ease any leg strain. There are two shapes of cushion, the zafu measures 5.5 “ high and 15” wide and the crescent is 5’ by 17’’. They are both made from 100% organic cotton and you can remove and wash the outer cover. The stuffing is buckwheat and you can remove some of the hulls if you prefer in order to meet your own needs.
Both shapes come in a wide range of colors including purple, gray, navy and natural. This is good value and high quality, perfect for maintaining great posture during meditation, undoubtedly the best meditation cushion for back pain.
Buckwheat Zafu and Zabuton Meditation Cushion Set
A very high-quality combination set of zafu and zabuton cushions. The zafu has pleated sides, in the tradition of zafu cushions and is made from cotton and stuffed with buckwheat hulls.
There is a carrying handle for ease of movement and the fabric is double stitched and adjustable (you can remove some of the fillings should you desire) by opening the zipper. The zabuton cushion is filled with natural kapok, making it solid yet comfortable and proving firm support. The zabuton cushion is approximately 30″ long by 28″ wide and is great for any height up to about 5’10. With this cushion set, you’ll look forward to sitting to meditate.
The larger zabuton cushion provides excellent comfort to cushion your legs and feet that may end up hanging over the zafu. Choose from 9 different colors.
Black/Gray Zabuton Zafu Set
Look no further if you want the best meditation cushion for bad knees. A comfortable and great quality set, perfect for cross-legged meditation whether you sit in full or half lotus. It positions you well for natural, comfortable alignment and is sturdy and well made for a firm, stable foundation. Both cushions are filled with cotton.
The zabuton measures 3″ thick x 28″ wide x 36″ long while the zafu is 6” thick, 9” wide and 15” long. These two are built for longevity and are great value for money. They do not lose their shape and are designed with a longer yoga/meditation practice in mind, offering the perfect combination of soft support. The cushions are sleek and attractive and could easily double up in your living area as a sofa or floor cushions when not in use.
Peace Yoga Zafu Meditation Yoga Bolster Pillow Cushion
This zafu cushion provides the perfect boost up from hard floors to relieve stress in the leg, hip and back muscles when meditating. Available in two different sizes (13” by 13” or 16” by 16”) the cushion is packed with buckwheat hulls, making it a stable, firm base for seated positions.
The stuffing is sealed within its own pouch so that you can adjust it by removing hulls. This buckwheat cushion allows you to rock your pelvis in order to get the right curvature of your spine for comfortable sitting. It offers the perfect balance between stability and flexibility, adapting to your body shape but offering a firm base. It comes in attractive designs and colors for a burst of vibrancy in your home. Definitely one of the best meditation cushions for beginners.
Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Meditation Cushion
This zafu floor cushion is designed by Los Angeles yoga instructor Angela Kukhahin California. It’s an attractive combination of the luxurious and practical. It’s easy to wash removable cover, is embroidered in a calming wave pattern in a soft, sweatshirt material.
The cushion is filled with all-natural buckwheat hulls and offers a firm, sturdy base that still adapts to the curves of your body. It is very comfortable for longer meditations and you could even use it to kneel if you are busy with a task on the floor and need extra support. A high quality, well-designed choice for anyone starting out or highly experienced in meditation.
Peace Yoga Zafu Meditation Yoga Crescent Pillow Cushion
A great balance of firmness and pliability, this crescent cushion is the perfect aid to good posture, whether you are meditating or simply sitting on the floor. A top choice for beginners and advanced practitioners alike, yoga poses, meditation, or decorating your bed or sofa! You could also use this one as a sleep aid if you suffer from neck stiffness.
The cushion is designed with a soft grab-and-go handle for easy transporting. The supportive buckwheat hull filling gives stability and helps the pillow hold its shape. A good aid to elevate hips, giving the right angle and lift for a comfortably seated meditation session. It’s quite large, 18” by 9.6” and come in various embroidered designs and colors. An essential prop for sticking to a regular, deep meditation practice.
Peace Yoga Zafu Meditation Buckwheat Filled Crescent Cotton Bolster Pillow Cushion
A comfortable cushion that allows the meditator to sit easily with crossed legs for a long time. Filled with all-natural buckwheat hulls, the cushion has just the right amount of firmness and give for extended sitting. The crescent design allows you to move your legs and feet closer to your body if you are using it during yoga poses, helping to reduce stress and muscle strain. If you want to adjust the stuffing you can do so easily, and create the perfect pillow for your own body shape, height, and weight.
The outer pillow case is made from cotton and easily washed and the cushion features a soft handle for carrying around, should you want to take it to yoga class or on trips. The crescent cushion measures 18” x 9.6” x 5.7” and is available in a number of colors.
Third Eye Export Meditation Cushion
These are a range of pretty designed cushion covers to fit either a round pillow or you could stuff it with your own cotton or buckwheat hull filling. As this is just a cushion cover, the focus is less on its stability and support as a meditation cushion and more on aesthetics.
If you like the idea of stuffing your own cushions these are fun, attractive choices. The mandala designed cover is 32″/80 cms and comes in calming blue or purple. They are 100% cotton with a pom pom tassel border, and the designs are inspired by India. These meditation cushion covers would be absolutely ideal to decorate a serene corner of an outdoor terrace, garden or designated meditation area.