Meditation Pillows: Uses, Benefits and Buying Guide
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years as a way to balance the mind and body. (1) If you are new to meditation, you may be curious about the tools to help you get into your groove, like pillows or cushions.
Meditation cushions are designed to help the body relax into the grounding surface and allow you to focus on more than your comfort. While cushions or pillows were not popularly used a millennium ago, they are now part of the modern meditation world as we know it.
Selecting your meditation pillow is a highly personal choice. There are several styles to choose from, and as a beginner, you may need some time to make your selection. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about meditation pillows.
Types of Meditation Pillows
The variety of meditation pillows is vast. However, there are a few styles that range from traditional to modern designs.
- The traditional shape is round, pleated, and puffy. It is suited for meditators of average height that prefer the lotus or half-lotus positions.
- Rondos are intended for people who suffer from a knee problem or lack hip flexibility. These cushions are cylindrical without folds, and their height is specially designed to correct sitting during meditation sessions. Rondos may also reduce the cut-off of blood circulation under the thighs, thanks to their usually rounded edges. (2)
Buckwheat Hulls-filled Cushion
- Meditation cushions filled with buckwheat hulls are popular among modern practitioners. That’s because it conforms to one’s specific shape by shifting underneath the body. As a result, sitting on one feels as if you’re sitting on sand. (2)
Foldable Meditation Cushion
- Instead of using buckwheat hulls, foldable meditation pillows use Thai kapok fibers, making them lightweight. Since they’re softer and absorb less heat than buckwheat hull-filled cushions, they’re the ideal option in places with warm weather. (2)
- A horseshoe-shaped pillow is best for those that struggle with flexibility or are very tall.
- The rectangular and flat cushion has a larger seating space and is a common choice for beginners and intermediate meditators.
- Fuzen is a half-moon meditation cushion, which folds at the back. It’s also called half-zafu. Fuzen allows the meditators’ thighs to rest on the cushion’s front and sides. This type of meditation pillow is also a good choice for people looking at improving their hip flexibility as the cushion’s slight slope makes sitting at different heights possible. (2)
Common Meditation Cushion Stuffing Materials
Meditation cushions contain different materials in terms of stuffing. Some of the most common materials used are as follows:
- Leaves from the Asian Kapok tree. Provides firm, dense texture while giving you the support that you need.
- Made from the outer husks of the buckwheat seeds. Buckwheat filling gives you good support yet conforms easily to your body, giving you a bit more stability.
- People who like a solid, thick seat when meditating may find wool cushions too spongy. This is because they’re usually not as firm as kapok-filled meditation pillows. However, experts often recommend wool cushions because they’re believed to support blood circulation. Wool pillows are also comfortable and durable despite being lightweight. (2)
Polyester and cotton are also commonly used materials in making meditation pillows.
Why Do You Need One?
The answer is, you don’t need to have a meditation pillow, but they can add comfort and support to your daily meditation sessions. Many people feel that if they can get into a comfortable posture, they can concentrate on their meditation more effectively. Additionally, meditation pillows give you the height, cushion, and proper support to maintain your meditative stance better than if you were on the bare floor.
Over time, people resort to meditation to regain much-needed positive energy. It’s believed to benefit not only the physical body but also a person’s mental and spiritual well-being. (1) However, much of the meditation techniques that experts teach incorporate a specific sitting posture that practitioners have to maintain for longer than what is natural, which usually results in body pain, such as muscle aches. A meditation pillow can make your time more comfortable and reduce soreness or stiffness.
Meditation practitioners also decide to get a meditation cushion because the pillow establishes a dedicated practice space for them. Sitting on the cushion helps program their minds to go into a meditative state. This makes sense because a person is much more likely to do the work if a visual reminder is present. Here are other specific ways a meditation pillow can help:
Helps Prevent Back Pain During Meditation
Meditation sessions can strain your lower back, especially if you’re not doing it properly. If you want to lessen the strain and prevent back pain, a meditation pillow may help. Meditation pillows may also help keep the hip and knees in the right shape and provide the support necessary to keep them in the right positions. The pain likely to be felt in these areas may be reduced as a result. (3)
With the right meditation cushion or pillow, you can sit for long periods comfortably during your meditation sessions without worrying about pains in your joints and back.
Makes Outdoor Meditation Possible
If you’re outdoorsy and find meditation sessions more comfortable and enjoyable when done in the outside environment, then a meditation pillow can be useful to you. That’s because most meditation cushions in the market are light enough that you can carry them using only one hand. This means you can move around with it conveniently when bringing the pillow to the park, the garden, or even during family picnics.
Setting up for a relaxing meditation session in virtually any place you can think of is possible if you have a meditation cushion or pillow.
Functions As a Yoga Support
Yoga and meditation go hand in hand frequently. Yoga can be used as a warm-up activity for a meditation session and vice versa. In fact, yoga is best performed when you’re in a meditative state. This is why a meditation pillow can also function as yoga support, just like how it serves as an invaluable tool to your meditation sessions.
Some people disregard the importance of yoga to their meditation sessions. But the truth is that yoga may make meditation even more fulfilling by improving your flexibility. That’s why if you want to transform your meditation experience into a much better one, you’d want a yoga tool, like a meditation cushion, where you can rest your hands, knees, and legs. By having one, it could make your yoga session more effective and your meditation session more fulfilling.
Helps Reach Deeper Levels of Peace and Mindfulness
Thanks to advancements in technology, there are now advanced meditation pillows that may help improve meditation sessions. These modern cushions do it by monitoring your heart and breathing rates, giving you the chance to manage them effectively. They can also give you data in real-time since they’re backed up by smartphone apps, like most smart devices in the market.
For meditation enthusiasts who really want to make the most out of their sessions, getting a smart meditation pillow is always a wise move.
How to Choose Your Meditation Pillow
You may try out a few different meditation pillows before you find your best match. Your pillow will be the most comfortable, give you the support you need, and match your needs. Look for these features in a meditation pillow:
Your meditation pillow should be customized to your own height. If you are shorter in stature, you can choose a pillow as low as five inches. For meditators with average height, you would choose a medium height pillow for the best support. Taller people would possibly need a taller pillow to accommodate their body length.
Zabuton cushions are generally larger, more rectangular pillows with four corners. They are less pleated than Zafu pillows and can also be used as a yoga pillow. Zafu pillows are available in various shapes, but the traditional form is round and pleated. If you need more back and hip support, you can get a Zafu pillow that is u-shaped or v-shaped.
While your meditation pillow won’t generally get that dirty indoors, you will want a pillow that can be washed if you use it outside. At the least, you will want to look for a pillow that has a removable sham that you can throw in the washer when needed.
In the preceding sections, you’ve learned that meditation cushions use different materials as fillings. Kapok and buckwheat hulls generally are the main materials used. Of course, you’ve also learned that kapok, buckwheat hulls, and other materials used as fillings, such as wool, cotton, and polyester, offer distinct benefits. That’s why the filling is also an important feature to consider when choosing your meditation pillow.
Think about your preferences as far as meditation is concerned. The final choice of filling should reflect whatever your preferences are. The best way to figure out which meditation cushion is best suited for you is to try different fillings.
It’s also mentioned that a meditation pillow is a good meditation tool to have because it makes outdoor meditation sessions possible. Meditating in different areas, especially outdoors, inspires many people and even improves their concentration levels.
If you think meditating in different areas of your home or outdoors can help you, you need a meditation pillow you could bring with you just about anywhere.
Look for cushions with features that enable them to be carried easily, such as handles. Some pillows can even be used as a tote. There are also foldable meditation cushions that are more convenient to store and carry anywhere. Others are even inflatable!
The different types of meditation pillows in the market come in various sizes and shapes, even colors. All of these variations influence the whole meditation experience.
If you think a dark-colored cushion will improve your meditation space’s ambiance, go for it. It might not seem too important, but having a pillow whose color blends with your meditation space’s color scheme could be a game-changer.
Comfort is the most important feature. After all, the whole point of getting a meditation pillow is to make your meditation sessions more comfortable. Most people who cut their meditation schedule short after only a few sessions are those who experienced physical discomfort due to a lack of support for their bodies. You want a cushion that will bring the level of comfort you need.
Select a meditation cushion that makes it easier for you to breathe and aligns your body properly. That way, physical distress won’t distract you from focusing on the mind when meditating.
The pillow’s height, shape, washability, filling, portability, and color are essential. However, you have to keep in mind that any cushion, no matter how good it looks, won’t be useful to you if it can’t help you achieve a comfortable position during your sessions.
In addition to the features mentioned and discussed above, you also have to consider the meditation cushion’s price. Pillows available on the market come at different price points, so it’s essential to figure out how many hours you’ll invest meditating every day first. Doing so will help you decide on a specific cushion in terms of quality.
Luxury meditation pillows can get quite expensive, but there are high-quality but budget-friendly cushions in the market that will meet the needs of both newbies and advanced practitioners.
There’s no need to break the bank when finding a good-quality pillow, especially if you’re still starting to take on the ancient practice of meditating. Comprehensive research and careful consideration of all the above-mentioned features should lead you to the right meditation cushion for you.
Meditation pillows could be a game-changer for people who love performing the ancient practice of meditation. For one, cushions help make the whole meditating experience comfortable and virtually pain-free. This results in a deeper level of peace and mindfulness. They can even make outdoor meditation sessions possible.
Hopefully, this post has been an excellent resource for you, especially in deciding whether or not a meditation cushion can be of great help to you.
If you are new to meditation and are looking for a pillow to aid in your routine, consider the factors mentioned and discussed above to find the right one.
You’ll likely enjoy every meditation session that will make reaching your overall health and fitness goals a more straightforward process once you’ve found the perfect meditation cushion for your needs.
- “Meditation: A Simple, Fast Way To Reduce Stress”, Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858
- “5 Different Types Of Meditation Cushions (Stuffing, Shape & Features)”, Source: https://www.yogabaron.com/types-of-meditation-cushions
- “Complement Your Meditation Corner With A Cushion – Your Posture Will Thank You”, Source: https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/benefits-meditating-with-meditation-cushion-47751430