Whether you are starting out or are a seasoned meditator, you will want a defined space for your practice. This can include cushions, mats, or stools. Having the right set up can help you meditate for longer. And, knowing the best meditation pillows or cushions for your posture will help you make that space more personalized and comforting for your practice.
Why use a meditation cushion?
Cushions allow you to sit or kneel in meditation more comfortably. They provide support for your spine and help prevent ‘pins and needles” in your legs. They also help you relax.
Your choice regarding the best meditation cushions will depend on your chosen style and posture. The following covers the different postures and the best choice of support.
Types of meditation cushions
Zafu or meditation pillow
A Zafu cushion comes in three main shapes.
||Most common, pleated sides
||Support for the hips and legs
||Higher, less wide support
For best-brand name Zafu meditation pillow, Amazon features the Samadhi See it here.
A Zabuton cushion is flatter than the Zafu and is used in the full, quarter, or half lotus postures. They are designed for underneath your meditation stool or pillow. They help relieve pressure on your knees, ankles, and feet.
Japanese meditation mat or Zabuton for the floor
To define your space and as a base for your cushion, use a Japanese mat or Zabuton.
Click here to see reviews and the latest price on Zafu and mat set.
Meditation chair with back support
What to get for extra comfort?
Meditation chairs suit the sitting posture and are specially designed for people with back pain or limited flexibility.
They include extra support for the lower back and a curved meditation block for a cross-legged position. An example is the Relaxing Buddha Meditation and Yoga Chair by Friends of Meditation.
Click here to see reviews and latest prices of the Friends of Meditation chair.
The right sitting cushion for your posture
Zafu and Zabuton?
Which sitting cushion is best for your posture?
Full, half, or quarter lotus posture
The full lotus is where you sit crossed-legged with your feet resting on top of the opposite thighs.
The half lotus is where only one foot rests on the opposite thigh and the other leg is stretched out in front or folded underneath and rest beneath the knee or thigh.
The quarter lotus has both legs crossed but with each foot resting under the opposite thigh or knee. This is a common position that people seem to adopt naturally.
A thin cushion, a folded blanket, a yoga cushion, or a Zabuton is best for these postures.
The full lotus position
This is also known as the easy pose. People who have difficulty sitting with legs crossed may prefer the Burmese posture, where they lay their legs bent and flat on the floor in front of them.
Sitting in meditation with legs folded with cushion adding comfort and support
The Zafu meditation cushion is useful for sitting postures with legs uncrossed, as in the Burmese posture.
Kneeling (Seiza) posture
For those who find it hard to sit cross-legged, a kneeling position is ideal.
Kneeling in meditation (Seiza) – a small stool under buttocks for comfort and support
This position lifts the hips high and is more gentle on the knees.
For this, use a meditation bench or stool, or otherwise, you can straddle a zafu (meditation pillow). You can also place a meditation rug underneath.
Sitting on a seat
You can also use a chair or other seating if you need to. Make sure you are in a position where your feet rest firmly on the ground in alignment with your hips and knees. You may need to use a bolster behind you with a Zafu to support you.
Choosing the inner filling of the cushion
You should consider the inner cushion fillings when looking to buy the best meditation cushion.
There are six main types of fillings in sitting pillows described here.
1. Buckwheat hulls
Buckwheat hulls are a by-product of buckwheat grain and are considered hypoallergenic. This type of filling provides a cushion that will shape underneath you.
This natural type of filling won’t reflect your body heat as much as artificial fibers (polyester and polyfil).
2. Kapok fiber
This is another natural material taken from the seeds of the Kapok tree, which grows in the South Pacific. It is also considered hypoallergenic. The advantage of this type of filling is that it is lightweight and mold resistant. It provides a firm seating.
This is a good insulator of ‘energy’ (prana) according to many Yogis. It doesn’t compress and is comfortable. Wool will last longer than other materials used as fillings. Wool is a natural fiber and has a ‘crimping’ action that returns it to its original shape much like a spring.
This is the cheapest filling, but not the more enviro-friendly because of the water and chemical use in production. Best to choose organic cotton (no chemical use) to help the Earth.
5. Polyfill / polyester
This is artificial fiber.
Consider inflatable ones for travel.
Other props and meditation accessories
Music for meditation
Some people benefit from meditating to music; others prefer no added sounds. The best meditation music is soft and relaxing. Theta and Alpha binaural beats music is recommended.
Meditation CD music is available.
There are also mantras.
This set of studio-recorded mantras on Soundcloud by Octavio & Guest is free…enjoy!
A journal will help in developing your intuition. Record insight and thoughts following meditation and then refer back to build your trust and as a gauge to know whether you are increasing intuition.
- Meditation scenes
- Visual meditation videos
- Prayer Beads
- Crystals for meditation
- Meditation with stones
Guided meditation techniques
Many use visualization of colors on a screen of the mind. These are usually chakra colors in meditation with guided techniques.
Where to buy meditation supplies
Looking for a meditation store? Here is a list of stores that I recommend.
US & Canada
Meditationbench.com is a family owned and run business with all pillows made at their shop in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California.
Europe & UK
Australia & New Zealand