Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned meditator, the best meditation pillows or cushions for your posture will help you make that space more personalized and comforting for your practice. Cushions, mats, or stools are part of the cause along with those useful tips on how to meditate. You might be wondering what is the best meditation cushion. The following highlights important features and gives a list of recommended meditation cushions to buy.
Why Use a Meditation Cushion?
Cushions provide comfort for the various types of meditation that involve sitting or kneeling. They are beneficial in supporting your spine and will help prevent ‘pins and needles’ in your legs. They help you relax and feel calm – a state required for meditation.
For you, the best meditation cushions are those suited to your meditation style and posture. The following covers these for the best choice of support for you to use at home or anywhere.
What are the Best Meditation Cushions?
Tap into the reviews I’ve listed here to help you find the right type of meditation cushion for you.
1. Samadhi Zafu
Samadhi makes a best-brand name Zafu meditation pillow. Samadhi is based in Vermont and the product is made in the USA.
This Samadhi zafu has an organic removable cover, and is filled with kapok.
2. Bean Products
Bean Products Zafu cushions come in a range of color options and designs that are filled in organic buckwheat from the USA. The covers are made of eco-friendly hemp or organic cotton.
The inner filling of buckwheat can be refilled or removed for cleaning of the cover. Each has a built in handle for transport. Items are made in Chicago, USA. Combos of Zafu and Zabuton are available.
Earth Round 14″ Zafu + Zabuton Meditation Cushion Set – 100% Cotton – Organic Buckwheat Fill – Made in USA
3. StretchNow Zafu Range
The StretchNow rectangular zafu is 100% organic. It has an organic cotton twill cover and the inner filling is also organic cotton.
It is lightweight, yet the cotton filling is designed to remain firm for years to give you comfort and support when sitting.
What’s to like? The cotton cover is removable for washing (hand-washing is recommended). Has a built in cotton handle for easy carrying.
The dimensions of the rectangular zafu are 37 x 23 x 11 cm and this rectangular one is available in 6 patterned colors. You can also get a zafu crescent zafu in this range. These cotton zafus are generously filled. They are lightweight for carrying between places.
4. Friends of Meditation Chair
Looking for the best meditation cushion for back pain?
The Friends of Meditation offer a meditation chair with a combined cushioning similar to a zafu in combination with a zabuton, but with back support. This chair has been designed by registered Yoga teacher and Osho meditation facilitator.
The product dimensions are 29.1 x 23.6 x 9.8″ and it is fairly lightweight at 15.5 pounds. It is made with 4 inch 40D foam inner filling and comes with a 7-year warranty. It is fully foldable.
See how easy it is to set up this seat:
Pros: Comes with a carry bag. Ergonomic design. Back support to maintain good posture and alleviate pain. Detachable zafu and curved back support.
Cons: Cost. Backrest is not built to withstand a lounging position, so best to use appropriately. Carry case tends to be flimsy.
5. Alexia Meditation Seat
This is meditation seat is designed to give you maximum support and is extremely comfortable and sturdy. It is an ergonomically designed seat for a meditation sitting position suitable for use at the home or office (without the pins and needles).
You can choose a leather covering or a fabric cover.
It has a foam inner filling and is fairly lightweight, weighing in at approximately 15 pounds. The dimensions are 26″ x 32.5″ x 11.5″.
Pros: The comfort given by the ergonomic size. Portable. Well designed. Perfect if your hip flexors are too tight. Places you in a natural position.
Cons: Cost. Not organic or recyclable. The cover is not removable. (The recommended cleaning for the fabric cover is dry clean only and for the leather use only leather cleaning products.) Size – bit big to take travelling.
Meditation Cushions to Compare
If you are looking for a quality or organic zafu or zabuton, the following compares the types of meditation cushions and the support you can expect.
|Classic||Most common, pleated sides|
|Crescent||Support for the hips and legs|
|Wheel||Higher, less wide support|
Types of Meditation Cushions
The zafu and the zabuton are the common meditation cushions. They can be used in combo or separately. A zafu meditation floor cushion has these three main shapes: classic, crescent, and wheel, as the table below shows. The zabuton is mostly square and flat.
Zafu Meditation Pillow
A zafu is a round or a moon shaped (crescent) cushion with more height than a usual cushion (see images above). The classic or wheel shapes form a short cylinder, and all help to raise the hips into a comfortable sitting position (see below for details on postures). The zafu pillow can vary in its type of inner filling (refer below for information on the types).
Zafu is the traditional style of cushion used by the Zen Buddhists and so is sometimes called a zen cushion. Translated, Zafu means sewn seat.
Zabuton Meditation Cushion
A zabuton cushion is flatter than the zafu and is often used in the full, quarter, or half lotus postures (see below). These cushions are designed to use alone or to go underneath your zafu or meditation stool. They help to relieve any pressure on your knees, ankles, and feet when in the sitting or kneeling poses.
You can define your space and make a base for your cushion using a Japanese meditation mat or Zabuton for the floor.
Meditation Chair with Back Support
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 meditation seat is the meditation cushion with back support by Friends of Meditation.
The Right Sitting Cushion for Your Posture
People ask: How can I find the right type of meditation cushion. Should I use a zafu or a zabuton or both? Which sitting cushion is best for my posture? The following information on the different positions and the relevant cushion aims to help in answering these queries. For example: what meditation cushions zafus suit what meditation positions.
Which is the best meditation pose?
Here are the common sitting poses for meditation. You can alternate your legs if you wish.
Easy pose is simply a comfortable seated position with legs crossed in front. It is similar to the Burmese pose. In this, your knees are wide and your shins are crossed. It is not the best pose for meditating for more than a few minutes as it is not the most stable posture.
Full, Half, or Quarter Lotus Posture
In the full lotus, you sit crossed-legged with your feet resting on top of the opposite thighs. The half lotus involves only one foot resting on the opposite thigh while 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, or a zabuton is best for these postures.
This position has the legs folded (rather than crossed) with cushion adding comfort and support. Your left heel is on the inside of the right thigh, and your right heel sits slightly in front of the left foot, ankle, or calf. The sides of your knees may touch the ground and if they don’t, you can use pillows or blankets under your knees for extra support.
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. The zabuton cushion can be used for sitting in the Burmese posture. Some people might find that adding a zafu will add to their comfort with this pose.
Lifts the hips high and is more gentle on the knees. Best for those who find it hard to sit cross-legged, a kneeling position is ideal. For this, use a meditation bench or stool, or otherwise, you can straddle a zafu (meditation pillow). You can also place a meditation rug or mat (zabuton) underneath.
Feet rested firmly on the ground in alignment with your hips and knees. You can use a chair or other seating with a folded blanket or a zabuton for support. You may also use a zafu to support you.
What is the best posture for meditation? It has to be the one you resonate with, the one where you feel most comfortable and feel relaxed and find a depth of calm. You can experiment to see what works for you or which position is best for meditation based on the meditation technique you use.
What’s the Best Cushion Inner Filling?
There are seven main types of fillings in sitting pillows. Here are the details to consider when looking to buy the best meditation cushion for your purpose.
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 polyfill).
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 firm seating. Look for organic kapok.
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 go organic cotton zafu meditation cushion (no chemical use) to help the Earth.
5. Polyfill / Polyester
This is artificial fiber made from fossil fuels.
A for the mobile meditator, inflatable – filled with air.
This is artificial filling that will deteriorate with time. Foam filling is not usually recyclable and will not compost down.
WhAT Are the Best Meditation Techniques To Use?
There are several ways to meditate and my article on meditation styles covers these and their purpose. So the answer depends on what you are seeking from meditation and what props and accessories you prefer to use.
Props and accessories are used to aid relaxation and visualization during meditation sessions. Here are a few.
Music for Meditation
Some people benefit from meditating to music; others prefer no added sounds. The best meditation music is soft and relaxing that place you in a state of Alpha.
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.
Is a meditation cushion a good investment? Yes. Having the right set-up will help you feel comfortable and motivated to continue a regular practice of meditation. For this reason, you should look at investing in a good quality meditation cushion and other accessories to support your continuation of this beneficial activity for your well being. These would also make great gifts for that special person.
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
Hi, this is Mary-Anne. I have a PhD in Earth Sciences and a whole heap of other life experiences. I am a believer in wellness through wildness. This is about connecting with the nature within and the nature around to keep fit and healthy in body, mind, and spirit. I enjoy researching and writing about natural things that support our wellbeing and then sharing the benefits I discover.