Posted by Jay Suthers on June 13, 2014
The standard in Meditation Pillows for hundreds of years has generally been the Zafu Meditation Cushion. This simple, round, pleated pillow was originally stuffed with fluffy fibers from Cattail plants. Over the years other materials have been used to stuff these cushions including cotton batting, kapok, and more recently Buckwheat Hulls, which are the non-food chaff of the Buckwheat grain.
The Zafu pillow is a terric cushion for meditation. One generally sits on the forward half of the cushion and crosses the legs in front in either a loose, cross-legged posture, a half lotus with one foot or the other on the opposite thigh, or a full lotus with both both feet on the opposit thigh. The Zafu pillow raises the upper body above the level of the legs. This helps to create a more comfortable posture for sitting meditation.
Over the years, however, meditators have sought out ways of getting a little more comfortable during meditation. This is especially true if you plan to sit for more than 20 minutes - even for several hours. At some point the Zabuton pillow was created. The Zabuton Meditation Cushion is simply a large mat that goes under the Zafu and helps to cushion the legs from hard floors. And, even carpeted floors tend to be uncomfortable after some period of time.
Zabuton pillows are tyically filled with cotton batting. This is light weight, comfortable material that holds up well for many years. Some zabuton pillows are filled with Kapok, but this material is more firm and quite a bit heavier than cotton. It really doesn't make for a more comfortable cushion and actually holds up less well than cotton batting. A few companies have made Zabuton pillows with buckwheat hulls, but these end up weighing about 30 pounds and, since buckwheat hulls move easily, they oftentimes just move out to the sides and leave you with nothing but fabric between your legs and the floor.
In more recent years many new dessigns for meditation pillows have evolved. As people are living longer, they hope to continue with sitting meditation even though their bodies become less capable of sitting on the floor for meditation. These new cushion designs, such as the Cosmic Cushion Meditation Cushion, have been designed to offer more support. And, they do a great job - so much so, that meditators of all ages are enjoying these new designs.
For some, these new designs have not been quite enough support to overcome problems such as leg numbness, arthritis, and other health issues such as repaired joints, short hamstrings, and back problems. Sadly, some people may need to admit that their body just creates too much distraction for a good meditation session. They need to move up to a chair or something that is more accommodating. But, if more support will help, there are accessories such as Knee Pillows that can add more support and overcome some obstacles.
Meditation pillows typically have the option of Kapok or Buckwheat Hulls for fill. To learn more about these two types of fill and their advantages. Here are two more articles you might find interesting:
Here at Sage Meditation we offer a wide variety of cushion styles, shapes, colors, fillings, and so on. We try to accomodate every possible need and are always looking at new design ideas. Cick here to see all our Meditation Pillow products. And, Click here to see our Meditation Support products.
I hope this article has been helpful to you in understanding meditation pillows. Like any tools of the trade, meditation pillows are essential to having a successful meditation practice. Sure, you can meditate while sitting on a rock, but I don't think you even need to give it a try to know that this is best left for those who prefer to do that. For the rest of us, we prefer the comfort of a soft meditation pillow.
Thank you for reading,
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