As meditation practice grows in the world, more and more people are asking questions about everything from what meditation is to how to practice meditation to what props are needed to practice meditation. The "modern problem", to coin a phrase, is whether spending money on meditation props is necessary. Is buying a meditation cushion worth it? In order to answer this question, let's look into the most important factors to consider when buying a meditation cushion.
Do I Need a Meditation Cushion?
Probably, yes. Because of our interest in meditation, we've likely come across images of an Indian Guru meditating in a cave and sitting on nothing more than a bare rock or some kind of thatched rug. This image likely invokes different thoughts for different people. Some may think that meditating while sitting on a rock is the only way to enlightenment and, for this reason, they probably won't pursue meditation. Others may think this is pretty extreme and probably not necessary for the average human being who doesn't plan on becoming a Guru. Still others may think, "I wonder if there is some chocolate cake left over in the refrigerator." The point is that our first exposure to meditation can give us certain impressions about how to practice meditation. But what we observe about meditation the first time is mainly true for that Guru, that person, or that group of people. What we need for ourselves will probably be somewhat different.
Since we are typically modern people used to cushioned chairs and physical comforts, we will likely need some meditation cushions to support us. Another question we need to consider is whether we will commit to meditation practice. We don't question buying a table and chairs for dining because we are committed to eating meals in a somewhat formal setting. But will we commit to meditation practice? It is more rigorous than just about any other practice. Meditation practice is very much a daily commitment - even if for just 15 or 20 minutes. Buying meditation cushions can help with this commitment. Seeing a cushion in its resting place will call to us, "Come and meditate."
How Do Meditation Cushions Help?
Meditation is a practice of the mind. Since the mind resides in our physical body, the two are linked. There is nothing wrong with being physically comfortable during meditation. However, we don't want to fall asleep. The body should remain engaged during meditation. Meditation cushions can help to achieve both comfort and alertness during meditation practice. The traditional Zafu will help us to get into an alert yet comfortable upright posture. The traditional Zabuton will help to cushion our legs, knees, ankles, and feet from hard flooring. A number of new cushion designs such as the Cosmic Cushion will provide additional support especially for aging bodies and those with some back, hip, knee, or foot issues.
In general, meditation cushions provide a soft base for sitting meditation. The Zafu, Cosmic Cushion, Heavenly Buckwheat Bean, and Rectangular Meditation Cushion elevate the sit bones and upper body so that the legs can comfortably bend into a cross-legged posture. The lift from these cushions ensure that the knees are level with or somewhat lower than the hips. This causes the lower back to curve in and create an "S" shape in the spinal column. This shape allows the spinal column to easily hold the upper body upright without straining the back muscles. A meditation bench can be used to assume a kneeling posture during meditation. This is a somewhat more active posture but also helps to align the spinal column.
Can I Meditate Without a Meditation Cushion?
Though we live in a Capitalist economy and Sage Meditation is a business, we don't want you to buy a meditation cushion unnecessarily. Meditation cushions are made of fabric and various types of fill. We've designed the cushions for meditation though some people buy our Zabutons for their pets, or our Thai Massage Mats for camping or guest sleepovers. But meditation cushions are not complicated for the most part. They are fabric sacks stuffed with padding materials.
You can first begin with folded blankets, a rolled up towel, stacked up pillows, a comfortable chair, or a short wooden stool. Set up a stack of pillows on a blanket roughly folded into a square and you will have emulated one of our Zafu and Zabuton Meditation Cushion Sets. Find a quiet space to set up your stack of comfortable things and begin meditating.
The one place we always caution against is on the same bed where you will sleep at night. One of two things will happen when you meditate on your bed: you will fall asleep during meditation because this is the place where you normally sleep, or you will have trouble sleeping at night because now you've made this the place where you normally try to stay awake for meditation. So, do not meditate on your bed.
If you have skills with a needle and thread, you can Google "meditation cushion pattern" and you will find websites, videos, and even a Simplicity Pattern for making meditation cushions. Those of you who have the talent know that you can save a lot of money making things for yourself.
Why are Meditation Cushions So Expensive?
In today's modern world we've gotten used to finding all sorts of things at affordable prices. But we all know that, if we want high quality, safe items, we need to pay a little more. High-quality meditation cushions such as the ones we offer here at Sage Meditation are hand cut, sewn, and stuffed. They are not made on an assembly line. Each cushion we make is hands on and each step in the process is performed by someone with several years of experience. We watch for any problems and we don't let anything go out the door that doesn't meet our quality standards.
We are also a small company. Meditation and meditation props are still a very small market. You may find a lot of options for meditation cushions online but they are not all created equally. The best quality will come from small companies and from here in the United States. It is worth your time to do some research. When you visit a website, click on their Contact or Contact Us web page and find out whether they have a U.S. address, and make their phone number and email address available. If this information is missing or you end up on Amazon, then it's probably a seller from a foreign country with an inexpensive, poorly-made, questionably-made product.
If you plan to commit to a meditation practice and want to get good results from your daily practice, a meditation cushion or some sort of support cushion is essential. We've been making meditation cushions for more than 20 years and you can expect high-quality cushions from Sage Meditation. It is possible to make your own meditation cushions and pillows if you have the skills and equipment to make them. If cutting, sewing, and stuffing cushions is not your forté, then buying a meditation cushion is your best option. When shopping for cushions, be mindful of the materials used and where the cushion is made before making your purchase decision.
Thank you for reading,
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