Meditation Cushions
PUBLISHED: Thursday, June 11, 2020

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cushions

Meditation is intended to be a stress-relieving activity, but many beginners find themselves overwhelmed by the number of different options and competing advice from seasoned practitioners. One of the first choices beginners must make is what they’ll be sitting on while they meditate—chairs, floor chairs, yoga mats, and cushions are all popular, viable options. What matters the most for mindfulness is a comfortable seat that promotes good posture.

For individuals comfortable sitting on the floor, cushions are something of a gold-standard option. They inherently promote spinal alignment and proper circulation when configured correctly, they’re highly portable, and they’re easy to store. The goal of all meditation cushions is to put the practitioner in a seated posture with a straight spine and the hips/pelvis elevated above the knees. But there are several different configurations to consider.

The traditional arrangement pairs a larger cushion (known as a zabuton) with a smaller one (known as a zafu). The zafu rests on top of the zabuton, and the practitioner rests their bottom on the zafu and their crossed legs on the zabuton. This lifts the pelvis well above the knees, almost guaranteeing that the “pins and needles” feeling some people experience when sitting cross-legged won’t occur. It also promotes a straight, vertical spine and ideal alignment of the chest and hips. FloorSeating.com sells high-quality zafus and zabutons from Carolina Morning. Both are made with sustainable, moisture- and odor-resistant kapok fiber.

Another option is to replace the traditional zafu with a “half-moon” or crescent version. These offer added support for the hips/pelvis and a bit more surface area for the bottom. They can also be oriented vertically—that is, with the “points” of the crescent toward the ceiling—to provide extra elevation. We stock Carolina Morning’s excellent Smile™ Cushion which, like the zafus and zabutons, is made with kapok fiber.

One last option for those who want a bit less lift when sitting on their zabuton is to omit the second cushion completely and fold over the back 1/3 to ¼ of the zabuton. This will be enough to get the pelvis above the knees without making practitioners with less core strength feel top-heavy. It’s also a good way for new practitioners to build that core strength and balance as they work up to a proper zafu.

At FloorSeating.com, we’re happy to help beginning and experienced practitioners find the perfect cushions. We’re available to chat online or by phone at 1-800-906-7761.