To celebrate world meditation day, we’ve picked out our top 4 Yogamatters meditation cushions to support your practice – no matter how long you meditate for, or where your practice takes place. Meditation is a central part of any yoga practice, and truthfully, the first yoga postures weren’t intended to work on physical strength or flexibility, they were meditation postures, intended to focus the mind.
In classical yogic texts like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, we find seated postures like Virasana (hero pose), Svastikasana (auspicious pose), Siddhasana (adept’s pose), Padmasana (lotus pose), and Sukhasana (easy pose), all of which were used for meditation. Although these are specific meditation postures, it doesn’t mean you can’t meditate if your body doesn’t feel comfortable in these postures! Even in texts written long ago such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the practitioner is instructed to find whichever way of sitting is both sthira (steady) and sukha (comfortable). So, as you decide which meditation cushion is best for your practice, know that it is indeed your practice – it’s important that it’s comfortable for you! Your meditation practice is your own personal time for reflection, rest, rejuvenation and time to tune into yourself for a while. Read on and choose your favourite.
The best selling zafu cushions are now available in natural Hemp, and filled with natural buckwheat hulls. The word zafu translates as ‘za’ meaning ‘sitting’ and ‘fu’ meaning ‘reedmace’, the original material used to stuff these Japanese style cushions with. This traditional style of cushion is best suited to a cross-legged style of sitting, such as sukhasana, padmasana, or half-lotus position, and they’re small enough to store easily, even for those with limited space (although they look so beautiful that I’d personally use mine as everyday homeware too!). Many students comment that their ankles become sore when sitting for meditation, which is why the zafu meditation cushions pair perfectly with the Hemp Zabuton; a luxurious and large soft cushion providing a warm and supportive base for your practice. The zabuton cushions are also produced ethically in India with a long-term Yogamatters partner.
Yogamatters have been working hard to make existing products more sustainable and eco friendly, and now the classic style meditation cushion cover is made from 100% organic cotton, and filled with natural buckwheat hulls, making it the ethical choice for your meditation practice. For those who find it difficult to sit comfortably on the ground, this slightly higher and more supportive meditation cushion gives extra height, that can be adjusted by adding or removing the buckwheat filling. Another prop that lends itself perfectly as a home accessory, the cushions come in different colours, and are great for a range of seated positions, including Virasana or ‘hero pose’ too, which involves siting back on your heels. For those chilly early morning meditations, pair this cushion with the Yogamatters natural cotton yoga blanket, made from eco friendly cotton.
I mentioned the Zabuton earlier, as it pairs perfectly with the Yogamatters Zafu cushion, but these large, soft and warm floor cushions can also be used on their own, and are a mainstay in traditional Japanese homes. The size of the zabuton means it’s suitable for many styles of sitting, and can also be used for extra comfort when lying down for your meditation practice. Made from 100% organic cotton and filled with soft recycled recron fibrefill, the zabuton is eco-friendly and breathable – if you’re working from home, the zabuton can also be used as a soft floor cushion. If you enjoy lying down for your meditation practices or want to try a yoga nidra practice for relaxation with audio guides like Total Yoga Nidra by Nirlipta Tuli and Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, use a Yogamatters organic cotton eye pillow for a wonderfully soft, linseed-filled and lavender-scented way to relax the eyes.
The special crescent shape of these zafu meditation cushions are ideal for those who enjoy sitting in a cross-legged position, as they’re made especially for postures like siddhasana (a classic cross-legged posture), lotus or half-lotus. To give yourself extra height and support, use a cork block underneath the cushion, or if you feel your lower back is rounded whilst sitting, roll a natural cotton blanket and place it towards the back of the cushion, so your pelvis is slightly tipped forward, and the lower back is lengthened. With a useful carrying handle, the crescent meditation cushion is a great prop to bring with you to class.
Whether your meditation practice is five minutes or much longer, and whether it’s already a daily habit or an opportune moment of peace, research into the creation of healthy habits shows that when we have a specific place or object linked to a habit, we’re much more likely to do it! To create a regular habit of meditating at home, place your cushion somewhere you’ll see it and be able to easily access it regularly, so that the cushion is an invitation to maintain your personal practice.