When I was first getting started with meditation, I really struggled with lower back pain.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor would cause my lower back to ache and my upper back (between my two shoulder blades) to feel tense and strained.
I felt unable to get comfortable which impacted my ability to concentrate and frustrated me.
I’d try to adjust my position or shift around during my practice. And, although this did provide some temporary relief, it wouldn’t be long before the pain and aching would set in again.
I’d end up resorting to corpse pose (lying down on my back looking up to the ceiling), as this was the only pose I found didn’t trigger aching in my lower back.
As a beginner to meditation, I started to think that maybe:
- I’m just doing meditation wrong
- My back muscles are too weak for the seated positions
- I have really bad posture
- Seated meditation just isn’t for me
It wasn’t until I started doing some research that I realised I wasn’t alone. Many other people had been experiencing the same problem.
This is when I was introduced to the concept of a Zafu Meditation Cushion.
What is a Zafu Meditation Cushion?
A Zafu meditation cushion is simply a round elevated pillow that you sit on during meditation.
They are designed to enhance comfort, spinal alignment, and provide adequate positioning for people whilst meditating.
They are usually made with heavy cloth and filled with buckwheat or Kapok (a fluffy material) This helps to ensure that they have the right amount of resistance and height to support your body during your practice.
You can get all different types of Zafu Meditation Cushions that vary in size, shape and colour.
Here are some examples of different meditation cushions below:
You can click on each of the images to read more about the particular meditation pillow.
How is it Different from a Household, Decorative or Sleeping Pillow?
You’re probably thinking – “But can’t I just use a traditional household cushion or bed pillow??”
My answer is no, not really.
Meditation cushions are different to your traditional household pillow because they are specifically designed for meditation purposes.
They are made with special material that provides the right resistance against your body weight, compared to other types of pillows that just flatten or sink beneath you.
They are designed to raise your body off the ground at the right height to promote comfort during your meditation practice.
Seriously, I have tried all the household cushions in the world, yet none of them relieved my back pain like the Zafu Meditation Cushion did.
Back in the day, I remember even trying to stack up four different cushions on top of each other for my practice.
I convinced myself that they’d flatten to the perfect height once I sat on them. This will be a GREAT idea…. I thought!
I’ll tell you now, not only did I look absolutely ridiculous, but it was a complete and utter failure.
Trust me, I’ve tried everything in the book to avoid buying a meditation pillow. But, after finally caving and buying one, I would never go back!!
I have been using mine for a few months now and it was definitely worth the buy.
How Zafu Meditation Cushions Relieve Back Pain During Meditation
During meditation, an ideal position should offer the following beneficial characteristics:
- The ability to remain stable and balanced
- Feel comfortable
- Remain upright unsupported
By raising you off the ground a few inches, the Zafu Meditation Cushion helps to tilt your pelvis forward; encouraging the natural curvature in your spine and preventing slouching or overarching.
This prompts you to naturally adopt a better posture and feel more supported. It also reduces the tension on certain parts of your back and the straining of certain muscles to keep your back upright whilst unsupported.
If you’re not very flexible or experience pain in their knees or hips when sitting in seated positions, these pillows can also provide some relief for that too.
How to use a Zafu Meditation Cushion
Using a Zafu Meditation Pillow is actually really simple.
All you really need to do is:
- Position it directly on the floor or on top of a yoga mat
- Sit on the edge of the pillow (not in the centre) to encourage your pelvis to tilt forward correctly. Otherwise, it’s no different to sitting on the floor.
- Cross your legs into your chosen meditation pose
- Take note of how your body feels and make any final adjustments
Observe how your pelvis naturally tilts forward encouraging the curvature in the spine and check that your head and neck are in alignment.
There should be a straight connecting your head to your pelvis.
Where Can You Buy a Zafu Meditation Cushion?
I’m sure you can probably find some boutique shops that sell meditation pillows. But to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered with that.
The perceived effort of trying to drive and shop around to find the right pillow wasn’t a big turn on for me. Instead, I bought mine online on Amazon.
It was such an easy and quick process. They also have a really great range that you can choose from – all different sizes, colours and prices.
This brand is very similar to the Zafu Meditation Pillow that I have and has rave reviews: FelizMax Yoga Meditation Cushion.
If you are considering buying a meditation pillow for yourself, this is a great option to start out with.
It is a reasonable price, has an OK range of colours, has rave reviews and is from a trusted supplier.
This Peace Yoga Zafu Meditation Cushion is also incredibly popular and has over 500 positive reviews!!
They also have some really beautiful designs and are a reasonable price.
This one is in a similar price range to the ZEEHUT cushion, so is worth checking out as well as they have some cool designs that are a bit funkier.
There’s no need to go and buy the most expensive pillow on the block.
Test one out first and see if you like it. Then you can decide what you’d whether you’re happy with that one or want a fancier one.
I wish you all the best with choosing a meditation cushion.