(Last Updated on : 16/04/2016)
Meditation Pillows are the tools of meditation
practice. They help support the body in various meditation postures and create proper alignment and comfort. It also enhances the breathing and stimulates the relaxation response. This is attained with a seat that tilts the pelvis forward. Thus meditation pillows used keep the hips higher than the knees and maintain the natural S-shaped curvature of the spine.
The ability to meditate in any of the sitting or kneeling postures is determined largely by the flexibility of the ankles, knees and hips. In most cases some type of support is needed in order to maintain proper alignment and comfort during meditation. Meditation cushions or pillows, yoga blankets and yoga
bolsters can greatly improve the posture and comfort level during meditation.
Types of Meditation Pillow
There are many pillows available for meditation. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours and are made with many different materials. It is important to take the time to think about each of the designs and how they can best suit ones personal needs. Each person has different body-postures and own individual sitting style, according to which the meditation pillows are chosen. There are different kinds of meditation pillows, which are as follows:
Smile Cushion: These provide more surface to sit in a cross-legged posture. The smile cushions also provide more height than any other cushions.
Zafu Cushion: This is a beanbag shaped round supporting cushion used in Japanese Zen Buddhist tradition. Zafus are made from cotton and organic buckwheat hulls. The design features a hidden pleat to allow removal of the filling when the cushion needs washing. The Zafus have integral carving handle and are portable. The Zafu Meditation Cushion, the traditional round pleated cushion, raises the hips and upper body so that the legs can rest comfortably. One normally sits on the edge of the Zafu so that the thighs slope down slightly. This posture rolls the hips forward creating the natural curve in the spinal column.
Cosmic Cushion: This cushion has a fortune cookie shape and built-in slope that produces proper alignment with greater comfort. The extended sides of the cushion support the thighs, and the heel cutout allows the heels and ankles to be positioned closely to the body. The Cosmic Cushion works well for most, but is an ideal cushion for taller persons and those who are less flexible.
Meditation Bench: Meditation bench, also known as Seiza Bench provide facility while sitting in a kneeling position. A bench cushion is also available separately, which has velcros for strapping. This cushion makes the bench much more comfortable.
Support Cushion: This is placed under a Zafu or a smile cushion to attain much height. It can also be placed under knee or lap to rest the hands on. Generally larger people who need more height use it. These are also useful during sky position.
Zabuton Cushion: It is a sitting mat that provides essential cushioning for the knees, legs, ankles and feet. It also holds the cushion or bench more securely which results in a more stable and grounded posture. This cushion is placed under the Zafu or other sitting cushion. Proper alignment of the body in the sitting posture can create some additional pressure on the knees and ankles, and the Zabuton helps to cushion these pressure areas.
Tilt Seat: This type of seat provides seat for the meditation practitioners at the height of chair or at a bit higher position. This works great for a sky-posture or meditating while seated at a table, specially when one feels problem in sitting down and getting up from the floor.