I think it is fair to say that when it comes to sitting in a meditation for any length of time, our number one priority is to feel comfortable and supported. Ideally we would not like to experience the numbing pins and needles that can come with long periods of sitting, nor would we like our knees or lower back to start aching, not to mention the stiffening of our hips from sitting in an externally rotated position.
So how do you choose the right cushion or meditation prop? The simplest answer would be to try before you buy, but that is not always possible so here are a few points to look for when choosing your cushion or prop of choice. In this blog, I will focus on meditation cushions.
Firstly, consider your body and any areas that tend to stiffen or cause pain over extended periods of time and aim to choose a position that suits you. This could mean kneeling on a slightly slanted stool, sitting crossed legs on a high density cushion or sitting with some backrest support. Let me say at this point that there is nothing wrong with sitting in a regular chair if that is what feels best for you. However there are many of us who like to create a space for our meditation practice and this may include a meditation cushion, a meditation stool, a back jack meditation chair or even a bolster.
The purpose of all these props is to elevate your hips, allowing them to roll slightly forward and support the natural curve of your spine. Once your spine is aligned the rest of your body follows naturally reducing tension in other body parts.
Secondly, when choosing a cushion, consider the density of the cushion. The density of your cushion will go a long way in determining your comfort. If the cushion is too soft or too hard, both of these factors will affect your comfort and ability to stay in your meditation. For this reason it is a good idea to choose a cushion where the density can be adjusted by adding or taking away filling. Look for a zip on the inner cushion allowing for the adjustment of the filling, then you know there will always be a solution for your comfort.
Also consider what fabric the cushion is made from, it may look beautiful, but is it breathable? like cotton fabric for instance, and then there is the filling. What is the cushion filled with? Cotton filled cushions or buckwheat hulls offer wonderful support, breathe well and are environmentally friendly. These fillings tend to remain sturdy and supportive instead of " sinking" into the cushion.
Lastly, consider the size and height of the cushion. Generally a meditation cushion is a small item with a diameter of about 30 cm and a height of 12 to 15 cm and this will suit many people. But it is always good to know that there are size options. So if you are particulary tall or wide, perhaps consider a cushion that is higher or wider. Look for manufacturers that offer custom sizing, we are all unique so finding the right fit for you will enhance your meditation practice without a doubt.
Bliss filled meditating times ahead to you all. Om Tat Sat