The right meditation cushion is firm and has a good height. The material should be very sturdy. Most meditation cushions are round. It all sounds simple; however, there is a lot more to it.
The secret of buckwheat
All Yogisha meditation cushions are filled with buckwheat chaff. When buckwheat is harvested, the skins that were around the seed remain. As they dry out further, they become hard as wood, but because of their semi-circular shape with occasional protrusions, they press together well under pressure to form a solid mass. The buckwheat forms to the seat and remains somewhat resilient, making this material perfect as filling for mediation cushions.
The Yogisha meditation cushions are made from a super strong, indestructible natural cotton. In the outer cover there is an inside cover of a finer cotton that prevents any dusting.
The double zipper
If you have ever been to a meditation center, you have undoubtedly encountered them: meditation cushions that have been 'passed on', become a soft bag, much too low, and sometimes flat as a pancake. The buckwheat chaff becomes more compact after a while as the pieces can break or grind down; this is a natural process. Every meditation cushion needs a little extra filling sooner or later, just as a bicycle tire sometimes needs extra air. This is often a difficult job if, as with many meditation cushions, the inner cover is sewn close. At Yogisha both covers (inside and outside cover) are provided with a zipper. Refilling is therefore a piece of cake; just open the two zippers and add more filling. There are separate refill bags with buckwheat chaff for sale at Yogisha.
Which height suits you?
The height of a meditation cushion is expressed in the width of the cylindrical band. The standard height is 13 cm and for most people this is a good size to support a cross-legged posture. Variations of 5, 9 and 17 cm are also available.
The right size is determined by your height, build, and flexibility, especially in the hip joint. As a general rule, the more flexible you are, the lower you can sit. Not sure which hight is right for you? You can try all sizes in our stores to find out which size suits you. Moreover, the bandwidth is not an absolute measure of height: by adding or refilling, you can make the meditation cushion more or less convex, and thus also vary slightly in height.
Half moon or just a circle?
Although the circle shaped cushion is traditional, there are more shapes available, with their own benefits. For example, a half moon shape gives a little more support to the thighs, more room for the feet, and it is easier for some people to stay upright due to the sloping surface. If you do not have a special preference, choose a standard pillow: the circular shape. This form has proven itself in many decades and traditions.
What is your ideal posture?
One of the biggest misconceptions about sitting meditation is that the posture determines the quality of your meditation. Many people immediately think of pictures of oriental gurus in lotus position. But meditation is not an exercise in asceticism! There are many poses possible and they are all equally good. The most common is the cross-legged or, if you are more flexible, half or full lotus. But you can also just sit on your knees with your but on the meditation cushion, and your legs on each side.
If the posture is not important, why not just meditate on the couch, you might think. Well, there is a difference between an ascetic attitude and a lazy attitude. With your posture you express something; a certain inner attitude. By sitting comfortably yet active and upright, you're supporting the meditation with your body. Moreover, it is nice to sit firmly and close to the ground. That makes it easier to ground and 'get out of your head'.
Cushions ... and more
And then there are of course the meditation chairs and benches, both standard and foldable. Some people swear by a meditation bench or chair instead of a pillow. A meditation bench is especially nice if you prefer to sit with your legs close together and your knees on the floor. The bench offers more space for the legs and helps you to tilt the pelvis forwards. Yogisha sells bamboo meditation benches in different styles and sizes. A mediation chair, like the BackJack for example, offers more support for the back.
In addition, there is a zabuton; a meditation mat from the Zen tradition to place under your meditation cushion. The zabuton protects your joints and provides good insulation, a definite necessity for coler days. For people who experience pain in their knees or need some extra support while sitting, there are support pillows available.
The Yogisha cushions are made to order in a small Dutch workshop. The buckwheat chaff is supplied by Dutch farmers. This ensures us that the items are produced in an ethical way and keeps our carbon footprint low.
Sitting, and now what?
Then you're on your pillow, and then? Sitting meditation, just as yoga, comes from a five thousand year old tradition. Sitting meditation is simple, but not easy. Therefore you might like some guidelines and support. At Yogisha you will find a large selection of meditation timers and practical books on meditation and mindfulness. You might also like to start with CDs or video's for live guidance. So you have your own meditation teacher at home.
Our meditation cushions are for sale both in our yoga stores in Amsterdam and The Hague, and in the online yoga shop.