Meditation is a method where you practice to focus on an object, Visual, a sound, a movement or the breath. This exercise of the mind is done to reduce stress, promote relaxation, increase awareness of the present moment, and enhances spiritual and personal growth.
Basic Purpose Of Meditation
By Meditation, you may reach a deep state of relaxation and a sense of balance or poise. People practicing meditation are found to be less anxious and depressed. It is not necessary that only people with acute medical illness or stress have to meditate, any healthy person can reap the many benefits of meditation. A healthy person, by meditating starts appreciating life, experiences joy and his/her relationship with others also improves.
The most common form of meditation is the sitting meditation, which is an upright seated position, either on a cushion on the floor, on a Meditation Mat or in a Meditation chair. The spinal cord has to be relaxed but at the same time straight. The eyes could be kept closed or if open, must gaze on an object or space. The meditator can concentrate on his /her breath or Chant or even visualize an image but the focus must be on the awareness of the center of the body, open to all sensory experiences including thoughts, or performing stylized ritual movements with the hands.
Meditation Seat - Why is a Meditation Cushion essential
Comfortable sitting depends on your spine’s ability to maintain its natural curves (see illustration). The human spine is designed to hold itself up naturally when its curves are in integrity. We need to sit high enough so that our sacrum, and therefore our pelvis, can tilt forward so that the spinal curves above can fall into place. Our body's shape can neither be called straight nor curved. It adapts to the form on which it rests, for example: if you sit on an Easy Chair, then your body becomes curved. This pose causes the misalignment of hips, shoulders, legs, and head which in turn causes distress. Products like Meditation mat, blankets, Meditation cushion or pillow, Meditation Chair improves your posture and comfort during meditation. As proper equipment or tools are necessary to ensure success in any activity, these products are essential for getting the desired outcome from a meditation session.
Universal meditation postures include the traditional full-lotus, half-lotus (cross-legged), kneeling (seiza), chair sitting, and lying(Shavasana) postures. You may use more than one pose in meditation like you can start your morning half-lotus meditation pose and end your yoga session with savasana. The ankles, knees, and hips play a significant role in the ability to meditate.In most cases, some support is necessary to maintain proper alignment and comfort during meditation.
Which Meditation Cushion is best for You?
One vital aspect that we may ignore in meditation is finding the RIGHT meditation seat. Spine requires support if one has to sit on the floor for an extended duration. Unless you are comfortable sitting in the lotus post for long hours, use of a meditation cushion is essential.
Types Of Meditation Cushions
There are various yoga postures namely: Full Lotus, Half Lotus, Burmese, On a Stool and a chair pose. Here we will not talk about these poses as it is not the intent of this article. here are enough data on the net to refer for those interested. Here we will introduce you to various types of meditation cushion available in the market.
In the Full-Lotus, Half-lotus yoga posters, very thin cushion, or use a pillow with back support.
For a Burmese yoga posture, use a Zafu Cushion or a bolster.
Zafu comes in different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Classic type — the one used in Zen temples all over the world.
Wedge Shaped Type - Gives broader support to legs and hips.
Wheel type - Gives lesser support, thus better if you need higher or tighter seat.
More than the shape, however, what matters is the height and filling.
Filling Materials for a Meditation Cushion
Buckwheat Hulls - Buckwheat stuffed cushions are the most expensive ones available in the market.The buckwheat filled cushion comes with an inner drawstring or zip that enables adjustment of the hardness of the pillow.You have the option to remove as much buckwheat and draw the string back as per your compatibility. These inner drawstrings come handy when you have to replace old stuffing with a new one.The fabric found best for a meditation cushion is cotton, as it is normal for a person to sweat during meditation.
Foam - Foam is the least favourite stuffing for Zafu meditation cushions. But this could be used by people with allergies. The main disadvantage is that if the filling is of polyester or foam, it tends to loosen after little use and you have to replace after some time.But the advantage would be for those with sensitive hip joints, hard bottom, as they are the softest stuffing in the market so far.
Kapok - Kapok originates from Thailand and Indonesia and is a soft and natural fibre that is found in a kapok tree. They are silky and floats, they are resistant to mold, and often cushions stuffed with kapok comes in round shape and are very hard.
Cotton - The Cotton filling is not very popular as it tends to lose it loses its fluffiness quickly, it is prone to mold and mildew, and isn’t very soft. However, for people who may have sensitivities to other fillers, it is probably still a good choice.
Wool - Wool doesn’t compress, is lightweight (as compared to kapok and buckwheat), durable. Wool cushions (zafus) and mats (zabutons) also tend to be very comfortable and allow more blood flow.