Meditation Pillow: What It’s For
There is more to a meditation pillow than meets the eye. You probably think its sole purpose is to provide comfort while you are in the process of meditating. While that is partly true, that’s not the only advantage that can be derived from it.
The Importance of a Meditation Pillow
Meditation is an act that engages the mind as well as the body. You cannot get one involved without the other. Do not expect to be fully immersed in your meditation when your knees or your lower back is causing you some pain or discomfort. You may opt to pick any pillow from your bedroom, or stack a few mats to sit on – anything to provide cushioning for your body. This has been the practice of many people, to their detriment.
Monks in the past didn’t have the luxury of using a meditation pillow during their hours and hours of meditation. As a result, calluses and bruises on their buttocks, legs and knees are common. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same willpower and discipline that these monks have. Imagine trying to meditate while feeling those twinges of pain. Then you are not meditating at all, but actually silently enduring your pain. “Peace of mind” is going to be difficult to achieve when you’re wincing and cringing the whole time.
A meditation pillow is primarily designed to provide the support that your body needs when in a state of meditation. The part of your body which gets the most support is your lower back, or your spine. Eliminating any stress on your back or your spine will result to a good posture – an important factor in meditation.
A good and strong posture will ensure the smooth and unhindered movement of energy up and down your spine and all over your body. You’ll be able to breathe more freely, too.
Having the right meditation pillow will also help lengthen your meditation time. Since you are supported and are comfortable, you can definitely sit longer in meditation.
Choosing the Right Meditation Pillow
When choosing which meditation pillow is right for you, there are a number of things to consider. First, you have to take into account the most frequent meditation pose or position that you adapt. If you are suffering from any spinal or other health or medical issues, you also have to factor those in. The appearance of the meditation pillow is also important for many people, although they rank quite low in terms of priority.
This might also rank low in importance when you are shopping for a meditation pillow, but it plays a crucial role when it comes to the comfort it provides: the material used. Buckwheat is one of the most commonly used materials because of their ability to conform to the body. However, more modern practitioners think it too “hippie” or “old school”, which is why another alternative used is crushed velvet. There are some manufacturers who opt to use natural materials, using recycled plastic bottles and other recyclables as fillings for the pillows.
Once you have taken all that in consideration, it is time to go through the various types of meditation pillows and cushions available in the market. Shapes of these pillows and cushions vary; either you choose the rectangular zabuton, which are flat. If you want a puffier pillow, go for a zafu. This meditation pillow comes in the traditional round shape and is highly recommended for meditation practitioners of average height. For taller people and those who aren’t as flexible, a meditation pillow shaped like a horseshoe is often recommended.
The key here is to know exactly what you and your body needs when you are practicing meditation. In order to reach that plane where your mind and body merges into one, there is no room for pain. Help the process along by eliminating any potential sources of discomfort and using the right meditation pillow.