Props in Yoga – Meditation Cushions – How to use them and why

Meditation cushions, sometimes called zafus, are half moon shaped cushions used for sitting on while meditating. They aren’t essential for a meditation practice but can be a really useful tool for getting comfortable. They’re also great for other uses in your practice. Read on to discover more

What are meditation cushions filled with?

Like bolsters this can vary depending on where you buy your meditation cushion from. Yogipod meditation cushions are filled with buckwheat which helps the sit bones nestle into them. Other fillings you may come across are kapok or a polyester hollow fibre. These won’t be as heavy but also won’t nestle to the shape of your body.

How can you use a meditation cushion?

Well the most obvious use is for meditation. Most crescent shaped meditation cushions (like the Yogipod ones) are angled slightly to help tilt the pelvis into a slightly more comfortable position for sitting cross legged. This helps the spine be a little more upright and hopefully stop the hips feeling quite as tight.

breath awareness sat on a meditation cushion

Meditation or pranayama (breathwork) – For a lit of us sitting cross legged is uncomfortable. By sitting onto a cushion we can angle the hips and the spine can remain tall and alert

seated forward fold on a meditation cushion

Tilting the hips in forward folds – Placing a meditation cushion under the hips in a forward fold again helps to tilt the hips meaning the body can fold a little more easily. Paschimottanasana is pictured but any forward fold may benefit from this. As ever in forward folds, move with the breath and listen to avoid over stretching.

Creating extra space in twists – Seated twists may also benefit from sitting up on a cushion. Again this helps to lengthen the spine, creating more space to twist from. It could also help with poses such as Half Lord of the Fishes were the bottom leg tucks as the hips are slightly raised from the floor

savasana with head resting on a meditation cushion

Savasana – Ever after a little more comfort in your savasana at the end of class? Popping a meditation cushion under the head helps to lengthen the back of the neck and supports the head

Why would you use a bolster?

Primarily to bring some extra support to the body. Although it is not as versatile as a yoga bolster, it is smaller. Also if you have a regular meditation practice or are looking to start one this really helps to sit comfortably.

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