If you are learning to meditate you will need a meditation cushion. Meditation will increase your resilience, and when people ask what are meditation cushions filled with? Well, we are about to explore the question and find the answers. When I first looked at the cushions I thought that the main criteria would be being comfortable, but there is far more to meditation cushions than that. As with all things spiritual, I went to my Buddhist friends to talk about the cushions, and this is what they said, the pillows are filled with Kapok or Buckwheat.
What is the Difference Between Kapok and Buckwheat
Kapok is a type of cotton and the round or square meditation cushions are often hand made in Thailand. The square ones are 50×50 cm. made up of organic Kapok and make great support for hard chairs, many people prefer to put them on the floor during meditation.
Buckwheat is used in meditation cushions because it can be molded to support the head and neck. If you are meditating you will be extremely comfortable with the support that buckwheat gives you. Unlike Kapok buckwheat is a grain, and the hulls are used in the cushions to give the user a grounded feeling while meditating. Once you buy the stuffing and the cloth it is not hard to make your own ‘bespoke’ meditation cushion.
Why are Meditation Pillows Filled with Buckwheat Kapok
The Buckwheat hulls make a denser cushion while the kapok is lighter, but both do fit the shape of the body. The buckwheat pillow or cushion is quite enduring and should last about 10 years. In order to meditate successfully, you require comfort and stability, and a proper pillow will support your posture. Kapok is softer and is a traditional material that has been used for thousands of years. It is also mold-resistant and washable and Kapok will not give you an allergy. However, Buckwheat is slightly more supportive of the posture.
What is the Best Way to Sit on a Meditation Pillow?
If you sit on the wide side of your meditation cushion this will support your upper thighs, and let your ankles rest on the floor. This is why a high-quality meditation cushion is a must and it will help you to maintain consistency when meditating. A meditation cushion or Zafu should be quite high and give a good level of support, and you don’t want too much rotation of the hips or holding the knees in an unnatural position, as this will cause pain. Many people find kneeling a good pose for meditation, while others prefer to sit.
Do Buckwheat Hulls Attract Bugs?
After the buckwheat has been hulled and eaten, we are left with the husk. Because they are a natural material they are favored for stuffing pillows.
Microwaving is not recommended as the Buckwheat Hull cannot maintain heat, but I personally wonder if microwaving kills residual bugs?
There have been stories that they can attract dust mites, and as it is a natural product that is quite likely true.
Recommendations on cleaning the pillow are, take the filling out and to wash your pillow in the washing machine. Dry it outside and refill the pillow.
Buckwheat is very pure and is a recommended first pillow for young children (over 2 years) as it is not allergenic.
How long do Meditation Pillows Last?
A good well-made pillow should last for about 10 years. I have spoken to people who have had the same pillow for 20 years, and say that it is still okay.
When purchasing your Zafu, get a good one and maybe buy one in Kapok and one Buckwheat, because you are going to be sitting on it for a long time and you need to be totally comfortable in order to meditate.
Benefits of Meditation
Zen morning meditation has been practiced by monks for centuries, and the purpose of meditation is to stop your mind from racing and to still your thoughts. Some of the benefits are:
- To calm the mind and give clarity of thought.
- Lowers stress levels.
- Lowers Blood Pressure.
- Empty your mind.
- Can assist with pain management.
- Helps to regulate attention span.
- Trains in self-discipline.
- Assists in anger management.
- Helps with regulating cravings.
- Makes you mentally stronger.
If you are going to practice meditation, whatever the reason you will need your ergonomically designed Zafu or cushion which will be made of either Buckwheat or Kapok. The cushion will help you to sit in the right position for meditation and you will soon get used to practicing it every day.
Once you no longer need a guide, you will be able to practice every day in your own home, just find somewhere quiet and uninterrupted.