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Zafu Meditation Cushion

The Zafu – our most popular meditation sitting cushion and a basic floor sitting prop – was our first product and in many ways is the cornerstone of our designs to follow. In the Orient, the humble zafu was once everyday furniture before chairs were introduced and has survived to this day in monastaries and temples.

Why You Will Love It!

  • Grounds and energizes the meditation experience by putting you in a position that is alert and relaxed
  • Aligns your spine to increase prana or life energy or chi
  • Provides comfortable support for extended durations of time

How You Can Use It

  • Can be either used on the floor by itself or placed on a zabuton for extra cushioning
  • Take a break from the world and explore your inner landscape or just relax
  • Lightweight and easy to take with you

What It's Made Of

  • Cover Fabric: Organic Cotton Canvas or Traditional 100% Cotton
  • Stuffing Material: You choose between eco-friendly Kapok Fiber or Buckwheat Hulls
  • Optional Removable Cover available
  • Choose from 14 colors

Kapok or Buckwheat?

If you have never been aquainted with kapok fiber or buckwheat hulls, it may be hard to know which stuffing is right for you.  Both have different characteristics that appeal to different people.

Meditation cushions filled with buckwheat hulls are like firm beanbags. They are maleable, and move around a bit to conform to your shape, but offer a solid sit. Our buckwheat hulls are 2-3 sided, and each one has a slight spring or yielding quality. They also provide more height because they do not compress as much as kapok filled cushions do. With some effort, the hulls can be removed to machine wash the cover. Some people don’t like the extra weight of buckwheat (about twice as heavy as kapok) and there is a slight crunching sound when first sat on. It is a soft sound like someone walking on gravel.

Meditiation cushions stuffed with kapok fiber have the consistency of a sleeping bag stuffed into its stuff sack. Kapok is soft, silky and very fluffy when loose, but becomes firm, smooth, and solid when stuffed into a cushion. Kapok fiber is the soft seed pod fluff of the kapok tree and is harvested on plantations in Asia. Kapok fiber is naturally mold resistant and even floats (it is used to make aircraft seats and other flotation devices). Over time a kapok meditation cushion (or futon) will naturally lose some of its loft.  Some people like the cushion even better when it “settles” a bit.  But no problem–just add 1/2 pound of kapok if you want to firm it up to its original height. Placing in the sun on a nice day or in a dryer on low will also fluff it up by extracting moisture.

Which stuffing creates a “softer”, or more comfortable sit? There is no answer to this, because there is no universally accepted definition of “comfort”.  The truth is both fillings are extremely supportive and firm to sit on.  When sitting, most of the body’s weight should be supported by the sit bones.  Anything you sit on for a long period of time will eventually seem “hard”. Sitting or Standing or holding ANY POSITION too long can cause repetitive stress injuries. This technique of ‘natural sitting’ can make sitting more comfortable and possible for longer periods of time than a chair, but there are still limits. The reason for this is: the human body is designed for locomotion, not sitting. That’s why we offer so much information and instruction to help you get the most from your sitting experience. When it gets too hard, perhaps it’s time for a walking meditation, or a change of positions.

The good news is, with such a variety of options, we probably have a meditation seat just for you. And we have a great returns policy to help you fine tune your sitting environment.

Which Meditation Seat is for You?

We recommend three basic meditation positions: Burmese, Kneeling, and Sky (or Easy Pose).

1. Sukhasana (a.k.a Easy Pose) – we generally recommend using a Sky Bench™ or Tilt Seat™ for this asana that is similar to sitting in a simple cross-legged position.  While opening the hips and lengthening the spine, the posture’s relative ease on the knees makes it easier than Siddhasana or Vajrasana for people with physical difficulties or limited flexibility.

2.  Siddhasana (a.k.a. Burmese) – a traditional cross-legged position, which we usually recommend using a Zafu or Smile Cushion™.

3. Vajrasana (a.k.a Seiza or Kneeling) – we generally recommend using a Peace Bench™.

However, other positions are appropriate for some situations. The lounge position or Shavasana (laying flat) can actually be better at times when you are too tired to sit. Eco Backrest™ can be the perfect lounge chair for those times.

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What Our Customers Are Saying

I saw someone using a zafu at a retreat and I thought, Wow! This is the greatest thing anyone has invented since the wheel.

Soyun Kim (Passionist Lay Missioner)

Where did the Zafu come from?

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

Although ‘zafu’ is often translated as ‘sewn seat’ in American English, the meaning of the Japanese ‘kanji’ is different. ‘za’ means ‘seat’ and ‘fu’ means a seat stuffed with Typha (the fluffy, soft, downy fibres of the disintegrating Typha heads). The Japanese zafu originates in China, where these meditation seats were originally filled with Typha. Today, that is no longer the case in Japan or China.

An alternate translation of zafu is ‘cushion for sitting’ or ‘sitting cushion’, where ‘za’ means ‘sitting’ or ‘sit’ and ‘fu’ means ‘cushion’. The words ‘zabuton’, ‘zafuton’ and ‘futon’ are closely linked. The word ‘zazen’ meaning ‘seated meditation’ or ‘sitting meditation’ is also closely linked. In western terms, colloquially speaking, ‘zafu’ refers to a meditation cushion, and ‘zabuton’ refers to the cushioned mat on which a zafu is placed.