You could probably use any cushion laying around you home to help you get into a zen space, but the best meditation pillows are designed to better support your spine and will have the proper height and width needed to take any pressure off your hips and knees. Which shape you go with will depend on your personal preferences, but they will all be made from high-quality, natural materials. Bonus points if the filling is removable, so you can customize the level of firmness.
Kapok Vs. Buckwheat Hull Filling
When you start browsing for a meditation cushion (which are often referred to as zafus) you'll find that the type of filling material used will give you the best indication of how rigid it is— this is an important factor because the pillow should help you maintain the proper sitting posture no matter how long your session goes. Kapok, which is a cotton-like filler, will give you a somewhat fluffier surface, but it has a higher chance of flattening out after extended use. Alternatively, buckwheat hull filling — which comes from the outer shell of the grain— may feel a little more stable (sort of like sitting on sand), though some may find it makes the cushion too bulky. Still, the biggest advantage of hull-stuffed seats is that they are often come with an opening that lets you add or remove some so that you can readjust to your liking.
Meditation Pillow Shape & Size
The most traditional zafu shape is round, but for even more tripod support — especially for your hips and back— a crescent style may suit you more. And if you're cross-legged practice often takes place on a hardwood surface, you can always use a foldable cushion or put a flatter zabuton mat underneath your zafu to further cradle your legs and feet.
Finally, a zafu's comfort can come down to its size, so pay attention to its diameter before purchasing. It should be big enough to fit most of your bottom, or at the very least, feel supportive under your hip joints.
Wit that said, the best meditation cushions below give you the foundation you need to keep your mind focused and your body aligned.
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1. The Overall Best Meditation Pillow
Dimensions: 16 x 16 x 4.5
This round meditation cushion has a near perfect 4.8-star rating on Amazon because it's checks off all of the right boxes: it's elegant, comfortable, and keeps you at the ideal height for sitting in lotus position. “This is way more comfortable than I even imagined," writes on fan. "It definitely is sturdy and supportive but yet it forms to you and just feels like the perfect cradle." And that level of support will be beneficial beyond your zen practice, too— a few users report that it works just as well for sitting at their coffee tables. Unzip the removable cotton cover and you'll find an the buckwheat hulls core is protected by an inner pouch making it easy to adjust the firmness. The cover is machine-washable, has a carrying handle, and is available in six colors, each stitched with its own mandala or geometric design. .
Note: this pick is also available in a smaller 13 by 13 size.
Reviewer praise: “Love this cushion!! I bought the turquoise mandala one and it’s so beautiful. I love that it has the zippers so you can take some of the hulls out to adjust to your liking. I'm newly getting into meditation and this relieves the pressure on my legs and hips so I can fully enjoy my meditation.”
2. The Best Crescent Meditation Pillow For Back Pain
Dimensions: 17 x 10.5 x 5
The ergonomic design of this crescent meditation pillow helps keep your spine straight and eases the strain on your hips. Like with the previous pick, this one has a buckwheat hull filling that can be taken out for a more comfortable seat. The organic cotton cover can be tossed in the washing machine and comes in four colors. Bonus: there's a handy carrying strap built into the cover.
Reviewer praise: “I love this cushion! I have lower back problems, so even sitting for a short meditation is painful. The cushion is sturdy yet comfortable, and offers enough elevation and support to make the back pain go away. I would highly recommend this product!”
3. The Most Affordable Meditation Cushion
Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 4.5
Coming in at the most wallet-friendly price point, this round meditation cushion has a removable, machine-washable cover and is available in six colors. Plus, the buckwheat hull filling comes in a separate pouch, so you can easily adjust it for a softer, lower seat if needed. And while this prop is a great value, keep in mind that it's only available in one size, so it may not be ideal if you prefer a larger seat.
Reviewer praise: “Perfect! It’s sturdy and comfortable to sit on to meditate and do yoga. I also use it for stretching my lower back and abdomen. A great buy, worth every penny.”
4. The Best Zabuton And Zafu Set
Dimensions: 32 x 26 x 3 (zabuton); 13 x 13 x 4 (zafu)
If you want a little bit of extra support for your knees and ankles, this meditation set will give you everything you need. The zabuton mat is filled with 100% cotton batting, and the round zafu is filled with 100% organic buckwheat hulls that you can adjust to your preferred firmness. Plus the latter features a convenient carrying handle. You can choose from dozens of colors, with cover options in either organic cotton or hemp. Though the cover on both pieces are removable, reviewers recommend spot cleaning to ensure the quality of the fabrics remains intact.
Reviewer praise: “Takes all the discomfort out of mediation and allows me to relax and focus better. I’m a beginner and this combo cushion set is a must for anyone who battles with posture during mediation.”
5. The Most Versatile Meditation Pillow
Dimensions: 25.5 x 19.5 x 2
This collapsible meditation pillow can be folded for more back support, or unrolled if you need to prop it up under your knees during your practice. The pillow is filled with kapok, a natural fiber that comes from a tropical tree of the same name. It's handmade in Thailand and the elephant stitched onto the organic cotton cover is a neat detail that reflects its origins. The cover’s not removable, so you will want to spot clean as needed.
Reviewer praise: “It is very comfortable and it serves as both cushion and mat, and it’s contoured to support your legs very well. It is sturdy, which I like, and it doesn’t sag like other cushions. Also, I have cats that like to claw at it, and after all this time, I see no tears or holes. If you want a long lasting, comfortable cushion, I highly recommend this one.”