Sitting cross-legged on the ground for hours may work for toddlers enamored with the latest Blippi installment, but for full-grown adults with arthritic knees, it can get very uncomfortable, very fast. The good news? Meditation cushions, which elevate the hips above the knees, can help make the practice much more comfortable and prevent it from taking a toll on the body. Plus, it’s much easier to clear your mind when you’re not worried about doing any damage to your knees, hips, or back—a win-win.
What The Experts Say
According to yoga instructor Ellie Smith, meditation cushions, which are also known as Zafus, can be an important tool for supporting a comfortable and effective practice because they support parts of the body that can get tired or sore when sitting for long periods of time.
However, when choosing one for yourself, she added that it’s important to consider your individual needs and preferences, as well as your body type: “Take the time to try out different styles and materials,” she said. “Choose a cushion that feels comfortable, supportive, and aligned with your personal values.” (Personally, before switching to blocks and blankets, Smith used a large buckwheat-filled cushion—similar to the Florensi option on our list below—because it was “large enough, fairly robust, and had a removable cover, which made it easy to clean.”)
When choosing a meditation cushion, it’s also a good idea to consider what position one prefers to meditate in. Sitting up with a straight back? Leaning against a wall? Laying down with legs up the wall? Different cushions within the list below cater to different positions better than others, so establishing which one is preferred will help narrow down the search.
The Best Meditation Cushions and Chairs: At a Glance
Frequently Asked Questions About Meditation Cushions & Chairs
How Big Should a Meditation Cushion Be?
Ideally, a meditation cushion should be large enough that you can sit comfortably on it. The good news is that many cushions have inserts or special fillings that allow you to adjust their height and solidity, making it easier to find the perfect size.
What to Look For in a Meditation Cushion
When buying a meditation cushion, Dr. Jenelle Kim, a meditation teacher and doctor of Chinese Medicine and mindfulness, recommends considering comfort, size, material and style. The level of comfort of a given cushion is informed by the size, shape, density of the filling and texture of the outside material. Some budget-friendly ones are made with cotton while other more expensive ones are made with vegan suede for a more luxurious feel. Some are filled with buckwheat for a denser, heavier cushion that can provide more support whereas others are made with foam for a softer but more resilient structure built to hold its shape for longer.
How Do You Use a Meditation Cushion?
A meditation cushion is a dense, compressed pillow built for sitting or laying on during meditation. Some are round and dense to support the sit bones as the user uses their core and back muscles to sit up straight. Other cushions are longer and can be used underneath the shoulders, hips, or knees in a reclined pose.
There are also meditation cushion sets that come with a cushion for sitting and a mat for keeping the ankles off the floor, as well as softer foam cushions that provide less support but are more comfortable for shorter sessions.
Florensi Meditation Cushion
Why It Stands Out: Yoga instructor Ellie Smith personally suggested this cushion for its large size and adjustable filling. It’s also in a pricing sweet spot where it’s not cheap but not prohibitively expensive either.
Made For: People who need patterns on everything.
The Florensi cushion is large, comfortable, and has a decorative floral pattern that can be used as a focal point if you’re meditating from another place in the room. It can also serve as a great throw pillow between uses.
Seat of Your Soul Crescent Med
Why It Stands Out: This moon-shaped cushion is comfortable, colorful, and is also budget-friendly compared to others on this list.
Made For: Lunatics. Get it?
This crescent-shaped cushion provides tailored support to the tailbone and lets the knees hang lower than other options, which can be helpful for holding a straighter upright posture. It also has an organic cotton cover with a zipper to allow for filler adjustments.
Seat of Your Soul Meditation Cushion
Why It Stands Out: This sturdy buckwheat cushion can be adjusted for size and density and has a simple circular shape.
Made For: Those who like simplicity.
This basic meditation cushion is made with buckwheat hulls for a dense, heavy supportive base that’ll bolster up a tailbone and make it easier to sit up straight. The cushion can support up to 350 pounds of body weight and the cover is tightly double-stitched for extra durability. It also has a carrying strap which makes it easy to position, as it’s heavier than others made with cotton or foam.
Ajna Yoga Bolster Pillo
Why It Stands Out: This vegan suede rectangular cushion is longer than other options which means it can be used for sitting, supporting the upper back while laying down or underneath the knees in a reclined pose.
Made For: Taller people, and those who like options.
Not everyone wants to meditate in the same position, so a good mix of pillow shapes is essential. This pillow is made using organic vegan suede and has a more rectangular design that allows for some leg support if sitting with the legs in front. The foam filling makes it lightweight, it has a handle for carrying, and the cover is removable so it’s easy to clean.
Reehut Meditation Cushion
Why It Stands Out: It comes in three different size options and has a more rigid shape than other options.
Made For: People who want a smaller, more compact meditation cushion.
This meditation cushion has more rigid edges than other options on this list for propping the user up more effectively. It’s made with buckwheat, the densest material for providing plenty of support, and it comes in three different sizes to accommodate different body types and preferences. This cushion is round and meant to be sat on, so it’s not as flexible as other options in terms of its positioning and use.
Intelligent Design Edilia Foldable Pillow
Why It Stands Out: This cushion is like if a futon went to a yoga class. It’s longer and thinner than a standard futon making it great for restorative classes and poses.
Made For: People who prefer slower, more reclined yoga poses like legs up the wall.
This isn’t so much a cushion as it is a lengthy, thinner sleeping pad made for lounging and relaxing. Its flexible shape is made for leaning against a wall and is perfect for a daily meditation practice that transitions into an hour with a book or browsing Netflix.
Degrees of Comfort Meditation Floor Pillow
Why It Stands Out: This square-shaped cushion is perfect for sitting with the feet and knees also off the floor, unlike other cushions where they’re meant to fold cross-legged in front of the cushion.
Made For: People who hate circles.
This square pillow is great for those who can take up a little more space and want support for all of their appendages during meditation. Its 22 x 22-inch size makes it easier to fidget on, because not all those who meditate are still, and it can be used indoors or outdoors. It’s also made with memory foam which is denser than most lightweight cushions but more malleable than buckwheat.
Buckwheat Zafu and Zabuton Meditation Set
Why It Stands Out: This cushion set has multiple components and allows for a lot more flexibility when it comes to positioning.
Made For: People who like a few different components they can rearrange based on their preferences.
Each of the cushions in this set are made dense and hefty with buckwheat hulls that hold their shape and act as a dependable bolster. The set comes with a smaller cushion, otherwise known as a Zafu in China, and a Zabuton, a larger square mat that cushions the ankles and knees. Both work together to comfortably position the user and come in a few different colorways.
Maya Lumbini Luxury Mediation Cushion
Why It Stands Out: This luxe meditation cushion is made with premium Kapok filling, a supportive yet breathable material that’s softer and lighter than down and perfectly compressible for pillows.
Made For: People who don’t mind spending a bit more.
This cushion is a little pricier than others on our list, but it’s substantially softer and more comfortable as a result. It uses all-natural Maya Kapok as the filling which is more breathable than buckwheat and foam.
Hugger Mugger V-Shaped Meditation Cushion
Why It Stands Out: A unique design makes it look perfectly suited for cross-legged sitting.
Made For: People who really like V For Vendetta. Verily!
This v-shaped cushion is designed to specifically support cross-legged sitting. It comes in an array of colors, is made from polyester, and has a slanted shape to offer support under the sit bones. It also has an adjustable filling to make sure everyone can find their perfect comfort level.
Meditation Cushions: Final Thoughts
Within the world of meditation cushions, the choice comes down to a denser but more supportive cushion built for bolstering up the hip and tail bones during longer meditation sessions, or a softer cushion that prioritizes comfort over longevity. The more buttressing the body receives, the longer one is able to meditate before the abs start to cave in, the shoulders fold forward, and the back rounds. When considering which meditation cushion to buy, consider the length and depth of your practice and which material feels like it caters best to that.