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I am looking for first hand accounts of what might make a good sitting mat/cushion. I've been using regular bed pillows but the fabric in them has given way, offering little support aside from lumps of stuff. I looked around online, and the cushions sold are rather expensive, so I'd like some advice/input from people who have used specific cushions/equipment before I go and buy a glorified 80$ beanbag chair. Is there any one in particular that is worth the steep price tag associated with these products? What should I look for in particular? Is there anything I should look to avoid? I realize this is only tangential to the practice, but I couldn't think of anywhere else to ask such a specific question. Thank you.

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    I'm about to buy one of these Zafu's: denintelligentekrop.dk/…. – Lanka Jul 26 '15 at 20:43
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    Thailand style houseofthailand.com/Thai-Buddhist-Prayer-Mats – Robin111 Jul 26 '15 at 21:27
  • @Robin111 why are those mats 3 for 90$? comparable cotton ones ive found are around the same price for a single mat. Is kapok not as desirable ? – Ryan Jul 27 '15 at 1:06
  • @Ryan, I believe its the traditional filling in Thailand. These are made there. I have some being sent to me now. I'll let you know how they are when they arrive. :-) – Robin111 Jul 27 '15 at 1:30
  • @Robin111 Please do! – Ryan Jul 27 '15 at 1:33
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I've been meditating for a couple years or so. I understand that, for sitting meditation (Burmese posture, half-louts, whatever), one should elevate the pelvis above the knees to gain a proper pelvis/spine posture. I've tried to use pillows, blankets, inflatable cushions, etc. Nothing that I tried to improvise worked for extended sitting (e.g. sitting for more than a few minutes). I have been sitting for an hour for a few months, and am gradually increasing the time beyond one hour. I finally bit the money bullet and bought a buckwheat hull Zafu from StillSitting. That purchase was well worthy the cost!! Yes, it's heavy; but,yes, it works great!! It perfectly supports the sitting bones and elevates the pelvis!! I put a folded (folded over half, I.e. one fold) ThermaRest Z-Lite backpacking sleeping pad on the floor; atop that I place a twice-folded yoga mat; atop that I place the Zafu. All of that supports my ankles, legs, knees and Zafu. I sit in what I call a quarter lotus posture. Note that one should sit on the front third of the Zafu, not in the middle. I also cut two discs from an old ensolite foam backpacking sleep mat, sized to the the diameter of the Zafu, and put those beneath the Zafu for a bit more elevation (~3/4"). That all sounds involve; but, hey, I can sit comfortably enough to allow for extending the sit time. HAPPY SITTING 👍

  • I don't have much to add - all of this is great info. I personally use a buckwheat filled zafu vs. the kapok. It's really a matter of personal preference. I find the kapok tends to get squashed after a year or so. The buckwheat cushions tend to hold their shape better and are easily refillable. They also conform to your butt a little better. Side note - rolled up tents actually make amazing improvised cushions! :-) – user698 Jul 27 '15 at 13:51
  • @nemo - good info re the distinction(s) between kapok and buckwheat. I think the buckwheat can add to the initial cost of a zafu. – PaPa Jul 28 '15 at 0:18
  • Possibly. The ones I get run me about $40. amzn.to/1LPxgSP . I have no idea what a kapok cushion runs as I've never bought one! :-) – user698 Jul 28 '15 at 12:35
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I lay out a yoga mat (1/2 inch thick) on the floor for cushioning my ankle(s), and a woollen blanket folded into an eighth to sit on. This is perfect for my sits for 2-3 hours. Both are very firm, and don't sag under my weight. As a bonus, if I am sitting for a long time through the night, it becomes my bed to sleep on when I am ready to sleep.

For longer sits, because I have a back condition I find a wall to lean against.

It's not uncommon here in India to find Brahmin priests who sit for long hours with crossed legs on the bare earth to develop hard calluses on the sides of their soles and ankles. It's a natural protection that works better than any zafu.

See also my answer elsewhere to dealing with discomfort.

Woollen blanketsYoga mats

  • the wool blanket is BRILLIANT. now i just need to adjust the thickness properly – Ryan Jul 29 '15 at 2:04
  • Glad you got it to work. Forgot to add that, as long as the blanket weave is thick and coarse like a cheap military blanket it works fine. Softer blankets will sag. If I lean against a wall I find it easier to sit directly on the mat, without any elevation. – Buddho Jul 29 '15 at 5:33

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