Meditating can be challenging, but there’s one thing you can do to make the process a little easier: Use a meditation pillow. With a cushion beneath you, you’ll focus less on your tight hips and more on relaxing your mind.
The best meditation pillows also promote proper posture, keep your legs comfortable, and longer periods of sitting possible—meaning they’re just as good for mindfulness as they are for working from home. Here’s how to pick the right pouf, plus tons of options to help you get your Om on.
What is a meditation pillow?
A meditation pillow, also known as a zafu, provides optimal support for sitting or kneeling while practicing. “Overall, they can help make the meditative experience more comfortable, which can be especially helpful for those who are just getting started,” says Jamie Fleming, founder of Black Mom’s Guide to Calm.
A meditation pillow can also help improve your posture while sitting and allow you to meditate for longer periods of time. “They help relieve pressure on your joints,” explains Fleming. “They’re also helpful if you deal with back pain or if you’re not very flexible.”
How to use a meditation cushion
There are two main places to sit cross-legged on a zafu, Fleming says. The first is at the center, keeping your knees above or on the pillow; the second is at the edge, allowing your knees to rest on or near the floor. With time, you’ll find the position that works best for you.
“To meditate, sit tall, relax your shoulders, and bring your palms to face up or down on your legs,” Fleming recommends. “Close your eyes or focus on a non-moving object. And, of course, play around with different positions to find what works best for you.” After that, do your best to clear your mind (or follow the guidance of an app).
How to choose the best meditation pillow
Zafus might look similar, but a few key differences separate them from each other.
Choose the right fill. Most meditation pillows are stuffed with buckwheat, a traditional filling that’s eco-friendly, comfortable, and durable. Best of all, you can take out or add buckwheat hulls to adjust the height and density of your cushion. It can be heavy, though, so if you’re planning on moving your zafu around or taking it to a studio, a cotton-filled option might be more your speed—just be aware that cotton tends to lose its shape more quickly than buckwheat.
Be mindful of height. The most important feature to consider in a meditation pillow is its height, since you want to feel supported throughout long periods of sitting. If you have shorter legs, choose a shorter pillow; longer legs, meanwhile, require a bit more height to cross comfortably. Fleming also recommends choosing a taller pillow if you’re not very flexible and a shorter pillow if you’re able to stretch more deeply.
Look for the ideal shape (and extras). Beyond height, shape also affects your meditation practice; crescent-shaped pillows, for example, provide more room for your legs, which can be useful for flexible meditators. Larger cushions work best for people with wider sit bones. And some meditation pillows also come with a zabuton, or a mat to place beneath the zafu, which adds an extra layer of comfort or warmth on top of the ground.
Now that you’re ready to quiet your mind, shop these top-rated meditation pillows that’ll keep you comfortable during your practice, no matter your experience level.
Best Overall Pillow
Crystal Cove Meditation Cushion
With hundreds of five-star reviews and a cult following, this buckwheat-filled cushion from Brentwood Home is ideal for most meditators. Designed by Los Angeles yoga instructor Angela Kukhahn, the pillow is dense enough to support proper posture, but soft enough for hours of sitting. The outer cover is machine-washable, too.
Best Value Pillow
Reehut Zafu Meditation Bolster
Meditation pillows and sets can run you well over $100, but this buckwheat-filled option costs less than a third of that—not that you’d notice. With three sizes and four color options, it’s also quite versatile. “It’s filled just the right amount and my spine gets so aligned,” one Amazon reviewer says. “I’d even bring it on a plane.”
Best Large Pillow
Florensi Meditation Cushion
Florensi’s buckwheat-filled option is 16 inches in diameter, meaning it’ll fit sit bones of any size. It’s also encased in a luxe velvet cover with a carrying strap, making it convenient to tote to a class.
Best Eco-Friendly Pillow
Rumi Meditation Cushion
Rumi’s cotton pillow is completely biodegradable, from the stuffing to the cover, so you don’t have to worry about the environmental impact of your meditative practice. Plus, it’s lightweight enough for travel and it can be washed just like normal clothes.
Best Crescent Pillow
Peace Yoga Meditation Pillow
Crescent pillows leave more room for your legs, allowing for a deeper stretch and more flexibility in the hips. This top-rated, buckwheat-filled option comes in five unique colors, each with an embroidered design on top.
Best Relaxing Pillow
Body Quiet Meditation Cushion with Acupressure
$32.95 (34% off)
Reviewers report that the acupressure points on this taller meditation cushion melt stress, relax muscles, and even lessen headaches—but if they’re too much for long-term use, simply flip the zafu over and sit on the other (flat) side
Best Handmade Pillow
Nicole Crowder Upholstery Meditation Pillow
If you’re looking for a truly sustainable, one-of-a-kind meditation pillow, Fleming suggests these ones from Nicole Crowder Upholstery. To make meditating more accessible, the designer has made them “pay what you wish.” We suggest a contribution of around $45.
Best Bolster Pillow
Ajna Yoga Bolster Pillow
If you’re looking for a meditation pillow that doubles as a yoga prop, this plush bolster is an ideal option. Filled with recycled foam, it’s an ideal density for meditating and restorative yoga, and it even comes with a handy carrying strap. Plus, reviewers love that it comes out of the box with zero odor.
Best Pillow Set
Bean Products Meditation Set
With both a zafu cushion and a zabuton mat, this set has everything you’ll need for both beginner and advanced meditation. “This zabuton is the perfect thickness and density to give my knees and ankles the support they need,” says one Etsy reviewer, who had previously bought two other mats. “I am so happy with this set!”
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