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5 Different Types of Meditation Pillows

Yoga mat and meditation pillow.

I am one of the few people who thrive in the cut-and-thrust of conflict and turmoil. But I am the exception. Most people would rather get on with their day without argument, confrontation, and stress.

Indeed, the strain of life can be overwhelming. Most people need some way to settle their nerves and bring their mind and body into balance. Meditation is one of the most common ways of doing this.

The practice has been around for centuries and is still in use today. Work, studies, family life, and difficult romances and relationships can all lead to negative mindsets. Meditation is one of the best ways to deal with such stressors.

And you can maximize the impact of your meditation by purchasing the right meditation pillow.

What is a Meditation Pillow?

Mixed colors of zafu pillow meditation.

It is the cushion that you sit on while you practice your breathing exercises, do your stretching, and attempt to calm your mind. The designs, cuts, and various shapes of meditation cushions distinguish them from other types of pillows.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Meditation Pillow

Comfort is the main thing to consider in a meditation pillow. The latter come in a range of materials that differ in firmness and malleability. Here are some of the most common stuffing materials in meditation pillows:

Buckwheat hulls

These are organic shells that provide a soft and flexible base for users. Many people who have used cushions filled with this material liken it to beanbag chairs because they conform to the shape of your body.

Kapok fibers

If you prioritize stability, then these are an ideal choice. Kapok is a naturally occurring fiber that is commonly used as a substitute for silk. The material is strong and durable.

Kapok-filled cushions hold their shape over time. Only a slight compression is visible after long-time use.


This is a lightweight alternative to kapok. Many yoga practitioners use wool-filled meditation pillows because they like its energy-insulating properties. Wool-filled pillows are also more comfortable and tend to be softer than kapok-filled pillows.

Types of Meditation Pillows

Here are the 5 main types of meditation pillows:

1. Zafu Pillow

Mixed colors of zafu pillow meditation.

Invented in China, this is the most traditional style of meditation pillow. The Zafu pillow has a round pleated design. As a practitioner, you will seat yourself on the curved edge of the cushion and let your legs fall off.

This creates a natural slope that is conducive to sitting crossed-leg. This pillow is exceptionally good if you struggle to shift your hips and knees into a natural arrangement from this position. The softened corners of the Zafu also ensure that your inner thigh will be protected against irritation.

2. Crescent Shaped

This type of pillow provides a wider base for your hips and thighs. It is ideal if you have limited mobility and chronic back or knee problems. The natural slope of the pillow will also help if you need to maintain a specific position on the cushion to ensure proper posture.

The crescent pillow offers good support for the knees and ankles.

3. Rectangular

Rectangular pillow made from fabric patterns.

These pillows are the same height as normally rounded cushions. They are also fuller and more stable. If you struggle with stiff hips and lack of mobility, then this pillow may be the one for you. However, it does not provide the same knee support as other pillows.

4. Round

Two beige round pillows.

This type of pillow tends to be filled with buckwheat hulls and is good for a range of meditation exercises.

5. Foldable

If you need a larger and more portable cushion, then you should opt for this type. Such meditation pillows can be folded flat, which makes it easy to carry. The size of some of these pillows allow them to provide back support.

Reasons to Use a Meditation Pillow

A woman meditating with pillow and candles.

Although comfort is the primary reason to use a meditation pillow, doing so has other health benefits. Here are some of them.

Improves your posture

A meditation pillow is slightly raised above the floor. This forces you to maintain a proper posture by keeping your back straight and the rest of your lower body tilted forward. Using a meditation pillow prevents you from slouching and from meditating in a position that will leave you aching after your exercises.

Alleviates stress on your body

Regardless of the position, sitting puts a great deal of stress on your lower body. Maintaining good posture while you meditate will relieve some of that stress. Two body parts in particular are affected by meditative sitting: pelvis and spine.

When you use a meditative pillow, your pelvis is lifted off the ground, which relieves the pressure on your legs, knees, and ankles. Alleviating such stress on your body, helps you lessen the strain on your mind.

Enhances your meditation routine

You should get the most out of each meditation session. You should light your favorite kind of candle and play music that soothes and relaxes you. And you should of course use the right meditation pillow.

Meditation can improve your mood, reduce your risk of depression and anxiety, and promote positive thoughts.

It is for all these reasons that you should seek to enhance your meditation routines. The more consistently you meditate, the more quickly you will be able to sink into a meditative state. But the latter can only happen if you have all the items and accessories you need to relax, clear your mind, and prepare yourself for the session.

Improves Concentration

Focus and concentration are key to good meditative practice. They require a great deal of patience and total comfort to achieve. Sitting in an upright position makes you less likely to fall asleep.

A meditation pillow will make it easier for you to sit in such a position for an extended period of time. Indeed, a meditation pillow does a great deal of the work in helping you concentrate. It does so by absorbing the weight of your body, relieving stress in your lower body, and providing comfort and support.

It also helps by positioning your spine correctly. A meditation pillow also does an excellent job of removing distractions from your session.

A Very Brief History of Meditation Pillows

The history of meditation pillows goes back to ancient China. Chinese nuns and monks used hand-woven mats made of dried grass. They carried these mats on their backs as they went from place to place.

They also used them as a kind of shield against the rain. If there was dew on the ground, the nuns and monks would place their mats before them and sit. They could sit for hours with their legs crossed and their eyes half-closed in deep meditation.

A similar mat was also used by practitioners on the Indian sub-continent, and by the original yogi in the Himalayas. Modern meditation pillows are a form of these original mats. They too provide the comfort that people who want to relax their minds need.

The latest designs cater to a wider variety of people. The aesthetics of meditation pillows have also become more important.

Meditation Pillows: Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use a meditation pillow if I am injured? You should consult with your doctor about this. It may be better for you to sit in a chair that has back support if you have injured that part of your body.

It is still possible to achieve the sense of peace and contentment you need even if you cannot use a meditation pillow for a while. Where can I purchase a meditation pillow? There are a great many brick-and-mortar shops dedicated to yoga and meditation.

You are sure to find meditation pillows in them. Most health food stores stock meditation pillows. You will also find a wide range of meditation pillows in online stores.

What is the meditation cushion made of? The fillings of meditation pillows are made of buckwheat hulls, kapok fibers, and wool. The best meditation covers are soft, silky, and durable.

They are washable, and they should be able to keep their softness and lushness for some time. Cotton is the most common type of cushion cover. Most practitioners only buy covers that are made of organic cotton.

Why do I need a meditation cushion? When you mediate, you essentially sit with your vertebrae stacked on top of each other and your pelvis tilted slightly forward. You will need to sit this way for a prolonged period of time with your legs crossed and your knees resting on the floor.

A meditation pillow helps you do all this comfortably. Will a meditation pillow help me sit with better posture? The short answer is yes.

Such pillows are ergonomically designed to help make sitting with a great posture easier. Can I wash my meditation pillow? In some cases, you will be able to machine wash your pillow.

In other instances, you will need to have it dry cleaned. Many people hand wash and line dry their pillows or put them in the washing machine on the gentle/delicate cycle with the cushion cover turned inside out. Tumble drying is not recommended, as it can cause shrinkage on certain fabrics.

Is it okay to get the meditation pillow wet? You should avoid getting the pillow wet. It can cause permanent damage.

If the filling for your pillow gets accidentally soaked, then you should remove it all and have it replaced. You should also hang the cover until it is dry. Can I change the filling?

Yes, you can remove and replace the filling in your meditation pillow. It is important to use a filling that stabilizes your body and relaxes you.