Summary: Mindful Meditation aids. In the following article we give you the definitive but brief guide to all considerations when choosing a Meditation Cushion or Meditation Chair (Meditation Stool). Below you will find 12 killer things you need to be armed with before buying or making a Meditation Chair, Stool or Cushion.Things to consider:
Purpose of the cushion/chair/stool when used for Mindful Meditation
Naming of products/Styles and Varieties of cushion/chair/stool
Sourcing of product
Quality of materials
Quality of design
Standard of finish
Material Source (e.g. Softwood, Hardwood, UK, USA, Asia)
Prices – Given in US Dollars and UK Pounds.
Bonus Tips: Based on my experience: Other things to consider: Storage, Handles, Carry Bag, Zipper/Press Studs, Ease of Washing/Cleaning, aftercare etc
Purpose: Beginning a Mindful Meditation without a Meditation Cushion or Meditation Chair or Meditation Stool is okay for about 10 minutes. If you are enjoying longer meditations sitting for a long time can become uncomfortable. You can experience better meditations with the use of a meditation aid such as a stool, chair or cushion.The Meditation Cushion is used to alleviate pressure on the bum/butt/botty. It will help make for a more comfortable meditation. It helps avoid strain on the ankles and knees. It will bring about greater flexibility of postures, by bringing the heels and knees closer to the body. It gives you more support to be able to tilt the pelvis and therefore a greater chance of improved posture and a straighter spine.The Meditation Chair or Meditation Stool is used to raise the meditation subject off the ground. The stool or chair is an alternative to the Meditation Cushion. With most Meditation stools and chairs the seating area is slightly inclined which helps tilt the pelvis and helps the spine adopt a more natural position. The result of this is great for internal organs around the stomach and you will enjoy a deeper more relaxed breathing technique.Styles and Varieties of chairs/stools: Meditation Stools come in the following formats: Toadstool (i.e. one central column, also called a T-Stool). Collapse-able (i.e. the two legs collapse for ease of storage/transport). Fixed Leg (typically two fixed legs either side). Occasionally called a Seiza stool (from Kendo).Naming of products: Meditation Cushions come in the following formats: Zafu, Zabuton, Mountain Seat, Seifu, Kabu, Travel Zafu, Moon Cushion, Mountain Cushion, Support Cushion and Travel Cushion.Sizes: Meditation stools are typically about 200mm off the floor at one side and 150mm on the other (a 50mm incline). The size of the seated area is typically 550mm x 150mm. Meditation Cushions such as the Zafu are typically 350mm diameter. Typically round but my analysis shows, and as the naming suggests above wedge shapes, crescent shapes and rectangle shapes are also common. Round cushions are typically 200mm deep. Rectangular cushions are typically 200mm deep and approx 750mm x 450mm (LxW)Colours: Timber products are produced largely in natural timber finishes of Oak, Ash, Wych Elm, Bamboo. Some benches are painted and finished with Om simples or other yoga/ken-do/Buddhist (or whatever spirituality) related signage/decals. Cushions are coloured in Black, Dark, Navy, Maroon, Brown, Cinnamon, Olive, Sand, Cream and Magnolia.Fillings:
Kapok (good filling, will not collapse after many, many uses) (Source: Typically harvested from a Tree native to Mexico and America. A light, bouncy/buoyant and resilient fibre.
Buckwheat (good filling, will not collapse after many, many uses) (Source: Comes from a plant, the hulls are used as the filling in a variety of upholstered products as they are durable, a natural product).
Visco Elastic Foam (Similar to the ‘memory foam’ we see advertised everywhere these days.
Half Buckwheat/Half Kapok
Organic Quallofil – Largely synthetic product.
Sourcing of product: If you are buying a stool or chair made from Timber, you may wish to consider a product that is sourced from sustainable woodland. Material Source (e.g. Softwood, Hardwood, UK, USA, Asia) Meditation stools and chairs can be made of Ash,Wych Elm, Oak, Radiata pine. Ash is a hardwood with a nice finish, Wych Elm has a beautiful appearance. You can also find stools made of Bamboo.Quality of materials: Quality of products vary considerably. Things to look for include: Double stitching of fabrics. Hardwood is a very durable material and as such will withstand knocks, bumps and scratches. If your on the heavier side, no problem here either. Brass Ironmongery (hinges, screws) on those with moving parts, will serve you well. Quality, durable fabrics such as a heavy grade cotton is a must for longevity.Quality of design: Quality of design varies, some designs such as the Seiza will suit smaller people although you can find custom made stools and cushions from a variety of vendors on the web (try eBay).Standard of finish: Meditation Stool: Stain, Caranuba, beeswax furniture polish or Varnish can be applied to a stool, however for a more rustic look you may wish to opt for no finish (apart from sanded that is, avoid those nasty splinters). With the trend for non lead products, you may wish to consider a finish that is of non-lead oil. From my experience I’d hedge around $70 for a decent cushion and approx $90 for a decent meditation chair or meditation stool. UK prices : approx £35 for the Cushion and £45 – £50 for the stool/chair.Prices: Prices vary considerably and there is a market starting from $20 for a basic cushion, $70 – $90 for a basic stool/seat/chair. Of course you can make your own and a quick search of the web will reveal some simple drawings, plans and kits to assemble or fabricate your own. (only advisable if you have carpentry/joinery/machine shop skills). This is just my opinion and from my research.Other things to consider: Storage, Handles, Carry Bag, Zipper/Press Studs, Ease of Washing/Cleaning, adding a cushion to your meditation stool for increased comfort. With a Meditation stool look for wide opening legs that don’t fold easily when in use (ouch). If you are to be carrying or moving the stool around alot, you may wish to consider a light-weight design. Consider if you get an instruction leaflet, a care and maintenance guide or a contact number for after sales support/care (should anything go wrong). The main thing to consider…Comfort!Other uses: Meditation Stools and Meditation Cushions are not only for meditators. You’ll find that anyone who kneels a lot may get some benefit. Calligraphers, Meditators, Musicians, Clergy, Craftspeople, Martial Arts/Ken-do specialists, Nurses, Health care professionals, administration support people and Rieki practitioners.