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    Updated on Apr 10, 2020. Posted on Apr 10, 2020

    The Best Meditation Cushions To Help You Comfortably Zen Out

    TFW you’re meditating but can't concentrate? This'll help.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    Got a minute? Do yourself a favor and take one. Look, we know what you’re thinking: If one more person tells you to be more “mindful,” heads are gonna roll. But hear us out! There’s a reason why everyone talks about meditation like it’s the world’s best-kept secret. It works. Big-time. And while finding time to actually meditate can be hard, the surface you meditate on doesn’t have to be. Enter meditation cushions.

    United Plankton Pictures, Nickelodeon Animation Studio / Via giphy.com

    Now, don’t get us wrong. Meditation is a simple practice that’s all about reconnecting with the body. You can do it anywhere, and on anything. In other words: By no means do you need a meditation cushion, but having a dedicated spot for hitting the reset button can help you build a dependable routine. Plus, meditation cushions promote the support and alignment necessary to maintain a meditative state, while greatly improving awareness along the way. If you want to meditate, but feel like you’re too busy or too easily distracted, this is the answer you’ve been looking for.

    To find the best cushions, we joined the BuzzFeed New York office’s weekly meditation sessions and asked a varied set of testers to consider everything from durability, filling, and comfort to ease of cleaning. We found we didn’t need to meditate for very long to feel a positive impact, and more importantly, we learned that having a comfy seat made all the difference in staying motivated to keep up our practice. Below, our favorite meditation cushions to zen out on, at three different price points.

    Reehut Zafu Meditation Cushion

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    While the majority of lower-priced cushions are limited in shape, size, and the kinds of premium materials you’d find in more spendy models, there are still some worthwhile picks, especially if you’re just starting your practice. Among a budget field that frankly offered little to no variation between styles, the Reehut Zafu Meditation Cushion was our favorite for its firmness right out of the box.

    How you sit is a crucial part of any meditation practice, but when you’re searching for a sitting surface that must be comfortable for an extended period of time, the style of cushion becomes even more important. The traditional zafu is the most popular style on the market and comes in three common types: round, crescent, and wheel. There are a few other styles available, like low-slung rattan chairs and wooden benches, but honestly you shouldn’t consider them unless you’re a Buddhist monk.

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    Long story short: If the extent of your practice is sitting in half lotus, or simply cross-legged (like us), you’re probably looking for a zafu. In any case, an exceptional meditation cushion lends a solid foundation that provides extra height to elevate your hips and pelvis, allowing you to focus on keeping your spine elongated for proper posture.

    The Reehut zafu — a classic wheel type — was comfortable for all of our testers, but if you’re not as flexible or have ankle issues, it’s worth looking at adding a zabuton mat (see: our $$$ pick). Designed to be placed under zafus, zabutons provide extra protection for your ankles and knees, depending on your meditation posture of choice.

    The key with zafus is finding one with the appropriate height and surface area for your body. That’s where the Reehut zafu gets major points: It comes in three diameter sizes (12-inch, 13-inch, and 16-inch), offering enough surface area to comfortably support a range of tush sizes. It’s only 4.5 inches high across all three sizes, though, which may be a deal breaker for taller folks looking for something with more height to prevent knee and/or ankle discomfort.

    Filling material and ease of adjustability are additional crucial elements for selecting the right meditation cushion. The majority are filled with kapok or buckwheat hulls, and often the filling is labeled as “natural” or “organic” to appeal to consumers who care about that sort of thing. Kapok is a fluffy, cotton-like material that comes from the eponymous tree and has been used as traditional zafu filling in China for millennia. Buckwheat hulls are the outer shell of buckwheat grain and once was considered a waste product, but as meditation cushion filling, their perfect purpose has been discovered.

    We say that because all of our picks contain buckwheat hull filling, and we found that for cross-legged sitting, the support that buckwheat provided was superior to kapok. Buckwheat, by virtue of being a heavier, denser filling, is also easier to remove and refill than kapok, which is light enough to float in the air and can easily make a mess. Note that if you plan on meditating on your knees, some experts say that kapok filling is the way to go, as it has a silkier texture that provides more sensitivity.

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    The Reehut zafu isn’t necessarily luxurious to the touch, but it does have an organic cotton hemp cover that’s available in four colors (green, purple, black, and dark gray). Our testers’ favorite feature — one that elevated its status beyond others at this price point — was that the cushion’s filling was secured in a separate interior compartment from the exterior cover. This helps keep the filling fresher and more securely contained, while also making it easier to adjust the density to suit your comfort and support needs. (You can order extra buckwheat hulls to increase and/or replace your filling.)

    Other plusses: The Reehut’s cover doesn’t expose the zipper and is machine washable. That said, this cushion isn’t ideal for pet owners because it quickly collects dust and hair, and it would require a regular brush with a lint roller. If you’re pet-free, prefer a shorter cushion, and aren’t put off by a plain design, the Reehut is a great option for you — and your wallet.

    Get a 12-inch cushion from Amazon for $23 (also available in diameters of 13- and 16-inches and 4 colors).

    Brentwood Crystal Cove Meditation Pillow

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    The goal of any meditation cushion is to provide stability and comfort with the perfect surface area and filling density. But if you’re looking for a cushion that does all of the above and also amps up the aesthetics, the Brentwood Home Crystal Cove meditation cushion has got you covered.

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    When it comes to finding the best meditation cushion, John Davisi, BuzzFeed’s VP of People Ops and “Head of Mindfulness,” who’s no stranger to helping BuzzFeeders mellow out, says it’s all about support. “Don’t buy something you’re going to sink to,” he shares, adding that a proper meditation cushion will help you “maintain an active posture, where you’re comfortable, but not slouching, with your spine tall, your chest open, and your head resting nice and easy on your spine.”

    So if you’re thinking your practice can pass with a few pillows on the floor, that ain’t gonna cut it. “You don’t want to be in a position that’s going to make you feel tired, so you want a cushion that’s comfortable, but a bit more on the firmer side without being too firm that it causes pain,” Davisi says.

    And let’s be real: A cushion’s look and softness is often what’s ultimately responsible for igniting the spark that motivates us to actually use it. This stylish, egg-shaped zafu-style cushion has the softest exterior of any we tested and features an embroidered wave motif (inspired by the surf and tide pools of California’s Crystal Cove State Park, if you’re interested), as well as artful details stitched into its handle. The only downside to the cushion’s removable exterior is that it’s not machine washable, so you’ll have to settle for spot-cleaning when the need arises. The company recommends using a damp, white cloth and letting it air-dry where there’s a breeze and some sun.

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    Our taller testers appreciated that the Crystal Cove cushion has a height of 6 inches, helping to relieve the pressure they might otherwise feel on their knees and ankles with a shorter cushion. Still, the height is easily adjustable by removing some of the all-natural buckwheat hull filling, so if you love the way the cushion looks but find a shorter cushion is more comfortable for your build, you’re all good with this one.

    Like in other top meditation cushions, the filling is separated from the exterior cover by an organic cotton inner liner to make the process of refilling and replacing it as neat as can be. It measures 18 inches from side to side and 13 inches from front to back, and you can rotate it 90 degrees if you prefer a cushion with less side-to-side width.

    The Crystal Cove is also 100% vegan-certified, and while the brand acknowledges that it does produce some items made with natural animal products, it maintains strict protocols for cleaning manufacturing equipment between uses to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.

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    If you’re looking for a meditation cushion that actually looks the part, this one checks all the boxes. It (literally) doesn’t hurt that testers of all body types found it to be incredibly comfy and supportive, enough so to suit folks with tailbone troubles or sciatica pain. It’s also made in the USA, and at just 4 pounds, it’s not cumbersome to schlep around your home or to classes by its handle. We’d be remiss not to mention that Brentwood Home also makes Crystal Cove editions of a pranayama pillow and a yoga bolster pillow. If you want all three, you can even score them in a set for ~20% less than if you were to purchase them individually.

    We’d recommend this cushion to anyone who wants something that extends beyond the utilitarian and accentuates their practice of meditation, especially if they find the wave-like, embroidered exterior appealing. Meditation instructors may want to use it for classes if it suits their body types. For beginners and those with feet issues, we’d suggest using it on a rug or carpeted area (the cushier, the better) to provide more comfort to your ankles, or investing in a separate zabuton to use beneath this cushion.

    Get it from Brentwood Home for $59.

    The Walden Cushion Set

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    With both a zafu-style meditation cushion and a surfboard-style mat, the three-figure Walden Kit is worth the investment if you’re looking for a two-piece set that is meticulously engineered, thoughtfully designed, and has a head-turning, modern look.

    Let’s start with the specs that make Walden’s cushion the most balanced foundation in terms of comfort and stability. With 6 inches of height and a 14.5-inch diameter, it provides the perfect setup for most meditation practitioners. The mat, which features 1.5 inches of support and a medium-density memory foam, measures just 30 inches across and 18 inches front to back, so it has a much smaller footprint than a traditional zabuton. Using both simultaneously, you’ll get extra ankle and knee protection from the cushion’s height and the mat’s additional foot support.

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    What our testers particularly loved about the Walden kit was that the zafu cushion has a layer of gel-infused memory foam on top of a heavily weighted organic buckwheat filling (sustainably sourced from upstate New York). An interior compartment holds the buckwheat hulls in place beneath the memory foam layer, making it easy to customize the density. These extra considerations provide a comfortable yet supportive foundation to help maintain proper alignment.

    As one of our testers said, “I’d never used a meditation pillow before and didn’t realize how much I slouch when I’m just sitting without any support. I felt that the Walden heightened my awareness of my posture while also allowing me to completely focus on my meditation practice without worrying about back pain or getting sore from sitting on the ground.”

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    The kit is available in six classic colors that make it suitable for almost any space — sand, cobalt, concrete, cloud, carbon, and stone — with limited editions offered as well (you can also just buy just the cushion). Walden describes the exterior shell for both the cushion and mat as antimicrobial, water-resistant, and breathable. Plus, it’s wrapped with an elastic support band with a built-in handle for easy toting.

    Walden cofounders Eddie Cohen and Joshua Kaplan explained to us that the product’s 100% polyurethane fabric has a Greenguard and Greenguard Gold certification, so bet on zero toxic chemicals. It’s soft and smooth to the touch, making it easy to spot-clean with a damp cloth. And it’s not going to collect dust like cushions encased in cotton or similar fabrics, making this our top pick for pet owners.

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    If you’re looking for a high-end meditation cushion set made with traditional fabric and including a larger zabuton mat to support your feet, we also dug the this two-piece set from Samaya. This set earned honorable mention for being great for taller people, providing pelvic and hip elevation, and having the perfect density for supporting the longest of spines. At 6 inches tall by 14 inches in diameter, it only sacrifices a slight bit of surface area compared to the Walden cushion, while the zabuton compensates for that with 3 fluffy inches of height on a 30-by-30-inch square surface.

    One of our taller testers (6’2”) who had previous injuries to his ankle preferred the Samaya set by a minuscule margin because of the extra foot cushioning provided by its zabuton, on top of the firmness that the buckwheat and millet hulls gave the round cushion. Samaya also includes dried lavender in the filling of their zafus, adding an element of aromatherapy — at least until the scent naturally fades.

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    Both the Samaya and the Walden Kit are chic enough to be left out on display if they fit your home decor style. Just beware of leaving the Samaya out if you have any pets, as dogs and cats seem to find the flat cushion irresistible, and the slubby-weave fabric cover can accumulate hair and dust. That said, the Walden Kit gains points over the Samaya on storability, as it’s less bulky overall and its mat doesn’t need to be folded to fit into most spaces. The Walden Kit also comes out on top in terms of ease of cleaning and durability, based on the exterior materials.

    If you’ve been seeking a more enhanced meditation session and you’re a sucker for sleek products that are easy on the eyes, the Walden Kit is the perfect cushion set to boost your motivation by keeping you comfortable, aligned, and supported.

    Get a set from Walden for $195 (available in 3 colors).