Zafu -Your Seat Cushion for Meditation Mindfulness Practice

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Zafu Meditation Cushion

Your set up for meditation mindfulness practice starts with a Zabuton cushion on the floor and then a Zafu or Gomden cushion on top of that. Let's talk about the differences. The zafu is a round cushion and the Gomden is rectangular. The Zafu I recommend is made of buckwheat hulls that conform to your shape. The Gomden is made of foam. It is firm but not hard. If you don't have any hip or leg issues, I would recommend the Zafu. A Zafu is used in Zen and other practices. It is a very good cushion for those who can cross their legs in Burmese style (crossed at the ankles) or Seiza style ( cushion placed vertically or horizontally) between the legs) as shown in this photo. You also can see that when crossing the legs, you should sit on the first third of the Zafu cushion (as seen in the photo). By getting your hips higher, your knees can touch the mat. That is a good position to prevent your legs from going to sleep. It also promotes a straight back. By having a straight back you can breathe well. Connecting to your breath is the start of many meditation mindfulness practices. A lot of people think that they cannot sit up straight like this because they have a bad back. The problem isn't your back, it is your core muscles that are weak. By strengthening your stomach muscles you will be able to sit up straight for longer without your back doing all the work. The purpose of mindfulness meditation practice is not for you to be in pain. In fact, the very first instruction is to get comfortable. If you cannot sit on a zafu or gomden, then let's take a look at a meditation bench or chair, which I will explain how to use in another blog post. Zafus come in many colors. I love this one by Gaim because you can make it firmer or softer by adding or removing buckwheat hulls. You can also remove the outer covering to wash it. The soft handle is also a nice touch so you can take it with you easy when going on retreat. Place your Zafu in the middle of your Zabuton in a place where you will go practice everyday. Get one in your favorite color or to match your decor or practice. 

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