by: Arielle Parris
Meditation is simple: rest the mind. But, like most simple things, it requires a lot of work. The single most important thing in meditation (and yoga!) is practice. And when you practice, having the proper tools sets you up for success.
If you can’t sit comfortably, you probably won’t be sitting still for long. There are plenty of props that ease the hips and back while you sit.
Most meditation chairs provide a cushion to elevate the hips and release tension often experienced while sitting on the floor. They also provide a back to help even inexperienced mediators support their spine and find the right posture. Some, like the Gaiam Rattan Meditation Chair, are even designed to allow comfortable cross-legged seating.
Zafus are firm pillows that help raise the hips any time you are seated. Zafus are small and firm – made of buckwheat – and allow you to get a great alignment during your mediation practice.
Bolsters are oblong-shaped cushions, ideal for people who like more width and softer support under the hips. Sliding directly under the hips, they lift the pelvis and provide better spine alignment. Also, they can be easily used during yoga, so you can use your bolster more often.
Meditation chairs are best for people that need a little extra back support and cushioning from the hard floor. Your spine is most comfortable when erect with the lower back curved slightly in. If you find your lower back rolling backward and your hip bones stiff from sitting on the floor, a chair is a great option.
Mediation pillows are best for people of average height and flexibility. These pillows raise the hips and upper body so the legs can rest comfortably with the hips rolled forward. This places the spine in proper alignment. If you are looking to try a pillow for cross-legged sitting, try stacking up a five-inch-high pile of firm blankets. If your knees are at your hip level or higher, you won’t be comfortable, and you should try a higher bolster instead.
Made for many purposes, bolsters are ideal for people who want options. You can choose a bolster if you need support during mediation, restorative yoga, or even just relaxation. Most are filled with cotton instead of the buckwheat that the zafus are crafted with, and they offer a softer feel. Try rolling a softer blanket to see what it feels like – if you find comfort in the width and softer support, you’ll be happy with a bolster.