Best Meditation Cushions For Bad Knees & Bad Backs

In my list of the best meditation cushions to buy, you’ll find Zafus, Zabutons, pillows and mats. These will help with bad knees and bad backs. Plus, they will improve your posture to help you meditate. 

If you’re a serious meditator, you need a good meditation seat to help you to meditate in the correct sitting posture.

The best meditation cushions offer back support that corrects your posture.

Good posture helps you to focus when meditating and reduces the risk of knee and back pain. If you’ve been experiencing discomfort when sitting, a zafu or zabuton will help both your body and mind.   

In this guide, I will help you buy a meditation cushion set that is perfect for your individual needs.  

We’ll look at:

  • Best meditation cushions and pillows for bad backs and bad knees.
  • Why you need one 
  • How to choose a meditation cushion
  • Where to buy meditation zafus online, in the USA, UK or Canada
  • Other furniture ideas
  • Why Zafu and Zabutons are essential.
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Best meditation cushions online [Zafu / Pillows] for 2021

Here are my picks of the best meditation cushions sets. 


Leewadee  

leewadee meditation cushion setGet It On Amazon

If you’re looking for the best meditation cushion for beginners, I recommend this one from Lewadee. It is a beautiful and wonderfully comfortable set. The pattern design will look lovely in any Zen room, and both the meditation Zafu and Zabuton are plush and comfortable. 

What makes this the best meditation cushion for beginners is the combination of design and comfort. It is filled with kapok, which is a sustainable plant fibre. And it is solidly built.

I find this one delightfully comfortable, which is why I consider it the best meditation cushion for beginners. There are lots of different colour choices too. My favourite is the blue one. Do bear in mind that some of them appear a little bit different in real life to how they look in the pictures.  

Overall, if you’re looking to buy a zafu and zabuton meditation cushion set, you should consider this one. 

 


Crystal Cove 

brentwood meditation pillow for saleGet It On Amazon

This is one of the best meditation pillows for bad backs. It is an amazingly comfortable buckwheat pillow that is a subtle colour so it can fit into your home decor, even in the living room.

If you’ve ever wondered why the best meditation cushions are made of buckwheat, it’s because they feel like beach sand and they produce a grounded feeling that helps you to focus when sitting. 

The one small gripe I have is that the pictures of the Crystal Cover meditation pillow on Amazon don’t look quite the same as the real thing. The patterns are different. This is a small point, and I do still like the way it looks, but I would have preferred it to look exactly like the photo.

Nevertheless, when you’re looking to buy a meditation pillow for a bad back, one that looks great and feels comfy, this is a good choice. Plus, it has a very casual look so you can even use it in the living room when you’re watching the TV! 

 


Bloom  Meditation Cushion

bloom meditation pillowGet It On Amazon

This is one of the best meditation cushions when it comes to sheer visual appeal. I mean, look at it. It is beautiful!  It has a leaf effect which adds a lovely natural aesthetic to your space. One of the sweet little touches is that you can customize it.

The Bloom meditation pillow comes in firm or soft varieties, so whatever kind of meditation floor cushion you’re looking for, you will be able to create it with the customization options! 

I will say that it is quite a small meditation cushion. And I found it a little bit too firm for my liking. But I know many people who love it. And I do like the design! That’s why it made this list. 

You might also like to consider a bench [READ: Best Meditation Benches]

Benefits of meditation cushions (for bad knees, bad back, and more)

There are lots of reasons to buy a meditation cushion (zafu).  Of course, the main reason people buy a zafu is for pure comfort while you are sitting for long sessions. And if you have posture problems and you like to meditate for extended periods, you will find that it helps with knee and back pain.

One of the worst things that can happen when you’re sitting is that you sustain an injury, especially a spinal injury. The best meditation pillows will help to make sure that you sit with proper posture, which removes strain from your knees and back, to prevent injury.  


 Bad Knees and Back

One of the most popular reasons to get a meditation pillow set is for bad knees and bad backs. A staggering amount of people have problems with their knees and backs. The key is to correct your posture.

Consider the fact that bad posture can:

  • Cause pain in the lower back and knees, as well as in the neck, shoulders, or wrists.
  • Cause digestive issues because of the constriction of your gut
  • Prevent proper breathing because your diaphragm is compressed  
  • Cause negative emotions like anxiety and depression. 
  • Cause tension headaches.
  • And ruin your focus, making your practice sessions pointless

The best meditation cushions will correct your posture, so you sit correctly, supporting not just your practice but your health too.

Plus, because they improve your posture, they also help you to meditate. Sitting correctly with good posture helps the mind to focus, meaning you go deeper into your practice. You get both physical and mental benefits from a good pillow. They are easily worth the investment.  

 

How To Pick Your Best Meditation Cushion and Mat Set

Different meditators have different needs.  Your height, weight, budget, reasons for meditating, and the space you meditate in will affect your choice of meditation cushion.

So, let’s talk about how to choose a meditation cushion for your individual needs.

Step 1: Why do you need one? 

Before you buy meditation pillows, choose what you need from one. Is it visual appeal? Is it to help to correct your posture? Is it to alleviate a specific pain you’ve been experiencing when you practice? Nailing down your reason for getting one will help you to buy a zafu that is perfect for you.

2: What type of exercises will you be doing?

When you buy a zafu or zabuton, you need to bear in mind the type of exercise that you will be doing in it and how that exercise might affect your posture. 

Zazen, for instance, requires kneeling. So, of course, you will want to get a kneeling meditation cushion with knee support if this is the type of exercise you will be doing on it. 

Other exercises are done sitting down, for which the best meditation cushion would be a large, solid one.   

And still, some exercises use Shavasana (lying down to meditate), in which case you might like a small head pillow. Decide which technique you’ll be doing before choosing a meditation cushion.

3: Any special requirements, such as knee support or back support? 

Many people have specific requirements that require specific meditation cushion sets.  For instance, if you have spinal injuries, you will want to look for the absolute best meditation cushion for back pain. This will be your number one priority so that you can sit comfortably without worrying about worsening your spine—the same thing with bad knees.

If you have an injury, it should be your top priority to get a pillow that supports the injured part of your body. Meditation cushions with back support and knee support will state so on the description page (or label).

4: If it’s for home, where will you put it? 

You can find all different kinds of meditation cushions on sale, with different aesthetics and designs, from small ones to big ones, round ones to rectangular ones. When you buy a meditation cushion, make sure it fits with the rest of the room you’re putting it in. What colour will you get? Does the pattern/design matter?  

Naturally, you want your Zen room to look beautiful, and it will probably feature other items like a Buddha statue, for instance. Therefore, it’s a clever idea to know your colour schemes before you buy a zafu or zabuton, so your overall room ends up looking beautiful.

Note that you might need a cushion of a specific height if you are putting it in a spiritual shrine or altar. 

 

5. Choose the best colour

So now you should have a fairly good idea of the best meditation cushion for you. The next consideration is what colour cushion you’d like.

The colour of your zabuton or zafu cushion should promote the state of mind that you want when you meditate.

  • Red: The warmest colour. Creates feelings of love and passion.
  • Green: Connects you with nature and produces balance and calmness.
  • Blue: The most relaxing colour. Helps you to calm.
  • Black: Black is a serious colour that produces feelings of authority. This will make you respect your meditation more and will encourage you to go deeper into meditation.
  • Orange: A positive colour that’s excellent for happiness and positivity.
  • Yellow: Produces feelings of joy.

6. Where To Buy 

There are many places where you can buy meditation cushions. Online, in local stores near you (in the UK and Canada I find many little Zen stores sell these, and yoga studios can be an excellent place to get them too). 

It is certainly easiest to buy zafus online. Amazon has a lot of good options at fantastic prices. And the ones I picked above are all very high-quality zafus. If you prefer shopping near you, however, make sure you visit a specialist store that sells products for meditators because there are differences between zafus and zabutons and the regular home style cushions.  

7. Test your posture

The average person spends a long time sitting. That’s why proper posture is vital. Your body needs proper support when you’re sitting, or you may suffer a spinal injury. If you are sitting for a long time in the wrong position, you’ll put pressure on your spine, your legs, your gluts, everything. Want to pay for a chiropractor? Didn’t think so. So make sure your posture is right. 

Proper posture means that your spine is erect with your lower back curved in (lumbar support, people). Your upper back is going to be a little bit curved, and your head and neck should feel like they are floating lightly towards the ceiling. 

You will know when you have the right position because it will feel as though your spine is holding itself up with zero effort.

You might want to test before you buy a zabuton or zafu. Here’s how: 

  1. Sit in it. 
  2. Get comfy. 
  3. Check your spine. It should have natural curves and feel comfortable.   
  4. Stay seated for 10 minutes. You should not have any discomfort. 
  5. Feels cosy? Great. It’s a keeper. Honestly, forget whether it said if it has back support. Just go with what feels best.  
  6. If you buy a meditation cushion online, obviously you will not be able to test it. You can make up for this by looking for reviews from people with similar needs.

Different types of Meditation Cushions

Different pillows are suitable for different postures:

Kneeling meditation cushions

The best meditation cushions for bad knees while kneeling are the traditional style of zafu that offer plenty of knee support. Alternative options are a Yoga Bolster, Rectangular Meditation Cushion, or Meditation Bench

If you want to buy a zafu for kneeling, make sure it offers lots of support for your upper body and reduces the pressure on your knee joints. This will help reduce the risk of injury. 

For sitting

A BackJack Chair is one of the best options for sitting positions. Backjack chairs are sturdy floor chairs usually filled with foam. For maximum support on your lower back, you might also like to use a round cushion with your backjack chair, which will help to get your spine in the right ‘S’ position.

 

For Lying Down (Shavasana).

For lying down, you will want to buy a meditation mat so that you can lie in Shavasana comfortably.  These mats offer basic support for your whole body. You can also add a yoga bolster and yoga blanket for extra support under your knees, back and neck. 

Zafu meditation cushion

These are the traditional zen cushions.  Zafus are generally round and have a pleated cushion. When you buy a zafu, make sure it lifts your body in such a way that your legs and spine are comfortable. You will generally position yourself on the edge of your zafu so that the hips roll forwards slightly. This slight movement helps to get your spine into proper alignment. Most zafus are fine for people of regular height and weight. If you are a little taller you might like to buy a zafu cushion that gives plenty of room for your legs; otherwise, you will feel cramped.

Cosmic cushion  

This is a very stylish cushion that looks like a children’s drawing of a butterfly. Cosmic Cushions feature a built-in slope that helps to make sure you sit in the proper position. Traditional zen meditation cushions are wide, which produces plenty of support for the legs when you’re sitting in full-lotus position. Overall, you should buy a zen meditation pillow if you’re going to be doing Zazen, or if you are on the tall side. 

Rectangular Meditation Cushion:

These are often the best meditation cushions for home because the shape means they take up less space.  They’re easier to put away after your sessions. You might find that with a rectangular meditation cushion set, you need to fold your legs in more, which is fine for those of us who are flexible but could be challenging for other people.

 Zabuton  

It’s best to buy a Zabuton if you need extra support for your knees or back when kneeling to meditate. They are also particularly good for the ankles (many people suffer from ankle pain when kneeling).  Overall this is one of the best meditation cushions for bad knees. Usually, Zabutons are put under one of the other types of cushions. This is why “zafu and zabuton meditation cushion sets” are so popular. They provide additional support and will help make sure that you sit in the right position.

Mat  

These are the best types of kneeling meditation cushions to buy.  And they can also make for beautiful decorative pieces. You might like to buy a yoga mat in addition to a cushion (extra support + that hallmark Zen fashion style)

meditation cushion infographic

 

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

1 comment

  1. Hi –

    Can you tell me what cushion the photo illustrating the 6 Best Meditation Mats And Meditation Cushions For 2019 cushion section page is?

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