Zafu – Japanese meditation cushion

What is Zafu?

Your comfort level and body posture are what determine your meditation experience. You can achieve both factors with the help of the zafu meditation cushion. A zafu is also a Japanese sitting cushion which is a combination of two distinct words. In Japan “Za” means sitting and “fu” represents cushion.

Though they come in different shapes, these cushions have gathered sides. The curved edges let your legs drop off at your hip joints and prevent your thighs from pressing excessively on the cushion’s edge. The Zafu pillow allows your lower back and the spine to align with your head and neck to prevent you from injuries when meditating for a while. Since meditation involves different positions, you need a pillow that can align your body well for proper support.

This cushion measures about six inches in height increasing your stability while seated. Though they are widely used in Japan, the Zafu initially came from China. The original zafu was made using reedmace seed heads which caused it to be both fluffy and soft.

How to use it

The most common use of the zafu is meditation. You can use the zafu and zabuton together to connect with your spiritual being. People use it to maintain different meditation postures such as the Lotus position. Apart from the zafu meditation, others use it as an additional seat on the Persian carpet. You can also use zafu yoga for the session in place of a yoga mat.

Difference between zabuton and zafu

Though both of these cushions can be used in meditation, they are different. The Zafu is round and elevated to lift the pelvis away from the ground. Zabuton, on the other hand, is a flat cushion that is not elevated. It is some few inches from the floor though it is wider than a zafu.

The Zabuton comes in a square shape while the zafu is made different shapes such as round or crescent. In most cases, the zafu is taken as the meditation cushion while the zabuton is used as the cushioned mat where people place the zafu. Both of them, however, are designed to make you comfortable during meditation.

How to choose zafu?

Material

Most Zafu meditation pillows are made from the Kapok material which makes them thick and gives them a solid foundation. Kapok is form of plant fiber that dates back in history. Some are also made of the hulls material. The problem with this material is that it can make the contents of your pillow to shift around and develop contours.

Ensure that you choose a good material for your zafu that makes it soft and comfortable. To ensure that your cushion lasts for long, consider a zafu with pleats as it redistributes your weight into the spaces as you shift positions to prevent wear. An unpleated zafu cannot last long if you practice meditation a lot because the stress of holding your weight can easily separate the seams.

Shape

The traditional shape of a zafu cushion is round. Artisans are now producing squared shaped, and crescent-shaped forms. This shape is popular because it provides additional support on your upper thighs since it is streamlined. You can choose the shape that appeals to your taste.

Size

The zafu store offers Zafu yoga meditation pillows in different sizes. The different heights are suitable for specific levels. A low-leveled zafu would be ideal for a beginner to help one practice how to maintain a good position on it while meditating. You can also go for a zafu with an adjustable height to help you switch your sitting position easily.

Some are also small while others are big. If you have long legs and require more height, go for a large zafu. The standardly sized cushions are ideal for smaller frames.

Price

The cost of Japanese Zafu also differs depending on the features and quality of your cushion. For instance, the expensive types come with additional features such as the memory foam, and pleats to increase your comfort level. You can still get an economical zafu that is of high quality if you shop around before making your purchase.

Color

The color is also a significant factor when choosing the zafu because it affects your energy levels and even moods. Various colors have different meanings when it comes to meditation. For instance, colors such as red and blue lift your energy levels and can provide a soothing effect. The Japanese believe that a black Zafu can increase your concentration and give you deep focus.

Bottom line

Meditation is a powerful tool that eliminates stress. For it to be effective, you must be comfortable and focused. The zabuton and zafu ensure that your mind remains focused on the practice as you maintain the right posture to avoid injuries. Buy authentic meditation cushions from online sources and make your experience worthwhile.

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