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Thread: meditation cushions

  1. #1

    meditation cushions

    I guess I could have put this on the "uncomfortable" thread but decided to do it specifically to my concern. I am 6'4" and find most postures difficult. During my 20+ years of centering prayer, I have mostly relied on chairs. Wanting to try this Eastern tradition of sitting zazen, I am wanting to try the sitting posture on. The other comments on comfort, or lack there of it, was helpful. I was wondering what advice you might give me on cushions, what and where to buy. Thanks for any advice.
    David aka PapaDoc

  2. #2
    Hi PapaDoc,

    I'm only 5'2" so I'm not sure how useful my advice would be!

    I have a kapok zafu and zabuton, I'm very happy with them (though most of the time I only use the zabuton). The other common zafu filling I've seen is buckwheat hulls, I prefer kapok.

    I know a few people who've recommended buying online from, they have larger cushions for people 6' and up. I got mine online as well, but from a Canadian store I don't know how much extra you'd have to pay for US shipping, but I was quite pleased with the product & service.

    Also, a friend of mine builds seiza benches for himself and a local temple - I can probably get him to send me the instructions and post/PM them along if anyone's interested. (I know that seiza isn't a DSI endorsed posture though!)

  3. #3
    I made mine. Not very difficult. Lot's of info on the net.

    Here's one site: ... tions.html

    Gassho Will

  4. #4
    Hi David,

    Zen Mountain Monastery has a couple of very original Zafu, such as the "Mountain Seat" and the "Kabu." I have absolutely no experience with these, so cannot personally offer an opinion. However, they do look interesting, and you may want to call them or drop an email and see what they advise.

    Let us know.

    I may have mentioned that, since I did most of my training in Japan, there "one size fits all" of both Zafus and sitting positions. For the most part, you use the Zafu you are given. You sit like other folks are sitting. It is only in the West that someone would think to make a "better mousetrap" Zafu. I am sure someone sells one with a built in massage function, reclining with real leather covering.

    Gassho, J

  5. #5
    Yea, but, we're taller. I'm 6' tall, and I find that a well-stuffed zafu makes a big difference compared to another one I have that's rather soft. It means less back pain, and more sitting.


  6. #6
    Yeah. I'm 6'1. I use a cushion with my zafu. It works alright. No extra cushion = no knees on the ground (or definitely not comfortable). The idea is to sit comfortably for long periods with spine straight and stable. No?

    However, it needs time too. I remember when sitting burmese was unthinkable (as I type this I'm sitting in burmese and sit quarter lotus sometimes).

    BTW: If your zafu is too squishy just add some more kapok. You can buy it at upholsters I think.


  7. #7
    Member Martin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Wherever the next mediation is. Every now and then I make it back to Norfolk, England.
    Yes, like Will and PapaDoc I'm over 6 foot and my knees won't touch the ground unless I have cushions under the zafu. And like Will it took me ages to get to the point when my knees "dropped" to the ground.



  8. #8
    Thanks to everyones' encouragement and understanding. I am especially thankful to Martin for the encouragement, hoping my knees will drop one day......perhaps a sign of the end times!
    Thanks again,
    David aka Papadoc

  9. #9
    There's a hole in my zafu. It's hemorrhaging buckwheat all over the zabuton.

    "A needle & thread, a needle & thread, my kingdom for a needle and thread"

  10. #10

    Side-a-long Zafu?

    I took the introductory meditiation "course" at the local Zen center about five years ago, and they had me turn my zafu on its side. I'm 6'3", and this made a huge difference for me in making zazen more comfortable. Now that I'm getting a regular practice, I've been experimenting with various positions, configurations, etc. Having the zafu on its side is still the most comfortable for me, though that may change if my flexibility improves.

    Is there anything "wrong" with putting the zafu on its side to sit?

  11. #11
    i bought a buckwheat sleep pillow on ebay and then dumped it all into a canvas tote with handy handles. it is higher than most other zafus and i can take it anywhere without having to explain what it is.

  12. #12
    Kevin, you are a genius! I tried the zafu-on-the-side thing, and that works so much better than anything I tried before. I can now actually comfortably sit in burmese. Thank you!


  13. #13

  14. #14
    Wow, you guys make me feel tiny!
    Me too! I feel like I'm surrounded by giants...


  15. #15
    Ho ho ho! Green Giant!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by will
    I made mine. Not very difficult. Lot's of info on the net.

    Here's one site: ... tions.html

    Gassho Will
    Thanks for that info!! i made my own zafu and zabuton friday night (btw it was quite an endeavor for me since i haven't sewn any thing like that. the buttons on my clothes usually get replaced with safety pins ) Its certainly not pretty (despite my wife's careful guidance ;D) but functions well! Also 4 cats thank you, cant seem to keep them off the zabuton, now when i sit i have a cat on either side letting out the zZz :roll:


  17. #17

    I made mine 4 years ago and I still use it everyday. Did you use Kapok for the stuffing?


  18. #18
    Unfortunately, no. I used what i had on hand for the zabuton & what ever was left over from the zafu. I bought some fill from a local shop (cotton blend of some sort). I actually am not sure where to get kapok, any suggestions? *EDIT*
    I ask because i do not expect my work to last as long as yours so when i re-do id like to use that for the fill


  19. #19
    I ask because i do not expect my work to last as long as yours so when i re-do id like to use that for the fill

    You can get it at an upholsterer I believe. Take your time hehe. It took me about a day.

    Here's a quick sketch of the sewing I used. Basically it's just looping back. You loop back about half way ( or less) before you go forward. I did a double on mine I think.


  20. #20
    Oh noes! i think i cheated...ops: i broke out my wifes sewing machine for the majority of it. I sewed the top bits to the pleated bit. i went around the seems 3 times (each time ended up different LOL!) As i said it shouldnt be too long before i need to redo this monster i made and when i do i definately do it by hand so thank you for the tips! I did not seem to have the skill with the sewing i mean machine :evil:


  21. #21
    Whatever works A sewing machine might make the process quicker. Try to use cotton if you can. Unless you find a better material. Something that doesn't slip.


  22. #22
    I bought kapok in a department store (I think that's what it is called in English?). It was in the section with bedding stuff.

    You can buy it online here.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by krid
    Also 4 cats thank you, cant seem to keep them off the zabuton, now when i sit i have a cat on either side letting out the zZz :roll:

    Haha, I have the same problem. I did zazen with a cat on my lap today. She even put her front paws on top of my hands (in mudra). Stayed put, purring, until I got up.

  24. #24
    will - the material its self is not slippery at all. i didnt check what kind of material i just felt it to see if it was slippery ops: i think its a cotton blend :?:

    Thank you helena i will look into it for next time! (which should be like 2 weeks from the looks of my handy work !

    paige -HAHA! - i can just picture it! we have 4 cats and one of them is a big sook. She sits beside me or direcly infront. I do love her company but when she starts "dolphin-diving" into my face with hers i usually escort her out into the living room I actually enjoy their prescence in the room.
    as it stands i now have to keep a blanket over both cusios too keep it as hair free as possible- we have four cats and i have one alergy..guess what it is :roll:



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