Why worry about the best meditation pillow? After all, didn’t ancient monks use tattered rags stuffed with hay? Well, things have come a long way since then as we now stuff pillows with buckwheat.
Yet, the real reason why you should care at all about your pillow is because of how much time you are going to spend with it during your meditation practice.
On the surface, it may all seem like superficial nonsense, but ask yourself why you should suffer while you meditate.
And, why you shouldn’t surround yourself with pleasant things? You are going to be spending a lot of time parked on your pillow, so you may as well get a new one.
Here is a list of the best ones. The list starts simply and moves its way up to the more sophisticated pillows.
OUR TOP PICK
This Buckwheat Bolster Pillow is the sort of thing a meditation purist may buy. The fact this pillow is so primitive was mentioned in a jocular fashion in the introduction, and yet the fact that this pillow is primitive is one of its biggest selling points. If you really want to get as close to the historic origins of meditation as possible, then this pillow is a good place to start.
It is firm because the buckwheat hulls are packed together tightly, and yet it is still a little pliable. You can unzip the pillow and fiddle with the way the buckwheat sits, but it is not recommended.
The way it is packed is great for people who wish to balance on something sturdy but want to feel comfortable when they are meditating. The promoters say that this pillow is one step up from sitting on the hard floor, which sounds like a criticism, but some meditators like to keep things as simple as possible, and this pillow allows them to do just that.
It is packed with buckwheat, so if you want something authentic, then this is the way to go. In addition, some people feel that the pillow is too small.
Washing this pillow is also more time consuming. If you decide to wash it you will have to remove the innards, and then wash and dry the outer part and put the buckwheat back into the pillow.
- Buckwheat hull
- Simple round pillow
- May be too small for some
If used correctly, the Hugger Mugger V-shaped cushion allows you to bring your feet in close when you are sat in a cross-legged position. When used correctly, you can align your posture correctly, and balance your weight evenly in a manner that allows you to remain comfortable. Different pillows are going to suit different positions, and this pillow is probably best used for the Burmese position rather than something like the Siddhasana position.
It is bulky and heavy. It is not adjustable, but you can work your own shape into it as you use it. Sadly, if you move it, you have to start reshaping it again, but it is not a big problem, as it will adapt itself to you. The quality of this pillow is good, and it does allow you to sit up straight and tall.
If used correctly, it will not make your feet go numb or make your legs ache. It is also suitable for very tall people. This pillow doesn’t have an extra internal lining, but the stitching is solid, so the innards will not leak unless the pillow is abused.
This pillow is more expensive as it is handmade and hand-stuffed. As a result it’s very expensive for what is essentially a fancy cushion. To its credit, it is bigger than it appears in the images online, and it comes a little overstuffed in a way that allows you to create a groove with your rear end after extended use.
- Perfect for the Burmese posture
- Sloped from back to front
- May double as a neck pillow
- No internal lining
You are paying more money for your Zafu and Zabuton meditation set, but you are getting more for your money. This is a double set (Zafu + Zabuton) that also enables a wider range of meditation postures without discomfort.
The buckwheat husks are spread in a way that it is almost like sitting in sand in that the cushion molds itself to your body. The set weighs just over 7 pounds, which is heavier and sturdier than it looks.
Using this set will raise your pelvis in a way that makes it easier to sit on the floor. It is also firm enough so that movement on the pillow is not laborious, nor is it woefully difficult to get up again.
Some people complain that you have to fluff it up on occasion, but that is part of its charm. You can alter it ever so slightly so that you may sit in different positions without putting pressure on your buttocks, pelvis, or back. It arrives a little stiff, but after a few uses you will notice it free up a little so that you can adjust it a little more easily.
The larger pillow may appear to be a little thin. It is not a problem if your pillow is placed on a thick carpet, but if place your pillow on a hard surface, then the hardness seeps through and you feel it in your knees and in your ankle joints. It is smaller than one may expect, but that is not the problem, which is the height of the smaller pillow. The shorter you are, the more pressure there is on your joints, and this is exacerbated if you are lean/then and have a very low BMI.
- Molds to your body
- The Zafu is the pillow
- Costs less than buying separately
- The Zabuton meditation mat might look like a doggie bed to some!
This Zabuton Zafu Set is comfortable and quite durable. If you were to have a hard day and have to relax on one of the pillows in this list, then this Zafu set would be the one you choose. It is the sort of pillow that some meditation snobs may look down their nose at as being too comfortable, but you cannot argue with the way your rear and ankles feel when you are crossed legged on this pillow set.
It is easy to wash and replace the outer covering, and it can stand a fair amount of dragging around and wrestling with. If your dog got their claws on it, you can wash it and fix it up and it still works well.
The Zabuton Zafu Set feels great so long as it is not on a hard concrete or metal surface. It is not made for heavy people as it won’t provide sufficient cushioning, but it is well designed, well stitched, and does a more-than-serviceable job.
Some reviewers have criticized this set as not much than a glorified dog’s bed, but we feel this criticism is a little unfair. It is very useful for its intended purpose, and the quality is reasonable. However, its price tag is a little high for something that is not custom-made. Besides the high price, this cushion will start to flatten over time. After six months, you are going to notice definite flattening. You can fix the problem a little by running it through your dryer (not for too long) on a tumble setting. Contrary to what some think, Husk-filled products certainly do not flatten out after six months. Just make sure you use this pillow on a thick carpet if you are going to use it every day because you will feel the hard floor through it otherwise.
- Easy to clean
- Multiple color combos available
- Cotton fill
- Only one color
This set is handmade, and yet not over-priced. It is not cheap but considering the amount of sewing the needed to make the Leewadee Meditation Set, it is hardly a rip-off. The pillows are stable, and yet breathable.
They have a little give but are sturdy enough to hold you up without discomfort. It is fair to call this a premium quality pillow set, which goes to show that the quality between pillows is very real and noticeable. It’s not just about comparing one stuffed case with another.
The way it is designed means that it holds up very well. In principle, it is not that dissimilar from bean bags with honeycomb netting inside. The filling is not allowed to move too far because it is sewed in, so the pillows have some degree of flexibility, but not enough to flex too much and lose its shape.
As a result, you get a very sturdy sitting experience that is also very durable without being uncomfortable. In terms of sheer value for money, this is by far the best value. The quality level is far in excess of what its price tag suggests.
Cleaning it can be more challenging. Because of the detailed stitching, if your kid decides to smush banana into it and it has dried before you discover it, then picking the hard parts out of the stitching is a nightmare. Plus, it is not machine washable (even if customers claim it is), and if you use a wet rag to clean it down, then make sure you dry it well before using it again.
Getting it wet inside and not drying it correctly is ideal for mold to grow. Also, it is very difficult to cut off the tag because it is sewn on with the same high quality as the rest of the pillow.
- High quality
- Breathable natural materials
- Not sold as machine washable
Best Meditation Pillow Buyer’s Guide
This article is all about the best meditation pillows, which means some of them are a little overpriced, but in real terms, you need to weigh the expense versus how much use you will get out of it and how it might help deepen your meditation practice. Unless you are committed to meditation, you really shouldn’t be spending too much on your pillow.
If you meditate regularly, then you want to make sure your meditation pillow is durable. It is important to be realistic though and realize that yoga and meditation pillows wear out more quickly than say a synthetic yoga mat, so it might seem like an extravagant expense for beginners. We recommend you take the time to find the right pillow for your uses, and if you are committed to meditation, then invest good money in the right one.
One note about words like “organic” or “environmentally sourced.” Organic cotton and regular cotton are indistinguishable in a pillow, and even if your buckwheat husks are steam cleaned, it doesn’t make your pillow any better at its job.
Some pillow sellers have gone the way of cosmetics companies by adding unnecessary words, and sound-good phrases that do not affect your pillow in any way. Does it matter if your husks are triple cleaned? Maybe only if you’re allergic.
The Right Pillow for the Right Purpose
Perhaps one of the most irritating things about finding the right pillow is that you can “find” the right pillow, and yet it doesn’t come in the color you want. That is definitely a trade off with the meditation pillows because they are more traditional in design and more traditional colors that are somewhat muted (especially in comparison to the colorful yoga mats you may be using!). The Leewadee Meditation Set is a clear standout in this regard as it is the most colorful option.
The pillows on this article cover your bases from simple solitary meditation to pillows for advanced poses and positions and you will be able to find the right pillow for your meditation practice.