Sitting still for any duration of time isn’t always easy. Add in training your mind to focus on the present, and sitting for a meditation can be intimidating. It’s common to experience a wave of questions and self-critique the first time you try meditating, from “am I doing this right?” to “am I even sitting right?” But why waste your mental energy on constantly adjusting your body throughout your meditation session? By sitting properly on the right meditation cushion, you’ll create a better environment for your spine and encourage a less judgmental frame of mind.
Can sitting really impact a meditation practice?
How you sit is crucial to meditation success because if you have to force your body into a position that feels unnatural, you may spend the duration of your meditation focusing on your discomfort. But even if you’re in an optimal posture, the surface on which you’re seated can make or break your meditation experience. Just a few minutes of sitting on a hard floor is enough to feel achy and stiff. Sit on a soft pillow and you may find yourself slouching and stuck with lower back pain.
But perching yourself on a cushion that’s soft enough to cradle your body and firm enough to keep your posture and spinal alignment intact can be the distinction between a restorative meditation or an aggravating one.
When it comes to finding a cushion that creates an optimal meditation experience, here are the four things you should look for:
- Elevated Height - Adding height to your sitting position alleviates strain from your lower back. Elevation also enables you to comfortably sit in an easy cross-legged pose without having to bend your knees to an extreme degree.
- Slouch Support - A fluffy pillow looks like an inviting meditation spot, but sinking into a soft surface won’t feel seem nearly as appealing when your spine starts to curve and head falls forward from the lack of support. A cushion contoured to assist the natural curvature of your spine to discourage slouching and head drooping.
- Rocking Base – A seat with a subtle rock can adjust your pelvis forward and naturally help you sit with a straight, well-aligned posture. If you sit holding hold your pelvis inward in a curve, you naturally begin to slouch and put more pressure on your lower back - a gentle rock forward eliminates this unnecessary pressure.
- Ankle Protection - A supported seat isn’t enough to save you from discomfort during your meditation. If the floor you’re sitting on is anything but plush, your ankles and feet could be in pain within minutes of sitting. Crossing your legs atop a plush meditation ankle pad ensures your meditation won’t stop short due to foot pain.
When you begin a meditation practice, you may only be sitting for five minutes at a time, and in those five minutes, you likely won’t experience much discomfort. But as your meditation practice and increase your time on the cushion your comfort (or discomfort) level will become increasingly important.