Good cushion

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Good cushion

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:45 pm

I'm having the worst trouble trying to integrate seated lotus posture into my routine and I am about out of options - my back seems to generally be weak and I need all the help I can get to prevent terrible pain from developing.

Does anyone have recommendations for meditation cushions? I am using a wool-filled one right now, and I wonder if perhaps it is not helping me in the way it should. I'm willing to give one last try to the sitting posture on a new cushion, so what do you all suggest?

Thanks! Any general tips on sitting half lotus, etc. are also great.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: Good cushion

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:52 pm

Hi LY

You might want to look at changing your posture. I sit in basic cross-legged posture or burmese (legs bent at knees but not overlapping).
I use a futon-style chair cushion doubled over and a thin afghan prayer rug.
All the best,

Ben
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Re: Good cushion

Postby Monkey Mind » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:13 am

I sit on a buckwheat pillow, love it. But I added this device to tool chest for sitting retreats, and it has made all the difference as far as my back is concerned:
http://www.nadachair.com/
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Good cushion

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:32 am

If you are experiencing back pain to this degree then I think a different cushion will not make much difference, a stool probably won't help either.

Different cushions might help with your knees but I assume you're not having any issues with your knees? You are probably better off establishing a good yoga/exercise routine that emphasises strengthening your back, I think strengthening stomach muscles also has an affect on your back.
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Re: Good cushion

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:58 am

Goofaholix wrote:If you are experiencing back pain to this degree then I think a different cushion will not make much difference, a stool probably won't help either.

Different cushions might help with your knees but I assume you're not having any issues with your knees? You are probably better off establishing a good yoga/exercise routine that emphasises strengthening your back, I think strengthening stomach muscles also has an affect on your back.

I think that it would be of help, in combination with other exercises and such. Occasionally I will hit a sweet spot with my wool cushion and really sink in.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Good cushion

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:45 am

I have tried various things including phone books, cotton zafus, rolled up blankets, couch cushions etc and finally got a buckwheat zafu and absolutely love it. Really solid and firm which i think allows your leg and back muscles to relax a bit. I'll second the earlier recommend of the burmese posture as well.
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

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Re: Good cushion

Postby Bonsai Doug » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:56 pm

I've been using this kapok filled set for over a year now and love it! And (important to me) it's made in the USA:

Image

Found here: http://www.zafustore.com/zafu-and-zabuton-set-3pc/
Now having obtained a precious human body,
I do not have the luxury of remaining on a distracted path.

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Re: Good cushion

Postby daverupa » Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:24 pm

I use something like this (in my case, the edges of the seat are rounded in back):

Image

The cushion is easily removable, and the legs fold against the seat so that it can be stored easily; it even fits in a backpack.

Knees and ankles aren't put under undue stress, and if you look closely you can see that the bottoms of the legs are curved. This allows the hips to rotate to their optimum angle for back support; by maintaining tone in the lower torso (back and abdominal muscles supporting the spine) one can sit for quite a while.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Good cushion

Postby Libertus77 » Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:22 am

I have been using a firm reading pillow lying on it's back, which has worked okay. I can't find them that firm anymore and the filler in the area I sit is getting irreparably compressed, so I am actually awaiting the arrival of a Cosmic Cushion / Zabuton set. It has a built in angle to help rotate your hips forward which I know helps my lower back. I'll let you know once I get it. It would be nice if there were some stores that sold various cushions so they could be tested.

:buddha1:

Be well!

~Libertus
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