The Zabuton, known traditionally as a Japanese sitting cushion, is a wonderful support for one’s yoga and meditation practice.
For meditation, the Zabuton provides two fundamental elements for obtaining deep and satisfying meditation; comfort and stability.
Have you ever been in that situation when you’re going into meditation and your breath begins to even out, the activity of the mind is slowing down, and just as you’re sinking into that place of inner stillness and tranquillity, you begin to lose focus because there are pins and needles in your left foot, and they’re furtively creeping up into your ankle and lower leg.
Or, you are in deep, serene meditation however your body begins a slow, inexorable tilt to one side which inevitably leads to losing your balance to the point you fall over; then suddenly you need to correct your posture, thus bringing you out of meditation.
Both the above experiences are examples of how easy it is to get distracted while we are meditating. One thing I have learned from my many years of meditation practice is to eliminate as many distractions as possible. For me, comfort and stability are absolutely key to experiencing good meditation and I find for these two factors, the Zabuton is the best meditation seat I have ever meditated on. What I really like about it is the way the cushion moulds to the contours of my upper legs, knees, ankles and feet, so there is no acute pressure on any one area. This not only provides great comfort but also substantial stability, because there are no moving parts so to speak. I have meditated on just about every surface and cushion there is around and I have to say that the Zabuton is also the most luxurious compared to all of them. It’s a pleasure to meditate on; and I mean pleasure in the most literal sense.
However the Zabuton is more than just a meditation cushion. Because of its size and density, when you double it over it converts very nicely into a large bolster. You can use it for postures like pidgeon pose with bolster, or legs up the wall pose with bolster, or side stretch with bolster, and many others.
All in all, I find it to be a very versatile accessory and it complements both my yoga and meditation practice.
And, I just love the sound of the word—Zabuton, Zabuton, Zabuton.
If you are interested in meditation, next week I am going to write about some basic tips for establishing a meditation practice.
Photo: Sanjay Lavoipierre from Phoneix Yoga Studios sitting on Zabuton