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Zabuton Meditation Mat

It is important to be comfortable while meditating, since discomfort can draw the thoughts away from contemplation of the oneness of the world. However, the sort of comfort offered by an easy chair is not the kind that should be sought when embarking on this sort of rumination. Mindfulness and reflection are hampered by the lounging position as much as they are by pain and stiffness. The solution to these problems has traditionally been the use of meditation cushions, or zafu. These round seats offer a comfortable seat, but without the undesirable back support or height of ordinary chairs. An unsupported back allows the spine to assume its natural curvature, creating a lengthened back that permits very deep breathing. Consideration and deliberation are greatly eased by the use of a special meditation seat or cushion. However, zafu used alone can still cause knee and ankle strain. Because of this, they are often used on special zabuton meditation mats. Zabuton meditation mats are used as seating in Japanese homes, as well as in the art of meditation. They square cushions are about twenty to thirty inches on a side, usually filled with cotton or kapok. These everyday cushions are also used in Japan for eating, watching television, and other daily activities. When placed under the zafu, zabuton meditation mats provide support for the knees and ankles, preventing the pain that might otherwise occur.

Several zabuton meditation mats placed side by side can provide a pad for lying down, or for resting in other positions. Zabuton meditation mats can also serve as a simple yoga mat. A new zabuton can look very fluffy, but in time and with use, its pillowy surface will flatten to the more familiar zabuton meditation mat shape. Once the zabuton is broken in, its filling will become denser and remain about one and a half to two inches thick when not in use. A zabuton meditation mat filled with kapok or buckwheat hulls can last for a very long time. Some cushions with these fillings have been passed down for generations in India. 

Zabuton meditation mats come in many colors. Some of these cushions can be purchased with removable covers so that they can be easily cleaned when soiled. Carefully cared for, a zabuton meditation mat can last you for many years of meditation and contemplation. Comfort is important when engaging in meditative practice. A zabuton meditation mat can help to take care of the body while attempting to advance the mind and spirit.

By Louise Hughes

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