It’s safe to say that meditation has hit the mainstream. More than 35 million Americans had given meditation a try in 2018, according to a CDC “Use of Yoga, Meditation, and Chiropractors Among U.S. Adults Aged 18 and Over” View Source from the same year. And most of us have witnessed (if not participated in) the rise of meditation apps—the Calm app alone surpassed 100 million downloads by 2021, and Headspace isn’t far behind. One can only imagine how much that number increased with the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, as more people started to look for ways to relieve stress and practice self-care.
A meditation cushion, or zafu, may help people meditate by providing a comfortable and stable space to turn inward and focus. After hours of research, we spent two months meditating on five different cushions. We determined that the Lotuscrafts meditation cushion offered the most stability and comfort without breaking the bank, while the Brentwood Home Crystal Cove pillow is a cushy upgrade for people who aren’t as focused on firmness.
Here’s the TL;DR on how the best meditation cushions stack up:
- Lotuscrafts Meditation Cushion
- Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Meditation Cushion
- Florensi Meditation Cushion
- Reehut Zafu Meditation Cushion
- Waterglider International Zafu Cushion
Meditation Cushions We Love
Lotuscrafts Meditation Cushion
- Material: Cover and liner are GOTS-certified organic cotton
- Filling: Buckwheat hulls
- Dimensions: 12 inches x 12 inches x 6 inches
- Weight: 4 pounds
- Densely filled with buckwheat hulls
- Material attracts pet hair
- Not as cushioned as some pillows
Looking for a firm resting place? If so, you’ll love the Lotuscrafts Meditation Cushion. This was the most tightly packed and supportive pillow on this list, keeping my spine straight throughout meditation sessions. This affordably-priced, quality-built cushion is made with robust Global Organic Textile Standard “The Standard” View Source organic cotton that feels like light canvas and held up well to minimal outdoor use. The Lotuscrafts cushion is small and portable, with a thick and durable handle that also sports a cute lotus flower embellishment.
The surface area on the top of the Lotuscrafts cushion is smaller than the Brentwood or Florensi pillows. While I found myself sinking deeper into the Brentwood cushion, the Lotuscrafts pillow did a better job at keeping me upright, something that reviewers often point out. Rated 4.8 stars with nearly 6,000 global reviews on Amazon, one reviewer called it “absolutely perfect!”
“[It] places you in an ideal position with your knees below hip level, and if you happen to be a bit stiff or tight, it will reduce discomfort by allowing you to relax while keeping your spine straight,” they wrote.
The Lotuscrafts cushion is filled to capacity with buckwheat hulls. If you need to adjust the height and firmness, you can remove some of the hulls to get the perfect customized comfort level rather than having to buy more. (The thin liner bag on the inside contains the buckwheat and has a small zipper to give you access.) I prefer a little more cushion and need slightly less height, so I removed about a third of the buckwheat for storage in a large Ziploc after my first session.
The outer cover has a zipper that runs the circumference of the pillow. It’s exposed, but it’s the same color as the fabric and the handle hides the zipper pull, so it’s not noticeable. This zipper makes the cover easy to remove for washing (according to the care instructions, the cover should be air dried and not tossed in the dryer). This is helpful because the fabric picks up some pet hair and dirt, but with a quick wash, it looked good as new.
Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Meditation Cushion
- Material: Stretch knit cover (97% polyester, 3% spandex); GOTS-certified organic cotton liner
- Filling: Buckwheat hulls
- Dimensions: 18 inches x 13 inches x 6 inches
- Weight: 6.5 pounds
- Large seating area suits a variety of bodies and pose
- Beautiful fabric pattern
- Fabric isn’t as durable as some other cushions
The Brentwood Home Crystal Cove cushion is the priciest pillow on this list. But based on our tests, it’s worth every penny. Its combination of comfort and stability allows for longer mediation sessions without having to endure dreaded butt-numbness. The outer cover on this cushion is made from a soft stretch-knit fabric with a gorgeous embroidered pattern. The inner organic cotton liner also has a generous amount of filling, too, if not quite as much as the Lotuscrafts cushion. This oval-shaped pillow is the widest of the bunch, making it suitable for various sitting poses and body types.
The biggest thing I noticed about the cushion is that I didn’t notice it. The soft fabric allows you to settle in while the buckwheat hulls contour to your body’s individual shape. With other cushions, I found myself making minor adjustments during meditations, but with the Brentwood cushion, I felt supported and didn’t budge or shift around—the cushion wasn’t something I thought about, which is kind of the whole point. I was able to relax, maintain posture, and focus throughout.
The Crystal Cove cushion is a top pick from Yoga Journal, and more than 1000 Amazon reviewers have rated this cushion 4.7 stars. Many of them note how the pillow allowed them to extend their meditation sessions due to its low, wide design. “My meditation practice went from 10 minutes to an hour in two days,” wrote one reviewer. “My butt no longer hurts from sitting in this position for a long time.”
The luxe-looking quilted fabric of the Brentwood cushion makes it a gorgeous addition to any home meditation space, couch, or office chair. When guests come over, it’s the pillow I reach for as an additional floor seat. The Crystal Cove’s fabric is a little more delicate than the canvas-y cotton used in the Lotuscraft, Reehut, and Waterglider cushions, making the latter options more suitable for meditating outdoors. But they also pick up more pet hair and dirt than the Brentwood cushion, which still looks practically new after a month of use.
When the time comes to wash it, the cover is easily removable and machine washable. It’s made in the USA, has a nice sturdy handle for carrying, and a discreet zipper provides access to the inside liner bag that holds the buckwheat hulls. The liner also features a zipper, so you can adjust the amount of filling to suit your individual preferences.
What Is a Meditation Cushion?
A meditation pillow, or zafu, is a cushion designed to provide support and comfort while sitting or kneeling in a meditative pose. Meditation pillows come in all sizes and shapes, and the right one for you will depend on your body’s needs and the style of meditation you plan to practice. Round and oval are the most popular shapes, but zafus also come in half moon, V-shapes, and triangles. There are also foldable, inflatable, and cushion meditation sets. Prices range from around $20 up to $200, depending on size and choice of materials.
For this review, we chose to test round and oval-shaped meditation pillows but plan to review other shapes in the future. We also decided to stick to zafus, but if you’re someone who needs a little extra comfort underneath, consider a zabuton as well.
Are Meditation Cushions Worth It?
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health “Meditation: In Depth” View Source may help reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, among other things, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. And having a dedicated pillow may (may!) make it easier to do it.
You can choose to sit in any way when you meditate, though beginners might want to start in a chair with their feet firmly on the ground. If you choose to do it stock photo-style—that is, in a half lotus or sukhasana (cross-legged) position on the floor—a meditation cushion can help prop you up and provide the comfort needed to sustain it for an extended period of time. It does this by lifting the hips and allowing them to roll slightly forward, better supporting the lower back’s natural curve and keeping the spine straight yet supple.
Once the spine is aligned, the body can relax. This allows space to dial in on breathwork. Meditation pillows also alleviate pain in areas that feel pressure in the seated position, like knees, ankles, and the lower back. Mentally, having a dedicated cushion—just like you might have a mat you use when you practice yoga—could serve as the cue that it’s time to focus when you sit down.
Now, you don’t need a meditation pillow to start a meditation practice. Household pillows, yoga blocks, a folded yoga blanket, and chairs can work—as long as you feel comfortable and at peace, you’ll be able to meditate. But a dedicated meditation pillow is more firm and designed to allow for optimal body positioning, which may just be the motivation you need to encourage regular practice.
How We Got Here
Meet Your Guinea Pig
I’m Ebony Roberts, a journalist covering fitness, active lifestyle, and outdoor products. I’ve written in-depth reviews and buyers guides for Wirecutter, REI, Outside, Gear Patrol, Treeline Review, and now Ness. In the past five years, I’ve interviewed dozens of experts on health, fitness, and athletics. I’ve been featured on podcasts like The Consummate Athlete and have been interviewed for publications like The Lily and Via Magazine. While I’m relatively new to meditation, I have practiced on and off for a number of years, but would like to incorporate a consistent daily practice into my life.
Our Testing Process
To find the best meditation cushions, I spent eight hours reviewing dozens of the top-rated pillows across popular online retailers and trusted product review websites, coming up with a shortlist of 14. I cut that list down to the top five, which Ness purchased for testing. When each cushion arrived, I took note of the specs and recorded my initial observations. Then, over nearly two months, I meditated on each pillow no less than three times, incorporating apps like Calm and Tripp, as well as music and silence.
After each season, I took notes on the meditation cushion’s comfort and support. I also paid attention to how easy each cushion is to adjust, care for, and any other notable features worth recording. I kept detailed notes on how well I could run through my session and whether the cushion helped or distracted me. I also noted any durability issues like shape changes or material pilling. At the end of the testing period, I washed all the covers, re-assembled them, and laid them out, making side-by-side comparisons and compiling scores to determine our top picks.
For more information on how we found the best meditation cushions, read the test notes.
Meditation Cushions Buying Guide
Who Should buy a Meditation Cushion?
If you incorporate a consistent meditation practice into your life, and want to sit somewhere other than your chair, consider a meditation cushion. This will promote good posture and make meditating more comfortable. Just seeing it may work as a daily motivator, calling you to come sit and breathe.
What Makes a Good Meditation Pillow?
The best meditation pillows stand out for their balance of high-quality materials, comfort, support, and design. Features like a carrying handle and ability to adjust height and amount of fill set some pillows apart.
Choosing the right meditation pillow depends on how you plan to use it, and the style of meditation you want to do. For American Psychological Association “Mindfulness meditation: A research-proven way to reduce stress” View Source or Vedic meditation, the most important thing to consider is your comfort. But if you try Zazen meditation, which calls for five specific sitting positions, you’ll need to think about how your cushion works for those poses. No matter what, you’ll want a pillow with the right shape and height to support you in the types of meditation you do the most.
Crescent-shaped pillows can offer a little more thigh support. Their wedge shape naturally tilts you forward in a cross-legged position. For someone with flexible hips and knees, their lower height often works great. (We didn’t test any crescent pillows for this review, but we plan to add them into our next round of testing.) Round or oval shaped pillows—the type we tested—are great for cross-legged and kneeling positions, allowing you to position them in a few different ways to best suit your practice. If you remove some filling, they can also take on a wedge shape. We felt this was a more versatile option.
Heavier buckwheat-filled pillows will be good for home use. A medium-weight pillow with a durable cover will be one you can take with you outdoors. An inflatable or foldable pillow is more suited to traveling. Pillow and cushion sets will be best for those with worn-out knees. And of course, you’ll want a zafu that inspires you to display it, rather than stuffing it in a closet.
Choosing a good meditation pillow comes down to how well it provides support and comfort, factors which come down to:
- Size: Look for a meditation cushion wide enough to sit comfortably with your bum on the pillow and with the proper height to allow knees to rest comfortably on the floor. This will prevent tension in your hips and lower back.
- Support: Good cushions are firm and stable enough to support ideal posture over extended periods.
- Comfort: Look for enough structure to keep you upright but enough flexibility to allow for a forward tilt of the hips. Good cushions will also have an outer cover fabric that is both soft and durable.
- Adjustability: Cushions are generally filled with memory foam, cotton stuffing, buckwheat, or kapok (a natural fiber harvested from kapok trees). In most pillows, the filling can be added or removed. We considered cushions filled with buckwheat hulls for this review because they’re popular and contour the body’s shape to allow for a more custom fit.
- Ease of care: A removable outer cover is key on a meditation cushion. The best pillows have an inner liner bag to contain the filling; without it, laundering the pillow is difficult. After washing, good pillows should retain their shape and color.
How Tall Should My Meditation Cushion Be?
Meditation pillows generally run somewhere between four to six inches tall. If you’re shorter, choose a pillow closer to four inches; if you’re taller, go for the height. The main thing to consider when selecting a pillow for height is adjustability. Look for a meditation cushion that lets you add or remove the filling to tailor the size.
How Big Should My Meditation Cushion Be?
Round meditation pillows usually start at around 12 inches across and go up from there. A pillow with a smaller profile is good for travel and taking to the studio. These pillows typically don’t allow you to rest your legs on them, but they offer good stability and posture correction. The widest cushion in this review, the Brentwood Homes Crystal Cove pillow, is 18 inches across.
What Red Flags Should You Look Out For When Buying a Meditation Pillow?
Poor quality materials—both in the outer cover and filling—are the main things to keep an eye out for. If you’re concerned about allergies or just want to keep your home organic, look for products certified to be free of toxic chemicals. A badge from an organization like OEKO-TEX, (which certifies that it’s free of harmful chemicals) or GOTS (which certifies that it’s made of organic material) is an easy way to verify this. Its materials should also be durable enough to keep its shape over time, so it can help you maintain good posture. A poor-quality pillow may hinder meditation because you can’t focus if you’re uncomfortable, and it can cause back and joint pain over time.
Other Meditation Cushions Worth Considering
Florensi Meditation Cushion
- Material: Velvet cover (100% polyester)
- Filling: Buckwheat hulls and 1-inch thick foam pad
- Dimensions: 16 inches x 16 inches x 5 inches
- Weight: 7.34 pounds
- Large round cushion
- Strikes a nice balance of comfort and stability
- Synthetic cover material isn’t as sustainable as organic cotton
The Florensi meditation cushion is a worthy option for those looking for a seat with some give, as well as a structured shape. The Florensi isn’t quite as firm as the Lotuscrafts cushion, and it’s not as pillowy as the Brentwood. But it combines the best attributes of both into a large, wide cushion that’s supportive and comfortable. The versatile pillow can also double as a floor seat and yoga prop and makes for a vibrant home decor accent. It’s also the cushion friends gravitated to most when visiting my house.
With more than 7,200 reviews on Amazon and a 4.8-star overall rating, 96% of people have given the Florensi cushion a four or five-star rating. “This meditation cushion is still in excellent condition. You’d think after all this time the cushion would be squished, but it’s not,” wrote one reviewer who says they’ve owned the pillow for more than two years.
Unlike the Brentwood cushion, it has a lot of structure. With a one-inch foam pad on top of the buckwheat bag, it doesn’t feel as contoured to the body. However, it facilitates good posture because it’s more firm, and I was able to meditate for a long time. I found it comfortable to sit on top cross-legged and roll forward so that my knees rested on the floor (preventing tension that can happen when they just float in space). The foam pad also adds a bit of a buffer between you and the buckwheat hulls.
The Florensi cushion has the option to add or remove the buckwheat filling. Based on personal experience, you may want to remove some to lower the height slightly, but you won’t need to add any—it’s topped up with more than enough. Plus, the foam topper adds to the shape of the pillow.
The velvet fabric isn’t as luxe as the Brentwood’s stretch knit, and it’s not as sustainable as the certified-organic cotton covers. It is, however, soft to the touch, and the mandala motif is pretty cool. It has a handle on the side, but, at more than 7 pounds, it’s the heaviest cushion we tested. It comes in a handful of colors. The ocean blue color I tested matches my son’s room perfectly, so it often migrates there as a pillow to relax or read on.
Reehut Zafu Meditation Cushion
- Material: Cotton
- Filling: Buckwheat hulls
- Dimensions: 12 inches x 12 inches x 4.5 inches
- Weight: 3.5 pounds
- Less expensive than other cushions
- Not as generously filled as other cushions
The Reehut Zafu is a slightly squat cushion that closely compares to our top pick, the Lotuscrafts meditation cushion. The differences are minor, but Reehut lost points because its buckwheat hull filling feels a little light—the Lotuscrafts cushion comes with more, making it more firm and adjustable. Still, the Reehut cushion is an affordable option that’s comfortable and easy to clean.
“I wish I would have discovered this cushion years ago,” wrote one Amazon reviewer. (It has more than 2,600 reviews and a 4.8-star rating overall on the site.) “I’m 6’2”, and sitting cross-legged while keeping my back straight has always been difficult. This solves that problem! I can sit with legs crossed in front of me for long sessions without feeling fatigue in my back and hips.”
The texture of the cotton fabric is similar to the Lotuscrafts and Waterglider cushions, but feels a little heavier and rougher. Like the Reehut, these other cushions are also made from certified organic cotton. The canvas attracts pet hair and dirt, but the cover comes off easily for washing. The half zipper is white but covered with a fabric flap to hide it. The simple handle is sturdy, and the Reehut is light and portable, so you can take it with you to a studio class or outside to meditate in the fresh air. If the Lotuscrafts cushion is unavailable, or you know you don’t like a densely filled cushion, save yourself a few bucks and opt for the Reehut.
The Reehut Zafu cushion is also available in a 16-inch by 16-inch version ($28.74)—it’s the same height but has a slighter larger diameter.
Meditation Cushions We Didn’t Love
Waterglider International Zafu Cushion
- Material: Certified to OE 100 Standard organic cotton
- Filling: Buckwheat hulls
- Dimensions: 13.43 inches x 13.39 inches x 6.69 inches
- Weight: 5.24 pounds
- Low, wide, and comfortable
- No internal bag to contain the buckwheat
I wanted to love the Waterglider Zafu cushion. It’s made from organic cotton and filled with USA-grown buckwheat, has a wide and low shape, is sturdy without sacrificing comfort, and works as a great home office seat topper when not being used for meditation. However, the cushion—which has a 4.7-star rating out of more than 1,000 positive reviews praising its sturdiness, durability, and comfort—has no inner bag to hold the filling. When you open the side zipper, the buckwheat just spills out. When it comes time to wash it, removing the hulls for laundering is a massive hassle.
It’s also a little underfilled for meditating. However, the shape and dimensions made it one of the most pleasant cushions to meditate on, like a mix between the firm Lotuscrafts cushion and the low and wide Brentwood pillow. It’s also my favorite work-from-home cushion for my office chair.
One Amazon reviewer felt similarly, writing, “The cover isn’t truly removable unless you want buckwheat all over your place. I wish they’d change the blueprint because the cushion itself is the best I’ve ever sat on.”
Waterglider must have heard enough complaints about the lack of an internal buckwheat bag that they’ve gone ahead and made a new version with a liner ($40). It’s the same price, but the zipper is now on the pillow’s bottom circumference, and there’s now a liner bag. We haven’t yet tested this updated cushion to see if the fabric, pleating, and fill amount is the same. But if you’re set on this cushion, do yourself a favor and purchase the option with the removable bag of buckwheat hulls—your floors (and vacuum) with thank you.
- Rise of meditation: A lot more Americans are meditating now more than 5 years ago (LA Times, November, 2018)
- Rise of meditation: Use of Yoga, Meditation, and Chiropractors Among U.S. Adults Aged 18 and Over (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, November, 2018)
- Meditation apps: Calm surpasses 100 million downloads to become the most-downloaded meditation app (Business of Apps, September, 2021)
- Practicing meditation to alleviate health conditions: Meditation: In-Depth Fact Sheet (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
- Types of meditation: 7 Different Meditation Styles (Everyday Health, May 2019)
- Meditation posture: Everything You Need to know About Meditation Posture (Yoga Journal, June, 2015)
- Poses in meditation: Easy Pose: How to Practice Sukhasana (Yoga Journal)
- Meditation poses: The 4 Best Meditation Poses (Headspace)
- Requirements for GOTS Certification: GOTS Standard (Global Organic Textile Standard)
- Requirements for OEKO-TEX Certification: STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® (OEKO-TEX)
- Types of meditation: Transcendental Meditation (Web MD)
- Mindfulness meditation on mental and physical health: Mindfulness meditation: A research-proven way to reduce stress (American Psychological Association)