I love that it's all Canadian made! I really like the size ... and so far -- it works great!
Sooo much better than the too-soft couch cushions I've been using!
I would definitely recommend this product.
Lesley K, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
North's Zen-style™ zafu meditation cushion
capable of maintaining its support through the longest teisho
A teisho is a lengthy zen talk, something like a Christian sermon.
If you’re giving it, time flies. If you’re listening, sometimes it can seem like forever …
These longer talks are typically given by the teacher once a day at zen sesshin (extensive retreats) or weekly at zen centres. While you can often shift your position, sitting without getting up for almost an hour is really challenging.
An ideal cushion doesn’t collapse or flatten during sittings. North’s zafus keep the shape you give them.
Based on traditional Japanese meditation cushions as used in zen meditation centers and temples around the world. (Master Hakuin, shown at right)
Retreat-friendly design right from the drawing board:
•flexible – side expansion pleats let you shift your pelvis to optimal angle • portable & secure – sturdy integrated handle, hidden velcro closure keeps kids out! •adjustable – amply filled and is adjustable by removing hulls ** •lined – where it counts, for more comfort
A good cushion lets you focus more on your practice and less on adjusting your posture.
Retreat-friendly colours: Black, Chocolate, Dark Navy (please check if you are attending a formal retreat as they may have specific requirements)
we use ONLY top quality 100% PRODUCT OF CANADA buckwheat hulls
how to choose and the story of our cushions
What’s the best cushion for meditation?
The best cushion is the one you actually use.
You can use a chair. Just get started. You’ll figure out what you need as you go along. But if you’re going to sit with a group, or go on a formal retreat, or do more extensive practice, you’ll want to get something professionally designed and crafted.
Whatever you do, don’t buy a cheap cushion! Not only are they usually stuffed with the wrong materials, but they are often imported from regions of the world where children and slave labour is used (India, for example). We have some articles about this in our Compassionate Consumerseries in our online magazine.
Whose cushions are the best?
EVERY company will tell you their meditation cushions are the best. It’s hard to know who to trust.
OUR FOUNDER started designing cushions years ago after starting her own practice. She found the cushions at the local zen centre to be uncomfortable. They were deceptively tall, all fluffy and puffy, but once you sat down on them, they would squash down and be practically useless. But since it was zen, we didn’t complain. We eventually decided that we’d have to make our own.
Pain is a powerful motivator!
AFTER every sesshin (extensive zen retreats of up to 10 hrs of sitting a day), we’d come back with more ideas and try more designs.
Eventually we came up with the two designs we offer now – our Zen-style™ zafu, and our Tibetan-style™ zafu. Both are round cushion shaped, which we’ve found is the optimal shape.
Which styles of cushions are there?
We’ve tried crescent cushions, cosmic or v-shaped cushions, halfmoon cushions, double height cushions, very low cushions, wedges (foam, and wooden), blow-up footballs, yoga blocks, folded-over pillows, rocks – you name it. I guess you’d say we left no rock un-turned in our quest for the best.
3 important meditation tips
The round cushions are the most popular and commonly used cushions for good reason, but most people starting out don’t know how to use them correctly!
Sit on it properly (sitting on the front 2/3rds of the cushion)
Position your feetcomfortably in front in a cross-legged position (no need for cut-outs or odd shapes) – if you sit in a kneeling position, make sure your knees and ankles are in alignment
Grow tall from your hips – You tend to sit naturally more upright because your lower body becomes part of the support, and you will naturally emphasize the curve in the low back
That’s important, because if your knees are sitting way up in the air, your inner thigh muscles are not supported, you are not very stable (try asking someone to push you over), and your muscles will be working at holding yourself in your posture rather than settling deep into your meditation practice.
What filling is best?
We’ve tried every filling you can think of as well – buckwheat hulls (this is what we strongly recommend over any other filling), kapok (that’s what the zen centre insisted on), cotton (truly awful for a filling as it gives zero support, but lots of companies sell them for $29 or less), foam, and various other unmentionable things we stuffed inside.
We strongly recommend you ONLY buy a zafu with buckwheat hulls. Nothing else will allow you to settle into the cushion but provide firm stable support. It’s the only filling we use in our cushions.
We’re experienced long-term meditation and yoga practitioners and teachers
If you’re unsure of what to buy, give us a call or email us (that’s the best way to reach us).
We’ve been practicing and teaching meditation and yoga for a long time (even longer if you believe what some people have told us), and we have plenty of experience with how to sit and how to modify your setup.
It’s not that difficult, but it does start with letting us know more about you, how you like to sit, whether you are flexible, etc. Just a few questions will help us get to know you and serve you better.
We’ll add more to this article in the near future. Let us know if it helped!