Why Do We Need a Cushion?

While sitting in meditation it’s important that your shoulders, back, neck and hips are aligned for three reasons. One is for comfort and good health, two – so you have good blood, energy (or chi) flow, and three – to enable the subtle and ordinary breath to be comfortable and relaxed. All of these have been proven to successfully increase the result of your meditation session according to the best meditation teachers and yoga masters.
Before we begin exploring choices, please know that there are some who really do not need any kind of support because they are flexible and able to easily keep the spine straight. Don’t worry if you aren’t one of those, but if you are – don’t feel pressured into using a cushion when you don’t need one.

Have trouble sitting on the floor? A simple meditation chair works perfectly.
Have trouble sitting on the floor? A simple meditation chair works perfectly.

Cushion vs a Chair
So is there some advantage to sitting on the floor in a lotus position rather than on a chair or in a kneeling position? Meditation masters all over the world teach that sitting in the lotus, or crossed legged position, opens energy flows and subtle winds and channels that reduce stress and increase a calm mind. Don’t worry if your doctor has recommended you use a chair, meditation can still be beneficial either way. But if you can work your way to a lotus/cross legged position it will ultimately bring more benefit to your body and mind, and make your meditation session less of an ordinary experience, and more of a special happening in your daily life.
The lotus position also helps to signal the mind that you are about to embark on a special time that will bring you peace and benefit. It helps to define the meditation time and space as something unique and important.
Today you can buy beautiful meditation chairs that are low wooden or rattan chairs with straight backs and a cushioned seat. These chairs are a perfect choice for those who would like to work up to a lotus position. That’s simply because they support the back and allow to do either cross-legged sitting, or the more traditional ‘feet on the floor’ position. This one is made from sea grass and mango wood. You can find it on the web at gaiam.com