Recently over on Quiet Mind Meditation E-Course blog I received a question from one of the participants:
"is it any cushion or one particularly for meditation with regard to shape and thickness?"
Firstly, finding a comfortable position for your meditation practice is vital, and secondly what is 'comfortable' is going to be totally unique to the individual.
Therefore, it is best to try a few different options, starting with what you have available at home, testing out different shapes, fillings and sizes that you have at hand. You might also consider trying a local yoga supplier/centre, an imports store (like Chakra or Ishka, in Australia) or if you are near a Buddhist centre they often have gift/supply shops and are more than happy to provide some guidance. (In the Melbourne CBD I have been told that the Philosophical Society have a few different cushions on hand to try out).
The aim is to find what you need to support your comfort.
In general, comfort comes from a stable posture where the spine is encouraged to sit 'up', when your knees are lower than your pelvis (to avoid inhibiting blood flow to limbs) and your pelvic bowl is tipped forward a little.
Ideally you find a seat that is 'not too hard, not too soft' - ie. firm enough to feel solid, but soft enough to yield and comfort a tired and tight body.
Please note however that if you are not used to sitting in this way (on the floor) then you have to start with lots of patience and gentle acceptance that it is going to take a little while to enjoy sitting cross legged on a cushion (any cushion). You need to give yourself a little time to practice the posture and with practice you will find that your legs start to relax and soften naturally; it just takes a little time and patience (like meditation!).
My Meditation Cushion
I found my meditation 'friend' at a local yoga supplies store. It did take me a little while to get used to the firmness of the cushion but it is all good now. I have heard people suggest that you remove a little of the fill to replace later when the cushion has softened.
The great thing about having a meditation cushion is that you can move it around to suit .. I take mine outside on the deck in summer months, closer to the fire in winter months, in the car for weekends away, to meditation classes. And when I see my cushion .. it is like a gentle whisper 'come visit, come visit'.