Zafu Question

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  • Joyo
    • Jun 2024

    Zafu Question

    I don't own a zafu, I have been using a pillow. Is it worth the money to invest in one instead of sitting on a pillow, especially for someone like me who has chronic hip and back problems, or is it basically the same thing.

    Also, I live in Western Canada, can anyone recommend a good website for ordering one.


    Treena
  • Yugen

    #2
    Treena,
    I don't know if you sit in lotus, burmese, or another position. Your zazen position can exacerbate lower back and hip problems if your posture is not comfortable or physiologically compassionate to your body's "story"... Much has been written on these forums about posture, Alexander technique, and avoiding rigidity in zazen posture. Taigu is a real authority on this.

    To make a potentially long answer short; your choice of pillow or zafu makes a huge difference as well - the investment in a zafu is well worth it. I have used pillows and find they "float" or are too squishy and unstable for me. The amount of time and energy my lower back muscles spend stabilizing my core is excessive when sitting on a pillow. I use a buckwheat hull-filled zafu. I would suggest one of these. There are several purveyors of zafus on the web, and I am sure you will find many opinions here. To be honest, what worked for me when I had to replace my zafu (the cat peed on it and as you might imagine difficult to remove the odor) is I went to amazon.com and searched on "zafu." Several great options were immediately available and I purchased the "Hugger Mugger" black zafu. I would suggest buckwheat hull filling as compared to kapok filling. I think it gives a more stable support, and can adjust to your anatomy when you settle into position. The difference between zafu and pillow will also become more obvious when you sit over the course of several periods of zazen, such as in a zazenkai or sesshin.

    I am sure there will be a plethora of opinions here. Take them all into consideration and decide what is most appropriate to your situation.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Guest; 10-05-2013, 01:22 AM.

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    • Joyo

      #3
      Thanks Yugen, good info to know, and I see now I definitely will have to take my time and do some research. I sit half-lotus or burmese, depending on what kind of day I've had in regards to how much stress has been put on my hips and back.


      Treena
      Last edited by Guest; 10-05-2013, 02:03 AM. Reason: typo

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      • Bunny
        Member
        • Sep 2013
        • 111

        #4
        Totally worth the investment. Yugen covered the reasons well so I won't be redundant. This is what I bought:


        I was happy with this set. You can buy a zafu alone for far less. Amazon has a good return policy I think...in case you find the zafu you order doesn't work for you. Im assuming Amazon is Canada friendly....?

        My favorite/ most comfy way to sit was on a bench. There are some nice handmade ones on Etsy at times. Of course now that my health is not great I "sit" lying down. Too bad you are so far away. If we were neighbors I would just give you mine to use since I no longer use them.

        With Metta

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        • Bunny
          Member
          • Sep 2013
          • 111

          #5
          Ooops ...this is actually the link I meant to post

          Comment

          • Mp

            #6
            Hello Treena,

            Yugen has some wonderful advice, so don't have much to add, but here is a link (http://www.zenike.net/servlet/the-Za...ale/Categories) the place I ordered mine from. But I did try lots out before I purchased the one I have now.

            Gassho
            Shingen

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            • Steven
              Member
              • Sep 2013
              • 114

              #7
              I've only been sitting for a little over a month now and after only sitting on a pillow for a couple of days I looked into purchasing a zafu because of the reasons you mentioned. I noticed an immediate difference once I sat on it for the first time. I still have lower back pain when I sit, but it is near the end of my Zazen and it is a dull ache rather than borderline excruciating pain. Good luck on your search!

              Comment

              • lobster
                Member
                • May 2013
                • 21

                #8

                I use three quite hard pillows at the moment. I think they are 'shape foam' based. A cushion is better. You can make your own, maybe even customise . . . which I have not yet done.

                http://www.buddhamind.info/leftside/lifestyl/medi/zafu.htm


                The chronic back and hip might decide a chair or bought comfort is best. I have used phone directories, catalogues, folded towels. Tush up is the important bit.

                What an exciting project. Sitting on pillows making something to sit on. Nice cycle to it . . .

                Comment

                • Bunny
                  Member
                  • Sep 2013
                  • 111

                  #9
                  Originally posted by lobster

                  I use three quite hard pillows at the moment. I think they are 'shape foam' based. A cushion is better. You can make your own, maybe even customise . . . which I have not yet done.

                  http://www.buddhamind.info/leftside/lifestyl/medi/zafu.htm


                  The chronic back and hip might decide a chair or bought comfort is best. I have used phone directories, catalogues, folded towels. Tush up is the important bit.

                  What an exciting project. Sitting on pillows making something to sit on. Nice cycle to it . . .
                  I made a zafu from those instructions awhile back. The problem I had was when it came to stuffing...the stuffing almost cost as much as buying a zafu. So, I've yet to stuff it. If anyone has a good (inexpensive!!!) source for kapok or buckwheat hulls let me know.

                  Gassho

                  Comment

                  • Kyotai

                    #10
                    I bought mine off amazon.ca. (live in ontario) I used a pillow for years. Zafu helps keep posture upright. It helped me from sliding out of position.

                    Gassho

                    Shawn

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                    • Taigu
                      Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
                      • Aug 2008
                      • 2710

                      #11
                      Zafu is a must. Pillows won t allow you to give it the propper angle so you sit at ease on it. You also need to make it fit your body size by adjusting its thickness.

                      Gassho

                      T.

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                      • KellyRok
                        Member
                        • Jul 2008
                        • 1374

                        #12
                        Yes, I definitely think you need a Zafu. I used to sit Burmese or half lotus until I pulled my hips out of place twice (very painful), so now I mostly sit seiza with a mountain seat zafu (it's made from buckwheat hulls) and I really like it. It is higher than other forms of zafus, but is really perfect for sitting seiza for me. I bought it from the Monastery Store: http://www.dharma.net/monstore/index.php?cPath=104_105

                        The newer mountain seat cushions have memory foam, mine does not and I like it that way because I can shape it and mold it for a proper sitting position for me.

                        Good luck Treena, I hope you find the right one for you.

                        Gassho,
                        Kelly/Jinmei

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                        • Myosha
                          Member
                          • Mar 2013
                          • 2974

                          #13
                          Amazon (especially if you're Prime™): USD45 delivered. Wide variety, great return policy if it doesn't "fit".


                          Gassho,
                          Edward
                          "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

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                          • Joyo

                            #14
                            Thank you very much everyone, obviously time to start searching. I'll look at amazon.ca first and go from there.


                            Treena

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                            • Heishu
                              Member
                              • Sep 2012
                              • 484

                              #15
                              Because of the aches and pains that I have, I changed my way of sitting by placing my zafu on a rattan stool. This helps my posture while keeping the pain under control. Here is what I purchased and it has served me well. rattan-stool.jpg You may purchase it from http://www.dharma.net/monstore/produ...oducts_id=2705

                              You can find less expensive versions but this one is well made compared to those that I found in local stores.

                              Btw, that is the mountain seat cushion in the picture and is the one that I use and it has great support.

                              Gassho,
                              Heishu
                              Last edited by Heishu; 10-05-2013, 11:54 PM.


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