Urszula Sapeta, 2
Interview with Urszula Sapeta
Do they help you keep an erect spine and proper alignment? If so, can you offer some details? I am guessing that this is what you are referring to by "proper and stable position" and yet I am interested in the details as far as posture goes. Also, as there are many postures, do these pillows support all of them? Lastly, how do they manage to do this (i.e. proper support)?
For someone who sits in any cross-legged position it is important to use the cushion. When knees and buttock are on the same level it is extremely difficult to keep spine straight. The cushion put under buttock raises it and when you nail the tail bone into cushion and have knees down on the zabuton, this triangle is a strong base for keeping spine straight and having lower abdomen loosen.
Zafu can be used for all cross-legged postures. Because kapok is a very resilient fiber and new zafus are quite firm, the height of cushion does not collapse. People who need more height can insert a support cushion under zafu. There are several kinds of support cushions, some thinner and some more thick. For seiza (kneeling position) one can use zafu or rectangular husk cushion.
Some of the support cushions may be also used in different ways. During long retreats people put flat supports under their aching knees, for example. There are also a couple of cushions which can be used to support hands mudra. While meditating is important that upper part of body, from waist up is completely relaxed. Sometimes hands slide down while person sits for a long time, and this causes neck and shoulder tensions and perhaps even bending of spine.
If the feet of crossed legs do not support hands then it is better to use husk cushion to support them. Usually good teacher instructs a person how to keep a good posture, but two aspects are the most important: straight spine and loose low abdomen to allow for deep breathing. It is a matter of personal experience and each person can see what kinds of extra cushions will be helpful for keeping body in right posture when sitting for longer periods of time.
This was all so extremely helpful. Thank you. Do your cushions come with instructions like this, or some written material to help show positions and how cushions (pillows) are used? Also, do you sell all of these cushions and pillows that you mentioned in your last response?
I do sell all the cushions mentioned above. The best way to order is to print order form my site Endless Knot and mail with a check. I do not include instructions about how to use cushions or how to meditate, but some information can be found on my website. Most people who order meditation cushions have their own teachers who instruct them how to meditate, and there are endless books published with photos and instructions about postures. My personal feeling is when you give people less explanations and instructions they are able to find out more by themselves for themselves.