I began experimenting with a new form of cushion in 1998, the year I turned 70, hoping to avoid sitting on a chair during Zen sesshins (intensive meditation retreats). There's nothing wrong with a chair, but I had pride invested in meditating with the others on the floor. Besides, the chair made my back hurt.|
In order to survive the retreats, it had been my practice to change my sitting posture frequently. First, I would sit Burmese (cross-legged), then Seiza (kneeling). After that, when I could, I sat in quarter lotus, and then Burmese again with my other foot in front. But discomfort and pain continued.
After experimenting with various cushions, I realized that zafus filled with buckwheat hulls were the most comfortable for me. It also occurred to me that since buckwheat hulls could be compressed, there was a way to vary the height of a cushion at will. Thus, the same cushion could be used for both cross-legged and kneeling positions. With the help of friends with sewing talent, the SeiFu evolved.
The SeiFu is neat enough to blend into a strict Zen monastery and adjustable enough to lend support to meditators with very different body issues. Many of my friends tried it and said, "Hey, it works. I want one for myself. You should make it available to others."
And so here it is, SeiFu, the Adjustable Meditation Cushion. The sitting range is from 3" to 15". Buckwheat hulls can be added or removed. You can create a 45-degree sitting angle with it to achieve a natural lumbar curve. Users tell me that they now sit through intense retreats with only a fraction of the discomfort they formally experienced. I now do sesshins without resorting to a chair or groaning (under my breath) in agony.
By the way, the name SeiFu is a combination of Sei za (kneeling bench) and Za fu (sitting cushion.)
I hope the cushion works for you.