Maturing is coming to terms with the fact that I will never become a morning person. I often joke that I am of no use to society before 10 a.m., and this is especially true in the winter. When there is so little natural sunlight and the weather is freezing, my Seasonal Affective Disorder really kicks in, and I have zero motivation to leave my bed.
There is one thing that has helped pull me out of my morning grogginess and existential dread: doing a quick guided meditation after waking up. It's not a big time commitment but has a noticeable impact on my mood. I usually go for a five-minute meditation if I want some positive affirmation, while a longer one — packed with breathwork and body scanning tactics — is my go-to when I feel anxious.
After meditating more regularly, it occurred to me that my setup was less-than-ideal. I either try to sit up with my legs crossed on the bed or on the floor, and both options leave me with an achy lower back. It was during my research for better meditation props that Halfmoon's products grabbed my attention. The Canadian wellness brand started selling yoga accessories over 30 years ago and offers a popular collection of well-made meditation cushions in different shapes and sizes.
Read on as I test out the Linen Crescent Sit Set, the brand's bestselling cushion, to see whether it makes a big difference in setting me up for more zen-like mornings.
The set is made of two separate components: a zabuton cushion (a small, rectangular futon in Japanese) and the crescent-shaped zafu cushion, which comes with round edges. You're supposed to stack both together and use them as a foundation while you get into a comfortable position for meditating. While seated on the crescent cushion, you can either place your feet on the ground or fold up your legs into the lotus pose and rest your knees on the zabuton cushion.
I can tell these are good-quality cushions from the moment my fingers met the linen exterior. The material is soft yet very sturdy and can be patted down to get rid of dust and dirt. The fabric casing can be removed and machine-washed, which makes these cushions much more durable than many other ones out there. Others may come in pretty tassels and embroidery, but the outer can't be removed for cleaning. Another thoughtful detail I liked is the handles sewn on the sides, which makes carrying them around a breeze.
After using the cushions every morning for a week, I can confidently say that they have more than pulled their weight in making my A.M. meditation routine more pleasurable. I meditate with the lotus position, and the rectangular zabuton cushion lifts up my folded legs away from the floor, while the crescent cushion raises my butt above the height of my knees. This helped prevent any interruption of blood flow to my hips and legs, which is typically why I end up with aches and muscle cramps after my practice. My back is more straight, which means my breathing becomes deeper and longer-lasting.
The crescent cushion is filled with buckwheat, a heavy filling that molds easily to my body as I adjust to the comfiest pose. The tapered edges also help my legs slope inwards at a more comfortable angle. My one critique is that the crescent cushion is quite compact and only comes in one size, so it may a bit snug for plus-size bodies.
If you're looking to adapt meditation into your everyday routine, I would consider this cushion set a sound investment that can make it even more enjoyable for your body. It felt amazing that not only have I carved out time to do self-care, but the cushion also gave me a dedicated physical corner to do it. Apart from using it for my regular practice, I love using the zabuton as a floor cushion for cozying up next to the radiator with a magazine. A great winter helper in more ways than one.
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