Lightweight Sukasana Pillows Travel Easy

This entry was posted on Jul 2, 2015 by Charlotte Bell.
sukhasana pillow

Use a Sukasana Cushion for Ease in “Easy Pose”

In some ways you could call sitting meditation the ultimate vacation. When you make the effort to step away from your mind’s usual drama even for a few minutes, you can feel refreshed, energized and peaceful. So it’s ironic that when we go on vacation—unless we’re going on a yoga or meditation retreat—we often leave our practice behind.

Part of the reason could be that most meditation cushions are bulky and heavy, which is great for home practice, but not so easy when baggage space is limited. That’s why Hugger Mugger designed the Sukasana Cushion, named for the traditional cross-legged sitting position. It’s small and light, so it’s easy to transport on trips and to the studio, but gives you substantial support for healthy sitting. The Sukasana cushion has a zipper so that you can empty the filling and hand wash the cover. It is handmade in the U.S.A.

Sukasana is often translated as “easy pose.” As anyone who’s practiced meditation likely knows, when you sit in Sukasana for any length of time, it is anything but easy. In the yoga tradition, it’s the pose that all other asana practice is meant to prepare us for. I like to think of Sukasana not so much as an easy pose, but as a pose of ease, a pose with a stable base that creates a tranquil ground for the mind to settle into silence.

In order for Sukasana to be a pose of ease, we need to find a position that allows the spine to relax into its natural curves. Beginning at the bottom of the spine, these are the sacral curve (convex), the lumbar curve (concave), the thoracic curve (convex) and the cervical curve (concave). These curves form a giant “S,” and are necessary for shock absorption and for optimal support of the head and rib cage. When these curves are straightened, we have to employ extra muscular energy to hold our frames upright. This can tire us out, making Sukasana a chore.

The key to maintaining your spinal curves in Sukasana is to make sure you are sitting up high enough so that your pelvis and sacrum tilt forward. This allows all the other curves to fall into place. This goes for everyone—flexible and not so flexible.

Here’s how:

Place your Sukasana cushion on a folded Yoga Blanket or Zabuton. Using a blanket or Zabuton will help keep your ankle bones and feet from grinding against a hard floor.

If your knees are jutting up above your hipbones, you likely won’t want to sit in Cross-Legged Sitting Pose for long meditation or pranayama sessions. When your knees are elevated, your pelvis rolls back, flattening the lumbar curve. Check out Hugger Mugger’s other meditation cushion options for ideas as to how to modify. Here’s an article that explains how to use the different cushions.

Now slowly rock forward and back, allowing your pelvis to tilt gently forward and backward. Try to find your natural center in the pose, the place where your torso feels neutral. Feeling neutral is tricky, however, as neutral is a place of little sensation. It is always much easier to feel extremes, but because Sukasana is meant to help us center and quiet for meditation, neutral is the optimum place to be. Here’s how I test whether or not I am in my neutral center: When you are centered in your body, when you press your sit bones down you will feel a gentle rebound or lift up through your body.

Check out our Prop Guide for other ideas on how to use yoga props.

For more information on how to sit comfortably in meditation, read Yoga for Meditators (published by Rodmell Press).

About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.