Like many retailers selling organic kapok and buckwheat hull cushions, I had a hard time explaining the differences between these two natural fillings. This has been particularly true for online stores, whose customers are unable to feel the weight and texture of either material. Rather than taking a wild guess or choosing the one that sounds like it will work, I recommend learning about each of them in this series of articles. The first article, Kapok Pillows and Zafu Cushions, will give you the download on kapok and this one will fill you in about buckwheat hull pillows.
Before you read on, remember that the choice of one meditation cushion over another is a matter of personal taste. It usually comes down to the one that gives you the level of support you need to remain in the same position for long periods of time. That being said, I hope these articles will help you make an informed decision.
Part One: Buckwheat Hull
In case you’ve never heard of buckwheat hull, you’re not alone. This popular grain is readily available and not quite as rare as the Asian kapok tree. While it’s not nearly as soft as the downy kapok, people love the way buckwheat hull pillows conform to the contours of the body. Anyone who has been practicing meditation for a long time will recognize the value of this type of lumbar support, but this is by no means a “fluffy pillow.”
The buckwheat hull zafu cushion is ergonomic and helps maintain healthy posture while meditating in the cross legged position. Covered with a 100% cotton twill fabric, the buckwheat hull filling makes it conform to the body’s shape more readily than kapok.
What is a buckwheat hull?
Buckwheat hulls are the parts of the plant that cover the seed or kernels. They have been used in ancient cultures, such as China, for hundreds of years but have only become more popular in the West in the past few decades.
Is a buckwheat hull pillow only for meditation?
Because of their ability to conform to the shape of the head and neck, buckwheat pillows often are recommended by medical professionals and doctors of chiropractic medicine. They are known to provide relief to those who suffer from migraines, snoring and neck pain. Because it is so similar to sitting on a mound of beach sand, buckwheat hulls give users a “grounded” feeling during meditation.
In addition to their use in zafu meditation pillows, buckwheat hulls are used for keyboard rests to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, eye pillows, and those cylindrical pillows that support the back while sitting at a desk. They even can be purchased with natural herbs added to the buckwheat hulls for a calming or energizing aromatherapy session.
What makes buckwheat hulls “sustainable?”
The material used for buckwheat hull pillows is actually the outer shell of buckwheat grain. Because it is too hard to be eaten by animals or humans, the hull would normally be discarded. By using it to fill cushions, nothing in the environment is disturbed.
Pros and Cons of Buckwheat Hulls
- Buckwheat Hull cushions are adjustable. Each of them has a zippered opening which can be used to fill the cushions. This opening allows for the removal or addition of buckwheat hulls to adjust the height and comfort.
- Buckwheat hull cushions do not flatten or require fluffing up.
- Buckwheat hulls are more like a natural sand surface because they conform to the shape of the body and provide a grounded feel.
- If you prefer the feeling of a soft fluffy pillow, buckwheat hull cushions might not be the best choice. Some customers find them to be a bit hard, which can be a firm surface if you don’t have your own “natural cushioning.”
- Buckwheat Hull cushions weigh about twice as much as kapok cushions.
- The Buckwheat Hulls make a bit of a scrunching sound when you move around on them.
- After a while, the hulls can break down, but they can easily be replaced by adding more through the zippered opening.
Buckwheat Hull cushions have become increasingly popular for meditation, accounting for the majority of zafu cushions sold today. People who choose kapok instead are usually looking for a more traditional pillow that is comfortable to the touch.
It is best if you can test a few cushions locally before making a purchase, but we stand by our 30-day return and exchange policy. We want you to have the best cushion for your need.