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What filling to choose for your zafu?

The different filling materials

There are different materials used to fill meditation cushions. It is sometimes difficult to navigate as the offer is so diversified. Most of the time they are stuffed with kapok or cereal husk (whether buckwheat, spelled or even millet), more rarely with wool. Each of these paddings has its own properties, advantages and disadvantages. No stress, we will guide you in your choice...

Sheep wool padding

I made my first zafus by stuffing them with sheep's wool, I was delighted to be able to use this natural and local material (it came from Aurélien's grandfather's sheeps). I was totally in agreement with my beliefs. But by regularly using my zafu, I realized that it was not the ideal material for making meditation cushions. Wool is a living material, it offered a rather hard base and, over time, it tended to settle, or even felt. The rebound, the flexibility of the beginning have unfortunately disappeared. What's more, to have experienced it, being a living material it can accommodate small insects over time, it is therefore necessary to treat with essential oils so that they do not settle completely.

Cereal bale stuffing

The husk comes from the hulling of certain cereals, in other words it is the residual waste (the protective shell of the seed). The first zafu I was offered was filled with buckwheat husk. At that time we lived by the sea in Brittany, a region that was rather humid all year round (the year 2022, which is ending soon, is an exception to the rule!). After a few months of use, I saw small stains appear on the fabric of the cushion: when I opened the cover, I discovered that the buckwheat husk was starting to mold, it reacted very badly to humidity. ambient. Recently, I discussed it with a friend, a yoga teacher who has notably taught in South Asia and Hong Kong, she explained to me that she too had had mold problems with the zafus filled with cereal hull ( whatever it was, over the years, she had bought several zafus filled with different types of cereal hull) and that she had therefore ended up returning to the traditional filling for her cushions: kapok, rot-proof and keeping all its bounce. Another problem that I noticed while using my meditation cushion, the compaction of the cereal hull, and therefore the loss of height and comfort, I started to have real pain in the lower back because the cushion did not offer enough rebound in the seat. It is therefore necessary to buy, approximately every year, something to fill one's zafu which, in a long-term vision, ultimately requires more money. The advantage, because there is still an advantage in buying a zafu filled with cereal husks: its lower price. As we said above, the cereal husk is the residual waste of the seed, its purchase cost for textile designers is lower (or even nil if one is doing well), hence the fact that ball-filled zafus are often less expensive.


After many years of experiments with different types of stuffing, we realized that the best stuffing for a quality zafu, durable over time was the traditional stuffing: with the natural vegetable fiber of the kapok. Kapok is a plant down that surrounds the seeds of certain tropical trees of the Bombacaceae family. Although this plant fiber can be obtained from the fruits of several trees, it is more particularly extracted from the fruits of the kapok tree or Ceiba pentandra. Very light, waterproof and rot-proof, this fiber does not require washing. Its natural lightness prevents the seams from being overstressed over time by too much padding weight, this will also allow you to take your zafu with you everywhere. Unlike cereal husks, which, over time, break and become dust with the weight and pressure of our seat (which must therefore be replaced regularly) or wool which tends to felt or settle, kapok will still keep its original bounce. The kapok allows a pleasant, flexible seat, softer for your lower back. Another major advantage, the kapok is waterproof and rot-proof, unlike the ball, which, if it is subject to a too humid universe can mold (and sometimes therefore stain the fabric), or the wool, which, sometimes welcomes some small animals, Kapok was once used to make life jackets on boats before being replaced by PE foam. It is also hypoallergenic. Finally, kapok allows a more pleasant, flexible, softer seat for your lower back. At okhonoko, we try every day to reconcile our convictions, our aspirations and our creative activity, which is why in the interests of quality and sustainability we offer you zafus exclusively filled in a traditional and ecological way: with kapok. Happy meditation, namaste.


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