*elephantjournal.com received these review items for free, in return for a guarantee that we would review said offering. That said, we say what we want—good and bad, happy and sad.
I have a confession to make.
Well, it’s not that bad, I guess. It’s a pretty normal thing actually.
Except that I teach yoga (and basic meditation) in my yoga classes and the thing is…I haven’t had a regular daily meditation practice in years. Not since I did my teacher training. Not since before my kids were born.
That doesn’t make me a bad person, or even a bad teacher. It just makes me human—a more stressed, more explosive, less practice-what-I-preach kind of human.
Like all of us, there is something in me that resists practice—that prefers popcorn and Netflix binges, curling up with a good book, or even making a double-batch of cinnamon-pecan granola over practice. Well, the granola-making is a kind of meditation for me. But sitting to meditate? For longer than 5 minutes and more frequently than maybe once in a while, when I have the time (a convenient little mental fib we all tell ourselves).
That hasn’t happened for ages.
But when I found this cushion, I felt like I had a reason to meditate, and regularly. Well, a couple of reasons:
- I met this charming, enthusiastic guy from basaho at the Om Yoga Show in London and agreed to review his newly-launched meditation cushion for him.
- The basaho cushion itself is so good-looking, I just had to put it somewhere that I would see it, and walk past it, every day. This did something pretty clever which I hadn’t intended: it reminded me every day that I needed to, and wanted to meditate.
And so I did meditate.
It was a bit patchy at first, but (almost) every day for the past two weeks, I’ve visited my little cushion and given myself some head space. Quite literally—I’ve been using the Headspace meditation app. This is the other thing that’s given me my practice back, but the cushion came first. It was the instigator.
There is just so much to love about this gorgeous little range of cushions.
The people behind them are the first thing.
Tarun and Emmanuelle come from different backgrounds. Indian and French-born, they met as room-mates in a London flat share.
Tarun, having already discovered the benefits of meditation, had noticed that there was very little choice available in meditation cushions, with most of them being the same plain old zafus. Tarun says, “I think a lot of people have the idea that meditation has to be a very serious and pious affair, and that colourful/modern designs somehow cheapen the experience. I tend to disagree and think we can change that perspective.
Emmanuelle is creative and experienced with working in design, and had tons of ideas for what we could do differently. And so basaho was born! The name means “just be” in Hindi.”
What Emmanuelle says about the cushion in funny because before I even seen her description of it, I’d been treating it this way, “By combining the practicality of a well constructed cushion with a modern and contemporary design, we produced not just a zafu, but a piece of furniture. This is not a cushion to be hidden away, but something to be a constant reminder of the daily joy that meditation can and will bring to your life.”
The ethics and practices behind them are another.
They’re organic and sustainable: All the cotton they’re made from is 100% organic, certified in accordance with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
They’re ethical: Tarun and Emmanuelle spent a lot of time personally selecting a partner in India, making sure their cushions are produced fairly and ethically, by workers in good working conditions.
They’re handmade: From sewing to printing, every one of these cushions is made entirely by hand. As a (lapsed) artist myself I love this aspect of them. No two cushions are exactly alike. They’re each a little work of unique meditation cushion art.
The comfort they offer your behind, and the rest of you, is the other reason.
I’ve found this to be a truly comfortable cushion. My backside, and the rest of me, especially the parts that can tighten up during sitting—my lower back and my shoulders—love it.
There are three shapes of cushion to choose from: the classic, the wheel and the wedge. There are also two types of fillings: buckwheat hulls and kapok (a silky fibre from trees in Asia). There are also three colours and a couple of design options to pick from.
I chose the classic, filled with kapok in red and grey. It suited my level of flexibility, and I liked the softer filling. The red and grey also looks pretty cool next to my purple yoga mat and Siamese Buddha.
I should add that they say the mat they sell goes hand in hand with the cushion, providing a comfortable surface for your legs and feet. But I found my soft wool carpet to work just fine for that. I can see how it would make things extra-comfy though.
It’s not just me that’s grateful for my basaho cushion, my husband and my kids are too. I’m a better wife, mother and all-round human being when I’ve spent a little time on it, meditating. By better I mean calmer, more centred, more fun, more loving and less shouty (in my son’s words).
Now that I’ve gotten started again, there are so many reasons to keep up the practice. But basaho was my first.
Note: Although they are UK based, basaho do offer US shipping, but it’s a little costly at £15 (about $22) per item. They haven’t found a way around this high shipping cost for now as the cushions are chunky and, with a buckwheat hull filling especially, pretty heavy.
Author: Khara-Jade Warren
Images; courtsey of basaho and author’s own