When I first laid my head on a buckwheat pillow I knew had found another secret lost by modern society. All my life I had followed the example around me using what in comparison to this was a huge overstuffed object. The simple small bean bag like thing provided cervical (neck) support without pushing the head up. This relieved pressure almost like having a massage. It gave me the perfect balance between support and softness. This was no small matter because the way we sleep in the West actually pushes our neck out of alignment. This ancient oriental secret had been hidden until recent times.
I could push it around and tweak it so be exactly right whether laying on my back or my side. I learned how to place the buckwheat pillow under my neck and hang my head off the back of the pillow. That feeling of decompression was so relaxing it sent me into Samadhi! And later I learned I could place the pillow on my forehead when back sleeping and the firm pressure would calm my active mind no matter how stressful my day. I also learned I could place one over my ear and head when laying on my side which would muffle the noise and give me a feeling of being grounded.
I learned to make my home sleeping environment as minimalist as possible and this gave me an edge when camping. Getting so familiar with a firm sleeping surface that it feels like home…because it IS home…is the best solution for those who hesitate go camp thinking there will be compromised comfort. But there is a much better reason to adopt the minimalist firm surface philosophy. The firm sleeping surface offers a much deeper relaxation experience for those who’s body is in alignment. For those who aren’t, it will tell you what needs tweaking in your body. When I am “Cowboy Camping” (meaning camping in the front country not too far from the trailhead)…I bring the little cervical Camp Pillow I designed for Lucky Sheep.I sometimes also bring a buckwheat pillow as well which is a huge splurge.
But when I’m backpacking I bring no pillow…following the extreme minimalist necessity of the sport. Instead what I use is the stuff sack from my sleeping bag which is stuffed with articles of clothing. It is actually close to the buckwheat pillow effect because the pillow can be shaped and tweaked just as I need it at any time. When back sleeping I push things so my neck is support but my head is not being pushed off the surface, and get the effect of hanging the neck over the back of the pillow. This decompresses the neck from all that backpacking and hiking where gravity is pulling everything down into a compressed state.
I sometimes use another stuff sack…the one which is used for clothing…and use that as a second pillow to stack on the first one when side sleeping. I usually sleep in one position through a sleep cycle then change positions and sleep in another position for another sleep cycle…and so forth. This is wise to allow maximum circulation and mobility. When in a pinch I can just take one thing like a sweater and roll it up and use it in the same way without the stuff sack.
When at home I personally keep a few buckwheat pillows around. I like both shapes: the Rectangular as well as Cylindrical. The larger pillow which is an American Standard pillow filled with nine pounds of buckwheat is used for side sleeping. I personally would rather stack two of the cylindrical pillows to achieve the same height. Or if I have only one rectangular pillow I will use it for back sleeping with it flat, and when I roll over for side sleeping I will fold it in half to raise the height. There is nothing like being able to prop the body in any position when resting and doing restorative yoga. When I travel, I would be lost if I forgot my buckwheat pillow!
Our Japanese Style Buckwheat Pillows easily adjust to fit your needs, encourage spinal alignment and help alleviate any pain. These pillows breathe better than any other material and will help you stay cool at night.
The Lucky Sheep Camp Pillow is a lighter weight and water resistant alternative to the indoor buckwheat pillow. Although the camp pillow is stuffed firmly with wool, it takes the shape of a cylindrical buckwheat pillow and offers a similar neck decompressing action. This has also become one of my go-to supports for neck relief and relaxation.
Click here to learn more about our Japanese Buckwheat Pillows and to purchase.