The Brief: I’m definitely a proponent of meditation — the benefits of sitting quietly in peace for a few minutes each day have been touted by doctors, therapists, and mindfulness experts of all stripes. Stress can do a number of harmful things to the body, but it can also weaken the immune system, and right now we need all of the help we can get in that area.
However, it can be a test of will for me to simply meditate successfully each day. I found a meditation app that I love using, but once I’ve settled into doing a 5- or 10-minute session with it, I have to actively resist opening up Instagram, Gmail, or Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp instead for a few moments that are mindless instead of mindful. It’s hard now, with time feeling very amorphous, remembering to have a consistent practice.
So when I was sent the Ostrich Loop Pillow, which is intended to be used for catching some zzz’s while traveling, my first thought was, “I’m going to start using this as a meditation pillow.” Meditation pillows are indeed a thing, but you usually sit on them. This is one that you wear on your face.
The Ostrich Loop Pillow is one of the brand’s many quirky travel pillows. As the name suggests, it is one big loop that you wrap around your head, place gently over your eyes, and secure at the back with Velcro. It’s filled with super lightweight microbeads that feel just a little bit grainier than sand.Admittedly, it takes a couple of tries to get the fit of the Loop Pillow just right on your head. But once you’re Velcroed into place, you don’t have to undo it in the future. It does feel oddly calming once it’s on, giving somewhat of a weighted-blanket effect, while weighing barely a single pound.
I like the blackout effect of the Loop Pillow, its soft texture, and especially that the Velcro closure doesn’t pull out my hair every time I wear it. It leaves my ears free to listen to my meditation app or a YouTube video through my earbuds if I want. Meditating with it on does feel like putting on a “do not disturb” sign, and the temporary darkness it provides helps me focus more on my breathing and on quieting my mind for those few minutes each day.
I only wish it were a better eye mask for sleeping all night in — its plushy bulk makes it a great pillow, but not a great mask to wear if you’re already sleeping on a pillow. However, many of the product’s reviewers wear it to sleep without an issue, saying things like, “It knocks me out in minutes.”
Closing Argument: No, you don’t need any special products in order to meditate — that’s the beauty of it. But these days, if your home is also your office, your workout studio, your child’s classroom, and your private Netflix marathon chamber, perhaps using the Ostrich Loop Pillow for a few minutes could be a welcome reprieve from those other things that are vying for your attention all day.