What Is a Yoga Bolster?

Last updated on February 16th, 2022 at 11:03 am

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Are you a fan of yoga and want to take your yoga practice to the next level? Have you been looking for a way to get a deeper stretch out of your poses without focusing on the muscles in your legs? If so, then read on.

Yoga bolsters (also called “bolster pillows” or “yoga pillows”) are an often overlooked but very useful tool in yoga practice. They come in many different shapes and sizes depending on their intended use.

Used for many different yoga poses in yin yoga and restorative practice, this tool is an oversized cushion, usually filled with cotton or some other soft material, that gives your body extra support in some poses where your body needs to be raised off the floor.

This popular yoga accessory provides comfort, support, and increased stretching during restorative yoga classes and breathing exercises. Like other yoga props, bolsters help take the strain off the body when changing from one pose to another.

Types of Yoga Bolsters

Bolsters are designed to support different poses and styles. Here are four types you may want to consider.

Round bolsters

Shaped like a cylinder, a round yoga bolster is often used by more advanced yogis. Most round yoga bolsters are heavier and longer than standard bolsters.

Round bolsters can be placed in many areas to provide support like the spine and the knees. Some even use them when doing seated poses however, this is more ideal to more experienced people like yoga instructors since round designs may feel less stable.

Rectangular bolsters

Yoga bolsters are designed to provide support for the back during backbends, forward folds, and other yoga poses.

A rectangular yoga bolster is more versatile than cylindrical ones because it can be used in both supine and seated postures. They are also more durable because they can better pad joints due to their size.

Pranayama bolsters

Just thinner and longer than rectangular bolster, pranayama bolster can be used to provide slight elevation for the chest.

They can also be used to cushion the knees when doing kneeling positions and backbend.

Meditation bolsters

Also known as Zafus, meditation pillows are cushions used when meditating. This helps the practitioner to keep their back straight while elevating their hips during meditation.

Most meditation bolsters are round but a few are also shaped like square or v-shaped.

Benefits of a Yoga Bolster

Developed and popularized by B.K.S. Iyengar, bolsters and other yoga accessories are made to make yoga accessible to everyone. Iyengar noticed that some of his students have trouble maintaining proper posture and restorative poses due to injuries or lack of flexibility, therefore, introducing this now popular yoga prop in every yoga studio.

Here are ways in which bolsters can benefit yoga practitioners during their yoga practice.

Releases back tensions and muscle strains

Releases back tensions and muscle strainsPin

Suffering from back pain? Yoga bolster releases back tensions and muscle strains. It is also an easy way to stretch out your back muscles and feel better mentally and physically.

With yoga bolster, you can achieve the flexibility that you need for posture, tissue health, and reducing muscle tension.

Helps in blood circulation

These body pillows not only provide comfort but also gives more support for the body to get the best blood circulation.

  • Leg circulation: Placing the bolster under the knees during Savasana (corpse pose) encourages a floating feeling.
  • Abdomen circulation: Place the bolster under your lower back for a supported backbend (bridge pose, fish pose, and wheel pose).
  • Chest circulation: To open the heart chakra, place the yoga bolster lengthwise on mid to upper back, neck, and head.

Increases flexibility

If you are worrying over your lack of flexibility, don’t worry because bolsters are a good addition to your yoga class and routine.

Like yoga blocks, bolsters decrease the chance of overstretching and injuries by bringing the floor closer to your reach.

Supports body and deep relaxation

There are many reasons why people choose to take up practicing yoga. Yoga is a holistic exercise that can help strengthen and lengthen the body, as well as provide deep relaxation.

Many practitioners find the practice of yoga to be relaxing and refreshing, especially after long days at work or school. Yoga bolsters work to support the body and allow for deeper stretches and poses that can bring about a sense of peace and calm.

However, not all bolsters are created equal and it is important to find the right size for you and something that will suit your needs.

Choosing the Best Yoga Bolsters for You

The best yoga bolster is the one that best caters to your style and needs. Here are the bolster features you should check out in choosing the right yoga pillow for you.

Size and shape

As mentioned above, there are different types of bolsters depending on the posture you are performing.

Before buying one, think about what style fits you best first. Consider your own height and weight as well to know if you would need a small or big bolster.

Bolster materials

Consider the materials of a bolster before purchasing one. What is the material used to make it? What is used to fill it? Is the material easy to clean?

Many bolster covers are made using natural fabrics like unbleached organic cotton and hemp. For the filling, on the other hand, polyester, foam, or natural buckwheat filling are used to keep the bolster’s shape.

Pattern

There are many styles and patterns of bolsters out there in the market. In choosing your bolster, you might as well consider if it is visually appealing.

You may want to look for a fun pattern that will coordinate with your gear to make your yoga class more exciting.

Price

Probably the most important thing you should consider when purchasing items is if it is within your budget?

If you are looking for cheaper bolsters, there are many affordable bolsters with good materials available. Just remember to consider the other features mentioned earlier before checking out your cart.

Care Tips for Your Yoga Pillow

yoga pillow tipsPin

Just like any other type of equipment you have, you should also take good care of your bolster so it could serve you for years.

Make sure to refer to your manufacturer’s instructions about how to properly care for your accessory. If your product doesn’t have instructions on them, here are the common things you can do to take care of your bolster:

  • Hand wash or machine wash the bolster to prevent growth of bacteria and germs.
  • Use cold water when washing the cover to prevent it from shrinking.
  • Avoid using drier and instead hang dry the bolster cover.

Restorative Yoga Poses with Yoga Bolster

If you are wondering how to use a bolster in your yoga routine, here are some yoga bolster-supported poses to get you started with your practice.

  • Supported Child’s Pose
  • Supported Forward Fold
  • Supported Backbend
  • Bound Angle Pose
  • Hero Pose
  • Wall Pose
  • Butterfly Pose

Using Yoga Bolster in Your Yoga Practice

When practicing yoga, it is important to consider the different types of props that may be used. There are many options for props, but one of the most popular is the bolster.

Yoga bolsters are great tools for yoga practitioners. Using it can help enhance your yoga practice by providing you with the support you need since the bolster is designed to maximize your stability and provide extra padding on your hips, shoulders, lower back, and head.

Always remember though to check in with your yoga instructor to be sure they are a safe option for a specific pose.

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