Just like in every other fitness routine, the simplest props down to the most sophisticated pieces of equipment are designed to enhance the overall result of your fitness session. And for yoga, the story isn’t different.
Interestingly, there is a wide variety of props, including bolsters, which are available to enhance your various yoga poses for the best result.
So, in case you may be a beginner yogi, and probably wonder or asking “what are the various way to use a yoga bolster?”
This article comes with a simplified answer to help you make the most of your yoga session with the help of the yoga pillow or bolster.
So, pull up a couch, grab a glass of your favorite drink to keep you company as you read this information blog post on ways to use a yoga bolster.
Related post: Best Yoga Bolster For Plus Size Women and Men
What is a Yoga Bolster?
A yoga bolster is a strong cushion that is used in various styles to provide comfort and support in yoga postures, permitting deeper stretching and thus more release. They also provide height and assistance to help open the chest or hip flexors.
Yoga bolsters have been most widely used in restorative yoga, Yin yoga, and pregnant yoga classes, where the extra padding can enhance the stretch without putting strain on joints or bones.
Sometimes your mat is simply insufficient. A yoga bolster provides an additional safety margin between you and the floor, allowing for greater comfort and revitalizing relief.
Types of a Yoga Bolster
- Rectangular bolsters
- Round bolsters
- Pranayama bolsters
- Meditation bolsters
If you're looking to get a bolster, consider how you will use it the most and make a choice accordingly.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all yoga bolster, but rectangular bolsters are the most adaptable.
How to use Yoga Bolsters?
1. For holding poses
If your body is not that flexible or you have an injury, a bolster will allow you to hold postures and assist you in performing more difficult yoga poses without straining your muscles or putting more pressure on your body.
With yoga bolster, difficult postures can be achieved for a longer duration.
2. For restorative poses
The main goal of restorative yoga is just to relieve anxiety and stress. A bolster will assist in retaining poses, transforming conventional yoga poses into more of a restorative practice.
With a bolster, you can undergo a restorative twist that further aids in sleep and a child's pose, which aids in keeping the chest elevated for improved therapeutic results.
3. For support during inversions
A bolster helps make inversion yoga relatively easy and less painful without putting more pressure on your head.
When performing inversion poses, a yoga bolster beneath your head helps to avoid excruciating friction with the floor.
A yoga bolsters under your scapulae will aid your posture and enable you to take advantage of inversion yoga in the shoulder stand or plow pose.
4. To heal injury
If you have an injury or are trying to recover from an illness, you don't have to forego your yoga practice as a bolster can become your best friend.
With the proper postures, a yoga bolster will assist you while kneeling, sitting, or bending for an extended time, thereby preventing pain and helping heal injuries. A bolster provides cushioning for sensitive body parts.
5. For promoting relaxation
Nobody enjoys lying on a hard floor for an extended period. Placing a bolster behind your back or beneath your knees allows you to fully relax your body. Relaxation aids in better breathing and stress relief.
6. For Better Breathing and Meditation
Many people find it exhausting to sit without support for an extended period. When you put a yoga bolster under your hips, it naturally supports the pose, which helps you achieve better performance when meditating.
Placing the bolster upward under your spine during meditation smooths out the breathing exercises.
It helps to expand the chest and body for longer and deeper breaths, which leads to better yoga performance.
7. For prenatal yoga
Yoga is suggested for women during pregnancy for benefits such as bladder control, ankle swelling reduction, and preparing future mothers for the journey ahead.
Yoga bolsters can be used to transform regular yoga for pregnant women without sacrificing the perks of yoga practice.
A pregnant woman could undergo certain yoga poses with the help of a yoga bolster. A bolster must therefore support the belly, keep it from squishing to the floor, and provide a comfortable rest for the head and arms.
8. For folds and bends
Deep bends can provide numerous benefits but are often difficult to execute. In essence, you do not need to put any strain on your body as a bolster will provide support and depth when performing these postures.
The bolster will stimulate the muscles by placing them in the correct location. It allows you to ease into these poses and hold them for a longer time.
9. For assisting the spine
Backbends, wheel pose, camel pose, and downward dog are excellent for stretching the spine and broadening the chest.
They are exceedingly difficult for many people; this is where a bolster comes in handy, as it helps to soothe into these postures.
Placing a yoga bolster in the proper position helps to relieve compression and prevent back pain. It improves the ability to perform challenging poses with nothing but an open mind.
10 relaxing yoga poses to try with a yoga bolster
Downward-facing dog with bolster support
Place a bolster across the upper edge of your mat. Bring yourself to the tabletop pose and position your hands on the bolster shoulder-width apart.
Take note of whether the weight in your wrists leans on the surface of the bolster.
Spread your knees, then put a bolster between them and rest your head and upper body on it. Hands can be resting on the bolster or the ground.
If you believe the bolster is low, place blankets or blocks beneath it until you reach a comfortable height.
To perform this pose, put a bolster under your lower spine and parallel to the wall, then extend your legs up the wall.
As you lie on your back, try bringing your hips close to the wall. Extend your legs and rest your arms by your sides.
Adjust the bolster so that it is parallel to your body and under your hips. As your glute lies solely on the pillow, your bent knee will then be elevated.
This base will relieve strain on your knees and hip flexors while enabling you to completely open up to the body's lower stretch.
Wide angle seated forward bend
Begin by sitting with your legs out in front of you. Position yourself so that you are literally on top of your sit bones.
Extend your legs as far to the side as is comfortable. Extend your legs and point your toes up toward the ceiling.
Place a bolster between your legs, lengthwise, with the short edge against your groin. Raise the other edge of the bolster with some yoga block if desired.
Begin by placing a bolster close to the top of your mat, lengthwise. Sit in front of the bolster, legs extended, and lean back slowly onto the cushion, hips remaining on the ground.
Sit on the edge of your yoga bolster, which should be vertically placed on your mat. Pressing your palms into the floor, lean back and slide your shoulders back until your shoulder blades touch the floor. Maintain a bent knee.
Spinal twist variation
Bring the prop right to your left hip to practice this yoga posture with a bolster. Take your upper body slowly over the bolster, eventually bringing your ear down to the prop and wrapping your arms around it. Consider bringing your other ear to the bolster for a deeper twist.
You can just use a bolster under your back for assistance in the hero pose. You can also adjust the height by putting blankets or blocks beneath the bolster.
Supported goddess pose
When sitting, the bolster should be snug against your buttocks. Lean back so that the bolster supports your spine but your buttocks are on the floor.
Separate your knees to either side, keeping your feet's soles together. Set your arms in a comfortable position.
Benefits of a Yoga Bolster
There are many benefits to using a yoga bolster in your practice. One of the most obvious benefits is that a bolster can help you to achieve more complex poses with correct alignment.
As a beginner or someone with limited mobility, this can help ease pain and discomfort.
A yoga bolster can also help to relieve stress and tension in the body. The prop can quickly calm and relax the mind and body when used alongside breath work and restorative poses.
If you've been sitting or standing in one position for too long, using a yoga bolster can help to relieve swelling, stiffness, and inflammation quickly.
So, if you're looking for a way to deepen your practice, ease pain and tension, or simply relax and rejuvenate, a yoga bolster might just be what you need!
Is yoga bolster necessary?
A yoga bolster can modify your practice for anyone who has back pain, knee pain, or limited flexibility by introducing additional support, cushion, and height.
They soften yoga poses while assisting with alignment. This one-of-a-kind yoga prop is specially designed to support and elevate different yoga poses.
How to choose a yoga bolster?
Consider the shape, style, and size
The first thing to take into consideration before purchasing a yoga bolster is the size and shape.
Yoga bolsters are available in a multitude of shapes and styles – circular, pranayama, rectangular, and meditation bolsters.
Consider how you intend to use the bolster to help you decide which option is best for you. You should take into account your height and weight.
Consider the fabric and filling
Many yoga bolsters are likely to be made of natural fabrics. These materials include organic cotton, hemp, suede velvet, and unbleached cotton.
You should consider the material used to fill a bolster. Foam and polyester are prevalently used since they are light in weight and help to keep the bolster in shape. Alternatively, you can select a yoga bolster filled with buckwheat hull.
Yoga bolsters cleaning and care
Before making a purchase, always assess how effortless it will be to wash and dry your bolster if it becomes dirty.
Protect your bolster from moisture, and air it regularly. Wash the cover only when necessary, as it may slightly shrink during washing, making covering the bolster more difficult.
If the cover does not fit snugly over your bolster, it would be too soft and provide no support.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are yoga bolsters beneficial for back pain?
A bolster used during slow, relaxing yoga practice can be an excellent way of treating both physical aches and mental tensions associated with back pain.
What is the ideal firmness of a yoga bolster?
They are tender on the outside, making them gentle on your bones. Most importantly, they are firm enough to retain their shape regardless of the stressors placed on them.
When should you use a yoga bolster?
Can't I just use a pillow instead?
If you haven't found the best yoga bolster, using pillows can be a viable option.
However, the effect will not be the same because pillows are much softer and typically wider in shape.
For instance, putting a pillow under your spine in yoga poses will make you feel cushier rather than open your chest.
What is the purpose of a yoga bolster?
A yoga bolsters intensely strengthens your ability to fully relax in yin or restorative yoga postures.
They aid the back in heart-opening postures or cradle the knee in postures that would be difficult on the joints otherwise.
Bolsters are useful for people who have limited flexibility or mobility. They also soften postures, allowing you to fully open and release your body.
Conclusion - 9 Simple Ways To Use A Yoga Bolster
Evidently, a yoga bolster is a must-have as one of you’re the props in your yoga kit. This is very important considering the various ways you can use a yoga bolster to enhance your workout session for a bumper result. So, in case you want to step up your yoga poses, a bolster can be a perfect tool to go for.