Ease of posture and relief from any pain or hurt is of essential criterion in Yoga, to avoid getting stressed or pressurized on the body while practicing meditation or while performing an asana. For supporting back muscles, spinal cord, hips, and pelvic area and for prenatal yoga workouts, using yoga props or supports like bolsters, pillows or cushions is of great advantage.
What is a Yoga Bolster?
A yoga bolster is a trendy and much used yoga accessory that is used in multiple ways by Yoga enthusiasts, trainers and students alike. They are basically cushions that are either round or rectangular in shape. These can also be generally used as pillows or cushions to take support to counter bad postures. These are firmer than the normal pillows and hence can support your back well giving you relaxed feel.
Where to use bolsters in yoga?
Yoga Bolsters support Yoga practice for the individuals who experience physical limitations. These yoga bolsters are used in restorative and prenatal workouts and are of immense help in Yoga postures of which some are:
- Savasana or final resting posture.
- Supported back bend pose or reclined hero’s pose.
- Paschimottanasana or seated forward bend.
- Upavishta Konasana or wide-seated forward bend.
- Sukhasana or seated pose.
- Balasana or Child’s pose.
- Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana etc.
How to use these bolsters?
As discussed, yoga bolsters provide the essential support to deepen your pose and extend your stretch. For an effective result, place the bolster in different positions to support your body without hurting it. The main yoga poses where the bolsters provide ultimate comfort and relief from stress and anxiety are:
1. Savasana: The Savasana is practiced for body and mind relaxation and for good blood circulation throughout the body. To practice this asana, lie down on your back with feet spread apart and hands facing down. To achieve more out of this asana, place a bolster under your legs for an uplift in the thighs and hip region that gives you a relief from lower back pain or strain. In a variation, you can prop up the bolster to support your back, neck and head for a stretched body. Using of bolsters in this asana can release one from exhaustion, anxiety and stress.
2. Supported Backbend pose: This asana is a great pose for opening up of the chest, improving digestive system function and nourishes the vital organs. To practice this asana with a bolster pillow, sit on the floor with legs bound together with or without the help of a yoga strap. Now lie back onto the bolster for support of the upper back. This pose helps you get relief from a stiff neck and back muscles.
3. Child’s pose: Child’s pose is the yoga asana that relaxes you in every possible way at the same time providing a deep stretch to your spinal cord and back muscles. To practice this asana, kneel down and drag a bolster towards your chest. Now rest your front torso with head down or to the side on the bolster pillow. Adjust yourself till you are comfortable and relax.
How to choose Yoga Bolsters?
The bolsters are of two types either rectangular & flat or cylindrical, and are usually filled with thick cotton batting or other material that gives you a soothing and calming effect.. The rectangular bolsters are broad, sturdier and support your back easily. The cylindrical bolsters are narrow, lightweight and are good for opening up to the chest and are lightweight in contrast to the rectangular bolsters. Each bolster has its own uses. The cylindrical bolsters are handy, frivolous and are useful to carry while traveling, while the rectangular ones are useful in yoga poses, for a firm support while seated, and to support the spinal cord, maintaining the posture upright.
How to make a bolster pillow?
While the bolsters give you immense support in your yoga practice, it is also easy to make a yoga bolster yourself. All you require is to have the material, fillings, sewing needle and thread, and a sewing machine. Determine the size of the bolster you wish for. For ex: if you are going for a 30” x 8” bolster, you need to cut the fabric in one 31” x 26” long rectangular piece and two 9” circular pieces. Now join the inseams and sew the edges of the 31” x 26” fabric cloth till it measures 30”. Join this fabric to the circular pieces on the wrong side and leave an opening at one end to fill in the bolster with stuffing. Turn the stitched bolster now upside down and fill in with fillings of your choice for a relaxed, good therapy and yoga practice.
What are the benefits of Yoga Bolsters:
The bolsters are inexpensive and can be bought in online stores. These yoga or meditation bolsters are of much importance when you want to deepen your practice, make poses easier and within reach, adjust your practice according to the physical limitations of the body, or to plainly calm down and get a good stretch.
Bolsters softly open up your chest, ribs and tummy, increase blood flow to vital organs, calms down your breath, reduces weariness and stress in the body and your body will feel extremely supported when sleeping on a bolster.
These can be used in day-to-day life for toddlers, and babies as cushions and supports so that they do not hurt themselves or fall off, can be used as a decor or for increased comfort at home or at work. Whatever the reason is, bolsters with their unique shape and styling, can add a flair to your workouts and home.