What are Yoga Bolsters and Who Needs Them Anyway You Ask?
Many of you will have done yoga classes with never a bolster in sight, or maybe they are off to the side gathering dust.
Indeed, Vinyasa, or Ashtanga have a flow where Yoga Bolsters may not be as practical.
But they can be a fun addition to any yoga class, likely at the beginning or often towards the end.
But, in other forms of yoga, like Iyengar Yoga, Hatha Yoga or Yin Yoga, using a bolster for support to hold a pose longer allows the body to absorb the benefits.
One key to working with Yoga Bolsters – or any yoga props – is to understand what they can be used for and the support they can provide. Yoga Bolsters and other props can bring another dimension to your practice and, of course, they can be fun.
Bolsters are typically a cylindrical shaped pillow coming in a variety of sizes and shapes. Commonly, they are cylindrical, firm but not hard, and soft but not mushy. They have many uses:
Laying on it face up, either in line with the spine, supporting the length of the back,
Perpendicular to the back, supporting the lower shoulder blades.
Supporting the hips when lying with the legs up the wall.
Support the back of the head while lying with the calves supported on a chair.
In restorative poses, the bolster is used to support the thigh in hand to big toe pose.
Bolsters can be used just to sit on. Sitting cross legged, lotus pose, cobblers pose, basic twists to name a few.
Next time you see an instructor using a yoga bolster, pay attention to how they are adapting it to the pose. Think about how you would use this adaptation in your practice. Experiment. Adjusting the bolster a tiny amount may make all the difference in enjoying a deeper release.
Enjoy your practice!
Kelly Cooper, RYT
AYC Public Class Teacher with 17 years teaching experience