Whats The Purpose Of A Yoga Bolster
Can you do yoga without a pillow? Yes. Should you? That depends on your level of flexibility and style of yoga. You may feel like using a prop is cheating or you might base your practice on what others around you are doing. Heres the thing, that person may have been practicing for years, they may have been a gymnast before or they may not know what theyre doing.
If you use tools early on, you can actually get ahead of the pack and do it safely. The proper equipment can deepen your back-bends without putting strain on your lower back a can help you with inverted positions, and of course, your is a tool right?
How To Choose The Right Yoga Bolster
Bolsters come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, materials, and levels of firmness. It is important to ask yourself what you will be using the bolster for and what goals you hope to achieve. Do you want deeper stretches? More comfortable meditations? Longer yin yoga and restorative asanas? Support for pregnant yoga? Talking with a yoga instructor or trying a bolster in a studio class may help you dive deeper into which style of yoga bolsters is best for you.
Supported Fish Back Bend
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The Ultimate Guide To The Best Yoga Bolster For You
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Looking for the best yoga bolster for your yoga practice? Youve come to the right place! In this article, Ive reviewed the 10 best yoga bolsters on the market, to help you narrow down your choices and select the right yoga bolster pillow for you.
If you enjoy yoga, but often find that you are having trouble getting into the correct position or fell discomfort holding some poses, you definitely want to consider purchasing a yoga bolster.
Yoga bolsters and yoga blocks are designed to provide support for your body as you engage in different positions, allowing you to reap the full benefits and enjoyment of yoga.
If youve looked into purchasing a yoga bolster before, youve likely noticed that there are numerous options available, so many that it may even feel overwhelming to choose a product.
But, dont worry. My buying guide below will help you learn more about the different types of yoga bolsters available on the market, and the key features you will want to consider when selecting the right one for your practice and needs.
To Add Support & Reach Deep Relaxation
A bolster comes in handy when you need to modify the specific yoga pose for additional comfort and complete muscle release.
A Childs Pose is an excellent example of how a bolster can provide extra support for your torso, making the pose more gentle for your back and more relaxing for your mind. Place a bolster between the thighs and in front of you to fully rest your body on it, soften, and rest as long as you want.
Check the video demonstration of the supported Childs Pose with a yoga blanket and a bolster below.
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Our Pick For The Best Yoga Bolster
This was a tough review. Theres so many bolsters available and you never know when youll get a dud. Fortunately for us, we found a several really high quality options we can recommend.
For most yogis the round and standard shaped bolsters will accommodate 95% of the asanas youll do on a regular basis. The Hugger Mugger brand round and standard bolsters are both dense with just enough give to be comfortable while being supportive. Theyre covered with upholstery grade fabric and every time you buy one, a portion goes to support charity. Overall we found these to be the best value for the money and the most morally conscious bolsters.
Sol Living Organic Cotton Yoga Bolster
- keeps shape after many uses
- zippered removable cover for easy cleaning
- convenient handle on one side
- very heavy & thick
- might be too large for petite & short yogis
Upholstered in soft 100% organic cotton, Sol Living bolster is not only eco-friendly but also durable and very sturdy. It works great for restorative poses and passive stretching where you can just let your body go and allow the bolster to support you under the weight of gravity. While it might seem slightly overstuffed at first, the Sol Living bolster will break in with use and become more comfortable and softer.
The zippered cover is removable and can be either machine washed on cold or easily spot cleaned. The bolster also features a convenient strap for a smoother transition between the poses.Keep in mind that this bolster is big and thick. It might be even larger than the usual studio bolsters. While this makes it really comfy for the home practice, the prop weights too much to be carried to the studio.
Still, considering its affordability and quality, the Sol Living bolster is an excellent value for money.
- available in many bright colors
- makes a scrunching sound when moved
You can choose from the several bright, vibrant colors to match your equipment and/or personality.
On the downside, the bolster is heavy, and it wont be easy to take it out to the studio. Buckwheat bolsters also make a specific scrunching sound when moved, which can be slightly annoying to some.
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Yogaaccessories Round Yoga Bolster
- Large size: 28″ long x 10″ diameter 6 lbs.
- 100% cotton filling and cover
- round shape corresponds to the body curves
- handles for easy transport
- might have fabric smell out of the box
- collects lint & hair
- can be too rough against the skin
- too big for the short/petite yogis
If youre searching for a big and huggable yoga companion, YogaAccessories bolster might be an excellent option for you. The bolster is round-shaped making it super comfortable to sit on in the Hero Pose Virasana and use it as a back support for chest openers.
The bolster is made of 100% cotton, both the cover and filling and is available in the tons of colors from classic black to bright red and blue with a side mandala embroidery. The pillowcase is removable and can be machine washed on cold. There are handles on each end for extra comfort .
This bolster is very sturdy and firm. If you prefer softer surfaces, no worries. As the cotton settles, it will lose some firmness and become less bulky with use.
YogaAccessories offers an excellent price for this yoga accessory it is nearly twice cheaper than some of the bolsters from the leading brands. Yet, it performs well and will serve you for years to come.
Mind that the bolster is slightly bigger than advertised. It works wonders in restorative yoga but might feel uncomfortable in some poses or too large for short and petite people. Check out our other suggestions if youre looking for a smaller yoga bolster.
Hugger Mugger Brand Yoga Bolster
Hugger Mugger bolsters are simply the firmest and most comfortable aroundmaybe because each and every one is individually handmade in the USA! The foam core and cotton filling combined with a soft surface make this bolster a yogi must-have. Each cover is made using upholstery-grade fabrics in beautiful colors.
The Standard Bolster is a great size to start with if you are new to Restorative Yoga props. Reclined Hero’s Pose and Child’s Pose are some of the favorite uses for this bolster.
Flat top and bottom create stability
An exceptional staple for Restorative Yoga
Exceptional firmness maintains structural integrity
Upholstery-grade fabrics are durable and long lasting
Convenient handles on both ends
Handmade with love in the USA
Dimensions: 11″ x 25″ x 6″
Weight: 5 lb
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The 7 Best Yoga Pillows To Take Your Practice Up A Notch
By Alesandra Dubin for Prevention.
Restorative yoga is just that: a practice aimed at restoring your body through a more meditative, restful, and breath-focused practice. Yoga pillows are designed to help you get the most out of it.
Yoga bolsters are used most often for yin yoga and restorative yoga to support the body in different poses, explains Tiffany Cruikshank, founder of Yoga Medicine. These props are usually used to fill the space between you and the floor so maintaining their shape is especially important if you have limited mobility.
She notes that yoga pillows are meant to be both supportive while at the same time soft enough to be comfortable. To that end, she says the most important feature to look for is a dense and firm pillow. These props can get softer and more flimsy over time so the more dense they are, the better they will stand the test of time, she says.
Why Use A Yoga Bolster
Yoga bolsters are feel-good props similar to body pillows, but more firm and typically rectangular. They take strain off the body by adding height and/or support in restorative yoga poses.
If you are seeking a cozy, rejuvenating yoga session, these top-rated yoga pillows are the most popular amongst yoga instructors and studios. We reviewed them to help you find the best yoga bolster for taking a deep breath and getting the release you crave.
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Yoga Bolster Vs Meditation Pillow
Bolsters are sometimes mixed up with meditation pillows called zafus. Zafus are disk-shaped firm cushions used as a stool for raising your hips in a seated position to help reach the proper alignment, maintain natural spine curves and allow you to sit for more extended periods of time.
When compared to a bolster, zafu is less multifunctional they were designed primarily for meditation. While zafus are super comfortable for a seated practice, they are not large enough to be used in restorative practice and do not offer enough surface for full-body support.
What Is A Yoga Bolster
A yoga bolster is a thick and firm yoga accessory resembling a pillow used for supporting the body in certain poses, ease the muscle strain and help them soften to reach the state of deep relaxation. Along with other yoga props, such as yoga straps, yoga blocks, and yoga wheels, the bolster is widely utilized in slow and relaxing types of yoga such as restorative, prenatal, and Iyengar.
Confused with all the different types of yoga? Check out this easy and comprehensive breakdown of major yoga styles.
Meet our top pick yoga bolsters made in the US from high-quality materials including hemp, cotton, organic cotton or easy-care vinyl you choose! Pick your shape, color, and fabric and enjoy the solid support as well as deeper relaxation whether youre practicing at home or at the studio.
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Benefits Of A Yoga Bolster & How To Use It
Developed and introduced into the yoga practice by B.K.S. Iyengar, bolsters along with other yoga props were used to make yoga accessible to everyone including people with injuries, older practitioners and those with less flexibility. From helping yogis reach the proper posture and form, ease breathing and release tension, a yoga bolster now is a versatile yoga accessory that can be used in a variety of ways. And thanks to diversity in designs, a yoga bolster can even decorate your couch when not used as intented.
Here are some of the examples of how to integrate a yoga bolster into your routine.
Consider The Fabric & Filling
Fabric and filling of your yoga bolster will determine its durability and density as well as how well it will hold its shape after use and whether or not it will start collapsing with time.
Yoga bolsters are now upholstered in a variety of fabrics: from durable canvas-like fabric and organic cotton to hemp and vinyl. It is mostly a matter of preference, and each material has its pros and cons. Hemp, for example, is slightly more scratchy than organic cotton but is stronger and more durable. Vinyl is extremely easy to clean and non-fade in the sun, but completely non-absorbent and can add to a sweaty feeling.
A large number of bolsters now are filled with cotton batting with the foam core in the center, buckwheat husks, recycled fiberfill such as Kapok or polyester.
Cotton. This filling is extremely firm and sturdy but tends to soften and become less bulky with use.
Buckwheat. Bolsters filled with buckwheat husks are malleable and mold to your body shape. Most of the props filled with buckwheat can be adjusted to your preference you can easily add or remove the filling when you feel like. While being super convenient and organic, buckwheat filling is extremely heavy so dont expect to be able to tote your bolster to and from the yoga studio.
Fiber. Recycled fiberfill is generally super lightweight and softer than the cotton batting, but this comfort inevitably comes with a higher price tag.
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Brands I use and love
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Benefits Of A Yoga Pillow / Bolster
1. Support While youre working on flexibility, a support pillow can be a wonderful tool. They can be placed under your lower back to release tension during back-bends and bridge pose for example. This is especially useful if you have back problems and/or havent yet developed the core strength for advanced yoga positions.
2. Posture Using a yoga pillow or bolster in certain positions helps to elevate your rear while putting your knees lower than your hips. This is very important in maintaining an erect spine during both yoga and meditation.
3. Flexibility Have you ever tried to do a split before you could actually do a split? Everyone has. What ends up happening is you put your muscles and tendons in a position theyre not ready for so they tense up right at the worst time. This is what leads to many yoga injuries and its something that can be prevented by using the bolster as a middle ground while training your flexibility.
4. Opens the chest A bolster is often used to support the back and open the chest. This results in an enhanced breathing and opening of the heart center. It also helps you get the best stretch on the chest muscles and set your shoulders back which can relieve tension in the upper back from stress and sitting too long.
Top 8 Yoga Bolsters Comparison Chart
Firm back support, silky soft removable cover, and oh so cozy? This yoga bolster from Manduka is everything you could want in a yoga accessory. It is rectangular shaped to provide support along the spine or head while also saving space in storage. The fabric is absorbent, smooth, and easy to remove for washing. The core is 30% recycled polyester and the perfect amount of firmness for support and comfortable medium cushioning not too hard, but not too squishy and pillowy either.
Manduka is highly regarded in the yoga community for its super high quality products and dedication to sustainability. These bolsters last forever and are so easy to clean. Simply pull off the microber cover, machine wash cold, and hang to dry. The bolster core is absorbent yet water-resistant and thoroughly protected from sweat by the thick, durable cover. The well-stitched handle makes it easy to move around and transport to/from classes.
If youd rather proudly display your yoga bolster instead of stashing it away with old mats, the Brentwood Home Crystal Cove bolster is decorative and luxurious. The certified organic cotton lining and buckwheat fill are ultra-sustainable and non-toxic. You can even open the organic liner to remove buckwheat or replace the fill after a few years. The elaborately stitched outer cover is removable and washable for easy clean up.
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How To Use A Yoga Bolster
While youll find your groove with your bolster, and your yoga teacher can probably help you, I wanted to include a few tips to get you started.
Backbends The bolster works very well in assisting backbends. With all the back problems people have these days, building a flexible lumbar can go a long way toward protecting you if done right. Using the bolster under your back gives you the support youll need when building your flexibility and core strength. A round bolster works best for this move and alternatively you could also use a .
Easy pose The name implies this is an easy pose but its far from it for most of us. If you work a desk job, chances are your hip flexors and the muscles along your back are probably tight and rigid. When these muscles are tight its hard to sit on the flat floor and keep a straight spine.
By placing a support under your rear and elevating your hips youre able to lower your knees and easily maintain perfect posture even for long periods of time such as during meditation. For the easy pose a or rectangular bolster works best.
Wide Forward Bend For this pose youll place the pillow in front of you, between your legs, and lean forward to place your chest upon the pillow. This helps stretch your hamstrings and release tension in your lower back without straining your muscles. Any bolster would work find for this purpose.
Heres a quick video with a few more poses you might enjoy: