A yoga bolster is a popular yoga accessory that can be used in various ways. Bolsters are essentially cushions that are usually either cylindrical or rectangular in shape, and they are often stuffed with thick cotton batting or with things like buckwheat. Due to the rigors of some yoga practice, many bolsters feature washable covers, which helps to extend their lives.
Many of the common yoga accessories like the yoga bolster really weren’t used with great regularity until the 1960s. This is when some practitioners of yoga, like B.K.S. Iyengar noted that many students had trouble maintaining proper posture in certain poses because of things like injury or lack of flexibility. In order to encourage more accurate positioning, Iyengar and others developed equipment that would help people perform poses with greater comfort and better form.
The yoga bolster comes out of this tradition of finding ways to compensate for imperfect form or physical limitations, and it may be used in a variety of poses to help extend stretch. These cushions are also valuable for those promoting comfort in those people who have injuries. Women who are participating in prenatal yoga may get much greater support for the lower back and other parts of the body with a bolster’s help.
There are numerous positions in which a yoga bolster can be used. These include standard cross-legged meditative positions. Such poses may be more comfortable when sitting on bolster raises the hips, while the legs and feet are slightly lower and are on the floor.
Corpse pose, where the person lies on the back may be more comfortable if a bolster is between the legs, or inserted in the space between the lower back and the mat. When people attempt child’s pose, they may not be able to get hips to touch the feet, and a yoga bolster between hips and feet can be useful too. Some people use a bolster in an upright position to support the head during downward dog.
Some yoga classes and gyms have bolsters available for use during class. Those who practice regularly may want to purchase their own bolsters, and there are many sporting goods stores, department stores and online shops that sell them. Though some can be purchased inexpensively, most will cost over $20 US Dollars (USD), and midrange price for those with features like washable covers is about $50-$90 USD. Organic bolsters or those made with natural materials are likely to be the most expensive.
Beginning yoga students may be unsure if they require a yoga bolster for classwork. It’s advised that people discuss this with the teacher. Usually, unless prenatal yoga is practiced, they aren’t required, but they may be helpful in promoting correct form and in mastering the poses without discomfort.