A bolster pillow is a long, firm, narrow, and often cylindrical cushion. You place it under other pillows for support on a bed or a sofa.
Today, yoga bolsters are increasing in popularity. Yoga practitioners use it as an accessory to provide comfort, support poses, and increase stretching. These bolsters are helpful during restorative postures and deep breathing exercises.
Restorative yoga has a deep soothing effect on the mind and nervous system. These classes use bolsters for support. The pillows encourage total release and relaxation. A bolster is a great help for pregnancy yoga and those working with injuries. The pillow offers support to any part of the body that needs more support.
You can use yoga bolsters in so many ways. If you have no idea where to start, here are some you might want to try.
Balasana or child’s pose is one of the most common and comfortable poses. Kneel on the floor and widen your knees apart. The bolster should be lengthways and between your thighs. Fold your torso over the bolster and turn your head to one side. Let your arms drape either side of the bolster or you can hug the bolster. It is vital that you let your shoulders rest. Let your front body soften into the support of the bolster. Turn your head to the other side after five minutes.
Sukhasana means “easy pose.” It may seem easy but sitting comfortably is one of the most challenging aspects of yoga. Sit on the yoga bolster with your legs crossed. Rest your hands on your thighs or knees. Feel the weight of your pelvis as you let yourself drop into the support of the bolster. Lift the crown of your head and notice the back of your neck lengthen. Feel your spine grow tall and be aware of your breathing. Sit for as long as you want.
This pose is a “legs up the wall” pose. Sit sideways against the wall. Your right hip and right shoulder should touch the wall. Swing your legs up the wall, and let your back and head rest flat on the ground in one smooth movement. Make sure your sitting bones are as close to the wall as possible. Shuffle yourself forwards if needed. Press your feet into the wall and lift your pelvis up. Slide the bolster underneath your pelvis and let your pelvis nestle into the bolster. Extend the legs straight up the wall. Your arms or hands should rest somewhere comfortable. You can put them on your belly or overhead or spread them wide on your sides. Stay for as long as you want, but ten to fifteen minutes would suffice.
A lot of athletes are now using yoga as part of their regular exercise regime. It is not advisable to practice yoga outdoors during the rainy days. But some still do while wearing a rain poncho.