Yoga pants and leggings might look similar, and many people often think they're the same, but…
A yoga bolster is a great yoga prop that can help practitioners achieve better results in many restorative poses. The accessory itself resembles a firm rectangular or cylindrical cushion that is meant to modify the different asanas, according to the yogi’s needs. Although yoga props such as yoga bolsters are said to be particularly useful for beginners, older practitioners, and those with injuries or less flexibility, they’re actually great for anyone who practices yoga and wants to move on to the next level.
Yoga bolsters come in different shapes and sizes and can be made of a variety of materials. They can be used to achieve proper form in challenging poses or relieve muscle tension and allow the body to relax into a pose without feeling discomfort. A bolster’s degree of hardness is an important factor to take into account. Too soft won’t support you enough and too hard won’t allow you to sink down and relax into the stretch.
Here’s our breakdown of the different types of bolsters and their best qualities.
Rectangular yoga bolsters
Rectangular yoga bolsters are best for stacking and creating elevation. You can easily stack them on top of yoga blocks when you need more height. They’re great for anyone who wants to increase their flexibility over time. Because of their flat surface, rectangular yoga bolsters are the perfect prop for supported backbends and Child’s Pose.
A great example of a quality rectangular bolster is the Everyday Yoga High Impact Rectangular Yoga Bolster. It’s made of durable materials that make it firm yet provide superior cushioning.
|High Impact Rectangular Yoga Bolster, Everyday Yoga||High Impact Stardust Rectangular, Everyday Yoga||Low Impact Rectangular Yoga Bolster, Everyday Yoga|
Round yoga bolsters
Round yoga bolsters are more versatile because they adapt to the curves of the body more easily. They’re great for the “hugging” variations of some poses. Round bolsters support the natural arch of the spine and can aid in deepening a backbend or serve as a chest-opening tool when positioned along the spine. Some people use them as knee support in Savasana in order to reap the benefits of complete relaxation of both the mind and body.
The Hugger Mugger Round Solid Yoga Bolster is a standard round yoga bolster. It is extra firm and provides the necessary stability in a variety of poses.
Pranayama yoga bolster
The term Pranayama refers to the proper breathwork during a yoga session. Pranayama bolsters are specially designed yoga props that are meant to provide support for deeper breathing. Their shape is similar to that of the rectangular bolsters. The bolster’s flat top and bottom provide stability while their more rounded edges make them more comfortable to lie on. These bolsters also tend to be less bulky than the round ones.
Take a look at the Hugger Mugger Pranayama Solid Yoga Bolster if you want to try out this type of bolster for yourself. It’s meant to help you expand your rib cage, resulting in a deepening of your inhales and a slowing down of your exhales.
Junior/ Lean yoga bolsters
Junior bolsters are not unlike the standard rectangular bolsters, though they have a more narrow profile. They’re especially suitable for kids and petite adults. However, these bolsters can be used by anyone, as they have proven to be as versatile as a pranayama yoga bolster. The lean bolsters are best suited for restorative and Yin Yoga.
The Manduka Enlight Lean Yoga Bolster is lightweight yet provides great support and cushioning.
The shape and size of a bolster are not the only things that need to be considered when choosing the right bolster. The filling of the bolster has a great impact on its firmness and density. Cotton is one of the most common filling materials used. Such bolsters tend to be very firm and sturdy at the beginning, but they do soften over time.
You’ll notice that most bolsters are filled with a combination of foam and cotton. The foam core of the Hugger Mugger JR Yoga Bolster ensures that the bolster maintains its shape while the cotton batting ensures its firm density and structural stability.
Another popular filling material is buckwheat hulls. This organic alternative provides firm support and adapts to the body’s curves without losing its shape over time.
Take a look at the Hugger Mugger Zen Yoga Meditation Cushion.
Fiberfill yoga bolsters
Bolsters filled with recycled fiberfill tend to be more expensive due to the quality of the material. They tend to be softer and more lightweight than cotton-filled bolsters, which ultimately makes them more sought after.
A good example of such bolster is the high-quality Manduka Enlight Round Yoga Bolster
Whether you want to improve your flexibility or make difficult poses more comfortable, there’s a yoga bolster that can help you achieve your goal. These helpful yoga props come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the type of yoga and the practitioner’s needs. They can be used to achieve proper alignment and posture or to make a particularly challenging pose easier.
Yoga bolsters are a great addition to any yogi’s toolkit as they will not only improve your performance but also put your mind at ease so you can get the most out of your practice.