In yoga, the ultimate goal is to achieve a state of union with the divine and to experience a sense of oneness with all beings including your atman (inner-self). This requires a deep sense of humility and a willingness to let go of the ego. Many practitioners avoid taking support from props like buckwheat bolster to perfect their postures. They believe they would fail to deepen their practice with such support, which shall be achieved independently. Such a method becomes a source of disturbance while practising yoga. We encourage yoga practitioners to include props in their routines as they help to deepen practice, achieve proper alignment, and prevent injury.
One of the essential tools used in yoga practice is the bolster. This robust and dense cushion is designed to provide support, balance, and alignment to the body during various yoga postures, making the practice more comfortable and effective. It provides a safe and supportive environment for all practitioners to explore and grow in their practice. In this blog, we will outline how a bolster can help in yoga practice.
What is a Yoga Bolster?
A yoga bolster is a cushioned prop that is used to support and enhance yoga poses. It is usually a cylindrical or rectangular-shaped pillow that is filled with dense material such as buckwheat hull, cotton or foam. Bolsters are commonly used in restorative and yin yoga classes to help practitioners relax into poses and hold them for longer periods of time. They can also be used in other styles of yoga to provide support and help deepen stretches. Bolsters come in different sizes and shapes to accommodate various body types and yoga poses.
Orenda India curates Buckwheat Bolsters from a sustainable and renewable resource. Compared to other synthetic Bolster filling, we use buckwheat hull which is a natural, non-toxic material that does not emit harmful chemicals or pollutants. Buckwheat hulls are firm and supportive, which makes them ideal for use as a bolster filler. They conform to the shape of the practitioner’s body providing customized support.
Benefits of Buckwheat Bolster
Buckwheat hulls are firm and supportive, which makes them ideal for use as bolster filling. They conform to the shape of your head and neck, providing customized support.
Buckwheat hulls are breathable, which means they allow air to circulate through the bolster. This helps to keep the bolster cool and odour free.
Buckwheat hulls are naturally hypoallergenic, which makes them a great choice for people with allergies or sensitivities to other bolster fillings.
4. Sustainable Buckwheat Bolster
Buckwheat is a sustainable crop that requires minimal water and pesticides to grow. Using buckwheat hulls as an Orenda India bolster filling is an eco-friendly choice.
Buckwheat hulls are durable and long-lasting, so you won’t have to replace your bolster as often as you would with other types of fillings.
On the other hand, we craft the bolster cover with biodegradable and recyclable cork. It is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees, which can be harvested every 9-12 years without harming the tree. The harvesting process actually helps the tree absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making it a carbon-negative material. Additionally, cork is biodegradable and can be recycled.
Types of Bolster
1. Rectangular Buckwheat Bolster
The rectangular bolster is the most common type of bolster used in yoga practice. It’s a dense, rectangular cushion filled with buckwheat hull which provides support to various parts of the body. It’s ideal for seated poses, backbends, and restorative yoga. It provides support to the back, neck, knees, and hips. The rectangular bolster helps in achieving a comfortable and safe practice, ensuring that a practitioner don’t strain or force their body beyond its limits.
2. Round Bolster
The round bolster is another popular type of bolster used in yoga practice. It has a cylindrical shape with a curved top and bottom, making it versatile in supporting forward bends, heart-opening poses, and backbends. The circular bolster is suitable for practitioners who prefer more natural curves when practising poses, as it provides support to the lower back, hips, and knees. It’s also ideal for pregnant women and people with back and joint pain.
How to Use a Bolster?
1. Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga involves getting into gentle poses that help to calm your mind and relax your body. The bolster is ideal for this type of yoga since it helps to provide gentle support to your body while you relax into a pose. It can be placed under your knees when you lie on your back, or under your chest when you want to rest your head or support your upper body when in a seated or kneeling position.
Meditation is an important aspect of yoga as it helps to calm your mind and improve your focus. A bolster can be used as a prop during meditation to help align your spine, making it easier to sit up straight while reducing tension and discomfort. Placing the bolster under your buttocks or hips can provide you with the necessary lift and support to stay in a meditative position for an extended period.
3. Yin Yoga
Yin yoga is a slow-paced type of yoga that involves holding poses for an extended period. Bolsters can be used to support various parts of the body, allowing you to hold poses for longer periods. For instance, placing the bolster under your shoulders or chest can help release tension in the upper back, while placing it under your hips can facilitate forward bends.
4. Pregnancy Yoga
Pregnancy yoga is a great way to stay active and relieve physical and emotional discomfort during pregnancy. Bolsters can be used to provide support and comfort to a pregnant woman’s body during various poses. For instance, placing the bolster under your hips while sitting cross-legged can help release the pressure on your pelvis. It can also be used to support the back when lying down on your side.
Backbends are an essential part of yoga as they help open up the chest and relieve tension in the shoulders, neck, and spine. Bolsters can aid in practising backbends safely and comfortably by providing support to the back, chest or head. Placing the bolster under your spine can help support your backbend, making the pose more accessible and comfortable.
In conclusion, bolsters are essential props to have in your yoga practice as they provide support, alignment, and comfort, making the practice more accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yoga practitioner, incorporating a bolster into your practice can help you achieve more profound and transformative experiences in your yoga practice.
Bolsters play an essential role in enhancing comfort and support in the practice of yoga. Choosing the right yoga bolster for your practice will depend on your body type, the yoga style you practice, and your preference. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the significance of yoga bolsters.