Bolsters are an incredible way to transform your yoga practice. Whether you’re a power yoga practitioner, a yin lover or if you adore a regular restorative practice, bolsters are the key to shaping yoga postures to suit you. Bolsters can be used to support the body as you sink into a soothing child’s pose, to lift your hips as you rise into Viparita Karani or ‘legs up the wall pose’ and can even help you access deeper stretches. Bolsters are one of the most popular yoga props, but often you’ll find they all come in the same size and shape which isn’t suitable for everyone. Us humans come in an array of shapes and sizes and we all have different preferences, that’s why we’re introducing our family of bolsters which come in four different shapes and sizes! In this post, you’ll meet each of our new bolster family members and learn how to use the different shapes and sizes in your yoga practice.
First up, we’d love you to meet the Hemp Buckwheat Bolster, our favourite yoga prop in a classic rounded shape, and made from hemp, one of the most sustainable raw materials on the planet. The entire bolster family includes hemp, which is an extremely versatile plant, with all aspects of it either being used for food or textiles. Hemp becomes softer with use, so the good news is that the more you use your bolster, the cosier and more comfortable it will become!
Child’s Pose is an ideal yoga asana to practice on the round hemp buckwheat bolster, as the bolster completely supports the body and allows you to truly let go and experience the posture in the calm and relaxed way it should be. If you suffer from knee pain or lower back and hip tightness, using a bolster for child’s pose is an absolute must to help you feel comfortable.
To practice Child’s Pose with the hemp round buckwheat bolster:
- Kneel on the ground, sitting back on your heels if possible (use a knee pad and natural cotton blanket to support your knees and hips if needed)
- Place the round hemp buckwheat bolster in front of you, so that one end of the bolster is between your legs.
- Gently lie your upper body down onto the bolster, with your arms relaxed either side.
- Turn your head to one side, then switch sides half way through the amount of time you want to stay in the pose for
Organic buckwheat hulls fill the rectangular bolster, which is also made from 100% eco friendly hemp. The rectangular shape of this bolster offers greater width and a flatter surface for supine postures, which is often a lot more suitable for restorative backbends, chest-openers and pregnancy yoga. It also means this bolster is sturdy and stable, and won’t roll over in your practice. We love using this bolster to open the chest and improve posture, and as a way to support the body in a restorative hip stretch or pigeon pose.
To practice the chest-opening posture:
- Sit on the ground, on top of a mat or blanket
- Place the rectangular buckwheat bolster behind you, so that one end of the bolster is against your tailbone as you’re sitting on the floor
- Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground, then gently lie back on the bolster, with your hands on your lower belly or to your sides.
- Stay here for a few minutes to gently open your chest, heart and lungs
- If you need a little more support for your lower back, prop yourself up with a natural cotton blanket
To practice the supported pigeon pose:
- Sit on the ground, on a mat or blanket
- Bend your knees and place your feet in front of you a little wider than your hips
- Drop your knees to the left, then turn to face over your left knee
- Place the rectangular buckwheat bolster in front of your left leg horizontally, and gently lower your body down on to the bolster, so that it is supporting you
- Relax here for a few minutes, then gently switch sides
A must-have item from the Yogamatters Hemp Collection, the small rectangular buckwheat bolster is made from the 100% natural and eco-friendly fibres you’ve learned about already, and filled with organic buckwheat hulls. Everyone has completely unique preferences when it comes to using a bolster, so we’ve made sure that you can even take out some of the buckwheat hulls to make the bolster softer and squishier if you like! The natural colours also mean the bolster fits seamlessly into your home décor. With its wide and flat surface, the small rectangular buckwheat bolster is ideal for postures like supported bridge pose and Viparita Karani or ‘legs up the wall pose’.
To practice supported bridge pose:
- Lie on your back on a mat or blanket, with the bolster next to you
- Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground
- Gently lift your hips, and slide the bolster underneath, then lower your hips down so that they’re supported by the bolster
- Allow your body to relax into the posture for a few minutes, focusing on breathing slowly and calmly
To practice Viparita Karani:
- From your supported bridge pose, simply lift your legs into the air
- Stay here for a few minutes, then gently bend your knees and place your feet back on the ground
Mini bolsters are an ideal accompaniment to a truly restful savasana, yoga nidra practice or sound bath, supporting your neck to allow total relaxation. If you find it difficult to totally ‘let go’ when you’re trying to relax, the mini buckwheat bolster is essential to help calm your nervous system and get the most from your relaxation. The mini bolster can also be placed along the spine for a gentle chest opener after a long day sitting at a desk, or underneath the stomach for digestive work and detoxification.
To use the hemp mini buckwheat bolster for neck support:
- Lie down on a mat or blanket, and get as comfortable as you can. You may like to use the Hemp Round Buckwheat Bolster to support your knees and relax your lower back.
- Raise your head and slide the mini buckwheat bolster under the back of your neck – remember that you can remove some of the buckwheat hulls if you want to change the height or size of bolster to suit you
- Relax your head down and prepare to let go.