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How to Use A Yoga Bolster for Beginners

You may have tried using a bolster at your local studio. Perhaps you've seen bolsters used in a YouTube or Zoom yoga class, but you're still not exactly sure how to use a bolster.

Below I will give you some tips and a few of my favourite poses to use a bolster for. Plus a few not-so-conventional ways to use your bolster. Because we're all about making the most out of the items you already have.

What is a Bolster?

A bolster is a long, narrow cushion or pillow filled with cotton, polyester or other fibres. They are usually firm enough to support the weight of your arms, legs or upper body. Bolsters are often used a decorative pillows, too! Bolsters usually have a washable cover that helps contain the inner filling.

Vinyl Bolsters easy to clean

Why do I need a Bolster?

A bolster can be used for many purposes. In yoga, they are most often used for Restorative and Yin Yoga or any style of yoga that requires you to hold poses for an extended period of time.

The right bolster can make yoga poses, stretches or movement more accessible, more comfortable and more suited for you unique body.

What if I don't have a Bolster?

If you don't have a bolster, you can purchase one here or make one with items you already have around your home. Try the cushions from your couch in place of a bolster. You can roll up a blanket or two to form a round bolster. Another alternative to bolsters is to stack some yoga blocks or books, then place a pillow on them so they feel supportive, but soft.

Check out the other blog posts we wrote about Yoga Prop Alternatives here, too!

Common Yoga Poses with a Bolster

Childs Pose with Bolster

  • Childs Pose (laying over bolster to soften back)
  • Supported Fish Pose (laying over bolster to open chest)
  • Supported Savasana (bolster under knees to soften low back)
  • Supported Twist (twist top leg onto bolster)
  • Staff Pose (seated on bolster to release hamstrings)

Not-so-Common Yoga Poses with a Bolster

  • Pigeon Pose (under hips to keep pelvis neutral)
    Pigeon Pose with a bolster for stability
  • Cobblers Pose (bolster under knees)
    Cobblers Pose Fold with bolster for support
  • Triangle Pose (hold bolster between hands to strengthen core)
    Triangle Pose with a bolster to strengthen core
  • Warrior 3 (use bolster as blocks under hands to help balance)
    Warrior 3 with a bolster for stability
  • Upward Dog Variation (place bolster under low belly to support lift)
    Upward Dog variations with a bolster
  • Dancer Pose (standing on bolster to challenge balance)
  • Seated Wide Leg Fold (place bolster on it's short end & rest head on the other end to support your fold)
  • Lizard Pose (use bolster under elbows or hands for support)

There are endless uses for a bolster in any shape and size. We hope you have fun exploring your practice in new ways with a bolster from Love My Mat.

xo Shelley xo

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