If you’re looking for a way to improve your yoga practice, consider incorporating a yoga bolster. These simple and affordable tools are predominantly used to support your body throughout your session and increase your overall comfort, but their benefits don’t stop there!
In this article, we will discuss the top seven benefits of using a yoga bolster during your yoga sessions. From increased flexibility to improved posture and beyond, these cushions might be the missing piece to helping you perform and reap the physical, mental, and spiritual rewards of any yoga pose. As you read, you’ll also learn why many yogis utilize yoga bolsters and in what types of yoga they are most frequently utilized.
Why Do Yogi’s Use Yoga Bolsters?
We often see our yogis as experts who can perform any yoga pose and master any technique flawlessly. While this might be true to an extent, many still use yoga bolsters in their own sessions as well as offering them to their students. In fact, most yogis wouldn’t have made it to the heights of their practice without
The reason for this is that yoga is filled with poses and positions that require significant understanding and immense strength to perform safely. One of the best ways to ensure a yogi and their students can acquire all the benefits of yoga without risking their health is to incorporate tools like yoga bolsters.
These cushions are an exceptional safety precaution, particularly for new students, because they can help people ease into positions until they’re more comfortable performing them without the bolster’s assistance. They can also rely on the bolster for support and strength, which can limit their risks of injury.
Of course, the same could be said for the yogis themselves. Yogis are constantly expanding their yoga-related horizons and still find themselves benefitting from the support and comfort yoga bolsters provide. They can also reap the same benefits as their students, which we’ll discuss in detail later on.
What Type of Yoga Uses Yoga Bolsters?
Yoga bolsters come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and degrees if firmness, making them a versatile tool you can use in any yoga session, regardless of the type of yoga you’re practicing. However, due to the benefits of this tool, there are some types of yoga that utilize it more than others.
The types of yoga that use bolsters as integral parts of their sessions include:
These specific types of yoga can rely heavily on bolsters to provide additional support, comfort, and relaxation for their students. Restorative yoga, for example, often involves holding poses for an extended period in order to relax the body by stretching it deeply and evenly.
A bolster can be used during this type of yoga session to provide support and help the student hold the pose comfortably without any strain or pain. This is also highly beneficial for women throughout stages of pregnancy, as their physique and center of gravity changes.
Similarly, yin yoga focuses on using gentle stretches that are held over a significant length of time while allowing gravity to slowly release the tension in your muscles. Bolsters are used in this practice as well because they provide the perfect amount of “give” needed for long-held postures and deeper stretches.
7 Benefits of Using a Yoga Bolster
There are numerous reasons why yoga bolsters are incorporated in regular yoga poses and sessions, regardless of the user’s experience level, physical ability, or yoga-related goals.
These diverse tools offer a range of benefits, but the top seven benefits of using a yoga bolster that we deem most influential include:
- Providing additional support
- Helping users ease into a position
- Reducing swelling and inflammation
- Improving posture and breathing
- Aids in relaxation and comfort
- Promotes deeper stretches and longer hold times
- Improves metabolism
Individuals using a yoga bolster could easily experience more than one of these benefits during various poses, which increases the safety and effectiveness of their overall session.
Below, we have discussed each benefit in more detail to help you better determine when it might be beneficial to use a yoga bolster in your regular yoga practices.
1. Providing additional support
Yoga consists of various poses and positions that often require a significant amount of strength, balance, and flexibility. For many, this is exactly the type of challenge they enjoy when practicing yoga, but for others, being unable to perform these poses can be discouraging or even unsafe if you aren’t physically ready yet.
Yoga bolsters can provide the necessary foundation and stability needed to perform poses properly and safely. This makes them exceptional tools for beginners as well as individuals who are trying to practice with injuries or physical limitations.
2. Helping users ease into a position
This benefit is closely tied to the previous benefit of providing additional support. Sometimes, the hardest part of a pose is getting your body into that position.
With the help of a yoga bolster, you can focus more on slowly easing yourself into the right position and less on supporting your entire body enough to do it on your own without risking injury.
3. Reducing swelling and inflammation
We’ve mentioned a few times now how yoga bolsters can help prevent injuries, which is incredibly important, but they can also help ease pains you might already be experiencing or develop throughout the session.
When placed in certain positions and paired with various poses, a yoga bolster can help alleviate swelling, inflammation, or tension in your body. The additional support helps prevent your body from straining excessively. If you’re already injured, its cushion will also provide additional padding and elevation for increased comfort and pain-reduction.
4. Improving posture and breathing
If you find that you’re often slumping throughout your yoga sessions or incapable of maintaining the ideal position for extended periods, you might benefit from placing a yoga bolster behind and/or underneath you.
This will help keep your spine straight and properly aligned, which can then improve your overall posture. Keeping yourself in this supported, upright position is also great for your breathing because it will encourage your diaphragm to open and close freely with each breath.
5. Promotes deeper stretches and longer hold times
Having the ability to rely on your yoga bolster throughout your sessions can also help you perform deeper stretches with ease and increase your overall hold times.
These tools reduce the amount of pressure and stress you place on various parts of your body that might be inhibiting you from performing more advanced poses.
6. Aids in relaxation and comfort
Arguably the best benefit of using a yoga bolster is how effective they can be in helping the user relax and stay comfortable throughout the session. It is not uncommon to see someone simply laying on top or underneath their yoga bolster and just enjoy its support while they perform breathing exercises or basic stretches.
This is why you’ll often see yoga bolsters in restorative yoga, where people are trying to reduce their stress, anxiety, or achieve other calming goals.
7. Improves metabolism
Believe it or not, but yoga bolsters are also able to help boost the user’s metabolism and enhance the functionality of their digestive system and gut. They do this by providing firm pressure to the abdomen while the user is in deep poses, which helps to stimulate and soothe both the abdominal muscles and digestive organs.
As a result, they can be helpful for individuals who suffer from digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease.
Yoga bolsters are a widely used tool that can help make your every day sessions safer, more relaxing, and more efficient.
Not only are there health benefits associated with them, such as pain relief and improved digestion, but there are countless mental and physical benefits as well. These can range from improved mood and relaxation to increase strength and flexibility. To conclude, which the yoga bolster might seem like a simple tool, you’d be amazed and how much it can help you achieve your yoga goals.