Yoga Bolster

Definition - What does Yoga Bolster mean?

A yoga bolster is a type of yoga prop that assists the yogi in asana practice, such as helping to cushion and properly align the body. Typically, a bolster is a long, thick pillow or cushion that can be cylindrical in shape or rectangular, often with a cover that can be removed for cleaning. A typical cylindrical yoga bolster, for example, comes in a range of sizes, but a common size is seven to nine inches in diameter and 22 to 26 inches long.

In general, the popularization of yoga bolsters and props is credited to yoga teacher and founder of Iyengar yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar (1918-2014).

Yogapedia explains Yoga Bolster

The yoga bolster supports the yogi's body in deep relaxation, allowing the muscles to passively relax; and in seated or reclining postures, it eases the strain and allows the yogi to go deeper in the pose. A bolster can also be used to support the spine and promote lung expansion during pranayama.

Here are a few examples of how yoga bolsters can be used in various asanas:

  • In savasana (corpse pose), the bolster is placed under the knees to ease lower back strain.
  • In balasana (child's pose), the bolster is placed between the legs so that when the body folds forward, it rests on the bolster.
  • In viparita karani (legs-up-the-wall pose), the bolster is placed under the hips, making the pose more restful.

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