Some types of yoga are vigorous to keep you physically fit, and others focus on helping you achieve complete relaxation. A very popular yoga practice that promotes relaxation is restorative yoga which is based on the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar. To elaborate, restorative yoga is a practice where you hold poses for a long time while sitting or lying down. Often, the poses require props like a bolster pillow and, of course, it is essential to know how to use a yoga bolster correctly as much as it is vital to understand its benefits.
When you search for yoga bolsters, you will see that they come in different shapes and sizes to match your preference and needs. Likewise, they are also made of different materials. Nonetheless, the most popular that is used in restorative yoga looks like a short log. Although some yogis do not see the need for yoga bolsters in their practice, this prop is important because it provides support to your poses even if you are already an expert and all the more if you are a beginner.
A yoga bolster helps your body “open up” so that you can soak in all the benefits of a yoga pose. That is most especially true for a restorative practice because you have to stay still in a position for five minutes or more. Likewise, using this prop does not mean you are cheating that is why you should not be hesitant to use it whenever you practice. In addition, a yoga bolster will help you find stillness so that you can relax your mind and body while practicing restorative yoga poses.
How to Use a Yoga Bolster in Restorative Poses
Now, that you have an idea about the benefits that you will get from using a yoga bolster, learning how to use it properly will ensure that you will gain such.
This pose is excellent for opening the back and stretching the legs. You will benefit greatly from this pose if you are a person who sits for long periods in front of the computer. To use a yoga bolster in this pose, position yourself in a child’s pose with your legs apart. Place the pillow under your torso then, rest your head sideways facing your left or right. Place your arms resting on your sides, close your eyes and relax in this pose for five minutes or more.
Supported Savasana or Deadman’s Pose
In most yoga styles, this pose is done at the end of each practice because this is when you rest after a vigorous practice. However, in restorative yoga, this is sometimes done in the beginning. What you just need to do is lie down on your yoga mat with legs hip-width apart then, place the bolster under your thighs. Completely let go and relax by placing your arms on your side like a dead man. Close your eyes and stay in it for 10 minutes, or as long as you want if you decide to do this at the end of your practice.
This pose helps open up the heart and the rib muscles, and with the use of a bolster, it gives an added stretch to the shoulders and the upper arm. For this, you need to place the bolster on the yoga mat then, lie down and make sure to position yourself where the head touches the top of the bolster. Place your arms on the side, and the legs should be extended hip-width apart. Again, close your eyes, relax, and stay in the position for five minutes.
Supported Reclined Bound Angle Pose
If you want a pose that is a great hip opener, this one is for you. This pose also helps release the lower back and is beneficial if you are having menstrual cramps. Start by placing the bolster pillow vertically on the mat then, do a seated bound angle pose with your lower back facing the bottom of the bolster. Slowly lie down making sure that your entire back and your head is on the pillow. Of course, make adjustments as needed. Place your hand on your thighs, close your eyes, relax, and feel the stretch. Stay in the pose for about five minutes.
Supported Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Fold
The seated forward fold is not only good in stretching the back but also the hamstrings. This is helpful as well in reducing stress and anxiety. To do the pose, start by sitting on your mat with your legs extended together. Place the bolster pillow on top of your legs then, fold forward and rest your head on the pillow sideways. Rest your arms on the side or hold onto the pillow while you relax. Close your eyes and stay in the pose for five minutes.
Twists are awesome, whether you do it sitting down, lying, or standing up because they help release toxins from your body. When done restoratively, it also gives your legs and back a good stretch. You can do this pose by placing the bolster in a vertical position on the yoga mat, sit with your hips against the bolster and put your legs on the left side. Fold forward and place your head sideways. Stay in this for five minutes and then do the same thing on the other side.
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The yoga bolster may come in different shapes and sizes but its purpose in restorative yoga is the same, and that is to give support. Learning how to use a yoga bolster correctly is vital so that you can strengthen the foundations of your restorative yoga practice or any other practice for that matter. This yoga prop was not only made for beginners because advanced yoga practitioners can also benefit from it.
On another note, restorative yoga is often practiced after a vigorous exercise activity. However, this is still going to be beneficial even if this is your sole fitness regimen because even if you won’t be sweating, the relaxation and the stretching are great for the health of the mind and body.