Bolsters are an excellent yogic prop for both active and passive poses. Especially in restorative poses or when recovering from an injury, using bolters can help you focus on proper alignment and relaxation in the poses, rather than straining for position.
What Is a Bolster?
Bolsters are round, densely stuffed pillows, usually a foot or two in length and less than a foot in diameter. They combine firmness approaching that of a block with the support of a pillow.
Using a Bolster
Bolster are best used for passive support of parts of the body in restorative poses. You can use bolsters behind the back in yoga nidra (yogic sleep, a restful posture) or under the knees to relieve pressure on the back in corpse pose (another still, restorative posture).
In a seated position, a bolster under the hips and sit bones will lift the hips above the level of the knees, taking pressure off the lower back. You can also use bolsters under the knees while sitting cross legged or when pressing the soles of the feet together if the knees don't touch the floor. Bolsters under the knees will help the legs relax so that you can concentrate on the stretch.
Bolsters are easy-to-use yoga props that are especially useful in restorative yoga, meditation postures, when recovering from an injury, or when you need to make a modification to a full posture. Bolsters work best as passive props in restful positions, assisting in relaxation of the body and mind so that the yogi can concentrate on correct alignment and deepening the pose safely and effectively.