How to use a Yoga Bolster? 20 exercises in pictures
Have you recently started practicing Yin Yoga and want to know how to use a bolster? You have just invested in a Yoga Bolster and you are looking for positions positions to perform with this cylindrical cushion ? Or maybe you have back problems and have read that the bolster is an excellent accessory to relax the spine and relieve tension ? Whatever the reason, you’re in the right place!
Yogom has worked hard to bring you the How to use a bolster” guide as complete as possible. Discover more 20 postures (and their variations) to realize with the bolster for relieve your back, open your heart and breathe better and reach a state of relaxation with deep stretching! The variations have the same benefits as the basic position, they just serve the purpose that everyone, regardless of their physical problems, can perform the positions and enjoy their benefits.
Which bolster to choose?
1. The Butterfly : Baddha Konasana
2. Twist : Jathara Parivartanasana
3. Corpse pose: Savasana
4. The Bridge: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
5. The Saddle: Supta Vajrasana
6. The Dragonfly : Parsva Bhuja Dandasana
7. The Caterpillar : Pascimottanasana
8. The Frog : Mandukasana
9. The Sphinx and the Seal : Bhujangasana
10. The Deer : Mrigasana
11. Goddess of Sleep: Supta Baddha Konasana
12. The child : Adho Mukha Virasana
13. Western Stretch: Paschimottanasana
14. The Snail: Viparita Karani or Alasana
15. The Camel : Ustrasana
16. The four-pronged pose: Chaturanga
17. The Cobra: Bhujangasana
18. The Fish : Matsyasana
19. The Dragon : Anjaneyasana
20. The Swan : kapotasana
The woolen bolster already filled with buckwheat hulls
Made in Europe and certified by the eco-responsible standard Okeo-Texstandard, the bolster of the Yogom Softness Range is a high quality product. Composed of 2 covers: a first one in cotton which contains the buckwheat and which thanks to its zipper allows you to modulate the volume of pods, and a second one in machine washable wool. You can carry it easily thanks to its hanse on the side and leave it in your living room within reach of hand or back because it is in addition to being soft, beautiful! The Gentle Range also includes a yoga mat mat, a meditation mat a meditation meditation zafu and a blanket also made of wool.
The empty cotton bolster cover to fill yourself
The ecological, economical and fun solution to equip yourself at a lower cost. Adept of upcycling, we suggest you tobuy only one cotton cover and fill it yourself fill it yourself with old clothes old clothes, tea towels, blankets and also modulate the volume and density yourself.
Also machine washable, with a zipper and a side handle, this is truly one of the innovations we are most proud of because it feels exactly the same as a bolster filled with cereals such as buckwheat, spelt or kapok.
1- The Butterfly: Baddha Konasana
The Butterfly Posture allows a total and deep relaxation and an important mental release. She improves the flexibility of the lower back, glutes and lower limbs. It also solicits the sacrum and the ankles…
1. Sit on your yoga mat and bring your arches together
2. Place the yoga pillow in front of your ankles.
3. Inhale as you raise your back, then exhale as you round it.
4. Let your forehead rest on the bolster
5. Relax all your limbs, let gravity act and let you gradually approach the ground
6. Stay 6 minutes
If you feel pain in your kneecaps: put a rectangular brick under each thigh for more comfort.
Meridians : for each position we will give you indications of the energy channels used. In Yin Yoga where the bolster is used a lot. Each exercise aims to work a meridian. They are derived from traditional Chinese medicine (Learn more about Chinese Meridians).
The Butterfly solicits the meridians: Gallbladder, Bladder, Kidneys, Liver
The butterfly at rest:
Its objective is to go as far as possible in the relaxation of the body and the mind.
The Half Butterfly:
It aims to improve blood circulation in the hip, but also the internal muscles of the pelvis and thigh.
2- Twist: Jathara Parivartanasana
This twist relaxes the back, stretches the spine and rebalances the nervous system. It improves blood circulation and stimulates the digestive system. The twists are very powerful asanas because they detoxify.
1. ALie down on the yoga mat and place the cushion in front of you, lengthwise 2. PTie your legs together on your side. 3. Lay your chest on the cushion, place your hands on each side. 4. Place your right cheek on the cushion to accentuate the twist 5. Relax all your limbs for 3 to 5 minutes and then do the same thing by changing sides.
If you feel pain in the neck: do not twist your neck
Meridians: Gallbladder and Bladder
Variations: there are several variations of this asana, only the location of the yoga pillow changes.
3- use a bolster in the CADAVRE POSTURE
This asana allows you to relax all your muscles (lower limbs, lower back) without hurting yourself.
4- The Bridge : Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This asana has many benefits, it allows a total relaxation, a stretching of the thoracolumbar tissues, but also an extension of the back, while being supported!
1. Lie down on your yoga mat
2. Spread your feet the same width as your pelvis
3. Raise your pelvis and place the pillow on your sacrum
4. Relax for a few minutes.
5. 1 to 5 minutes
Tip: Bring your chin toward your chest to put pressure on your throat to stimulate your thyroid.
Meridians Bladder, Kidney, Stomach, Liver.
5- The Saddle: Supta Vajrasana
This asana has the benefit of stimulating digestion and stretching your pelvic flexors and quadriceps. It increases mental activity and calms the mind.
1. Lay the bolster lengthwise on the yoga mat
2. Sit with your back to the bolster, buttocks on your heels.
3. Use your hands to lean your torso back and create a slight extension of your back.
4. Lay your back on the cushion while
5. 1 to 3 minutes
Release your head backwards to put a little tension on your thyroid, thus stimulating it.
Meridians : Stomach, Spleen, Kidneys
Do not do this exercise if you have weak knee joints or place a blanket on the back of your thighs to reduce the bending.
6- The Dragonfly: Parsva Bhuja Dandasana
The dragonfly has many benefits, it opens the pelvis and the back of the thighs while stretching the hamstrings and the spine.
1. Sit on your mat, then stretch and spread your legs
2. Position the pillow in the direction of the carpet, at the level of your pubic area
3. Lean forward: lay your torso on the Bolster, adjusting its height so you can rest your head comfortably. If necessary, place an extra brick at the beginning of the bolster.
4. 3 to 7 minutes
If your back becomes rounded, equip yourself with a yoga support such as a meditation brick or zafu to raise your pelvis.
Meridians Liver, Bladder, Kidneys and Spleen
7- The Caterpillar : Pascimottanasana
This posture aims to decompress the spine, it targets the thoracolumbar fascia and the hamstring muscles.
1. Sit on your yoga mat
2. Position the yoga cushion on your thighs
3. Lean forward, lay your chest on the cushion and round your back.
4. Place your hands on the cushion, palms up
6. From 2 to 10 minutes
It is advisable to do this exercise at the end of the session, in order to be sufficiently warmed up and avoid injury.
Meridians : Bladder and Kidneys
8- The Frog : Mandukasana
This position makes your vital energy circulate, improves the functioning of the digestive and excretory systems. It increases flexibility and tones the thigh muscles (quadriceps). Using cushions in this pose develops flexibility in the pelvis, groin and adductor muscles, strengthens the back and treats pain in the kneecaps and ankles.
1. Take the Table posture: on all fours while making sure that your kneecaps are under your pelvis
2. Place the yoga pillow under your chest
3. Yield your weight forward onto your hands.
4. Spread your knees apart: your shins and quads should be at a 90-degree angle.
5. Rest on your forearms, placing your palms together or on the floor. You can also extend your hands forward, resting your chin or forehead on the pillow.
6. Sit on your hips to deepen the pose.
7. Breathe deeply, focusing on relaxation and tension release.
8. Inbetween 2 and 10 minutes (start the first time with 2)
Your kneecaps should be pressed together and glued to the floor. To achieve this, focus on the contraction of the quadriceps.
Meridians : Liver, Spleen, Kidney
9- The Sphinx and the Seal: Bhujangasana
These exercises have many benefits, they allow a significant compression of the sacro-lumbar region, stimulating ossification, they are very therapeutic for people with unstable intervertebral discs.
1. Lie flat on your stomach with your ribs touching the floor, slide your hands forward until your elbows are under your shoulders.
2. Slide the Bolster under the ribs, join your hands together and place your forehead on it
3. To increase the compression in the lower back, it is possible to bend the lower limbs or to move them away from each other.
4. 2 to 5 minutes
Relax your head back to stimulate the thyroid gland.
Meridians Kidney and Bladder
10- THE DEER : Mrigasana
This asana calms and balances the mind and emotions: it releases tension along the spine, opens the pelvis, frees the lower back and increases your endurance. It also improves the digestive and reproductive system.
1. Enter the butterfly pose
2. Position the cylindrical pillow behind you, along the carpet.
Step back one leg behind you with the knee slightly bent. 4. rest the bust on the Bolster
5. 3 to 5 minutes
Not recommended for people with joint injuries.
Meridians Bladder, Kidneys, Liver, Spleen
11- Goddess of Sleep: Supta Baddha Konasana
The posture of the goddess of sleep allows you to recharge your batteries and regenerate yourself. It favors the physical and spiritual relaxation, it allows the opening of your abdomen and your rib cage as well as the work of the flexibility of your back and the improvement of the digestion.
1. Sit on your carpet
2. Position the yoga pillow behind you, 10 cm from your pelvis
3. Exhale and place your hands flat behind you and bend your elbows to lie on the pillow
4. Inhale, bring your heels toward you by bending your knees, then open your hips outward by bringing the balls of your feet together. 5. Bring the hands to the side of the body, palm facing the sky
6. 3 to 10 minutes
If you lack flexibility in your pelvis, using a yoga bolster is not enough! Take a yoga accessory such as a rectangular brick or meditation zafu to put under your kneecaps during your sessions.
Meridians Spleen, Stomach
12- The child : Adho Mukha Virasana
Stretches the spine, pelvis, patellas and ankles while opening the pelvis. Gently stretches the muscles of the torso and back. Eliminates stress, anxiety and mental fatigue.
1. Sit on your heels on the back of your mat
2. Spread your knees, shins should be in contact with the ground
3. Place a bolster between your thighs
4. Plunge forward, resting your abdomen on the Bolster
5. 5 to 10 minutes
Choose a yoga mat that is thick enough to avoid hurting your kneecaps.
Check out our Which Yoga Mat to Choose Guide
13- THE WESTERN STRETCH: PASCHIMOTTANASANA
This asana allows you to soothe and stretch the muscles of the entire back of the body, from the neck to the heels without the risk of injury.
1. Sit on your buttocks, place the Bolster on your thighs.
2. Lay your chest on the Bolster while stretching your spine.
3. Grab your feet with your hands, then place your head on the cushion. 4. 5 minutes
To optimize the benefits of this asana, you must be well stretched! And if you are a beginner, take it easy, you will progress with regular practice!
14- The Snail: Viparita Karani or Alasana
This asana allows the energy to circulate in the lower limbs, but also regulate blood pressure and reduce migraines. It prevents varicose veins and relieves intestinal disorders.
1. Lay the yoga pillow across the width of your mat
2. Lie down on the floor
3. Extend your legs upward
4. Raise your pelvis to place the yoga pillow under your pelvis
5. 3 to 15 minutes
If you are suffering from muscle fatigue, you can bring your kneecaps towards you.
Meridians Bladder, Liver, Stomach, Kidney
15- The Camel : UstrasanaUstrasana aims to open the rib cage and stimulate the organs responsible for digestion. It relieves back pain, tones and relaxes the abdomen, buttocks, pelvis, spine and neck.
1. Sit on your heels, and position the bolster between your buttocks and ankles, and your calves should be about the width of your pelvis.
2. Stand up straight forward: lean on your kneecaps while contracting your glutes.
3. Slowly lean back, while stretching your arms so that your hands are close to the bolster.
4. As soon as your hands rest against the bolster, slowly move forward and accentuate the arch of your back.
5. 30 to 60 seconds
If you feel tension in your neck, position yourself with your back to a wall, so that you can rest the top of your skull on it.
Meridians: Lungs, heart chakra, kidneys, bladder.
16- The four-pointed pose: ChaturangaThe Chaturanga asana is very powerful, it allows to improve your general posture by strengthening the upper limbs, the abdominal strap, the lower limbs as well as the back muscles.
1. Sit on your yoga mat and position the yoga pillow in the direction of the mat.
2. Get into plank pose, spread your hands shoulder width apart, and your ankles the width of your pelvis.
3. Engage your muscles: of the lower limbs (front of the thighs), of the glutes, of the abdominal strap and of the back, in order to avoid that it is hollowed.
4. Stretch out your entire body to distribute the weight evenly so you feel lighter.
5. Bend your elbows and rest your chest on the pillow.
6. 1 minute
Even though using a bolster can provide support and comfort, you may have difficulty with this installation, so don’t hesitate to place the ball joints on the floor.
Meridian: Liver and Gallbladder.
17- The Cobra : BhujangasanaIt improves self-confidence, blood circulation and increases internal heat. It strengthens both the upper limbs and the back and aligns the spine.
1. Position yourself flat on your yoga mat
2. Join your calves and thighs to keep them tense
3. Position your hands at shoulder height or in front.
4. Straighten your chest, inhale gently while opening your shoulder blades. 5. Position the Bolster under your pelvis
6. Hold this position and take slow, deep breaths. 7. About 3 minutes
For a relaxing effect, you have the possibility to do a full lung air retention for a few seconds.
Meridian: Liver, Gallbladder, Lung
18- Fish : MatsyasanaThe Pisces allows to calm down thanks to the opening of the thoracic cage, it stimulates the thyroid thanks to the compression of the throat.
1. Place your yoga pillow across the width of the mat and sit in the middle
2. If necessary, strap your thighs, to stabilize your lower limbs. 3. Lie down with your shoulder blades in full contact with the mat and your head on the floor
4. 3 to 5 minutes
People with weak lumbar vertebrae will be able to relax by letting their lower back in a neutral position.
Meridians Lung, Heart chakra, Small intestine, Triple warmer and Large intestine
19- The Dragon : AnjaneyasanaIt promotes endurance and balance, provides intense pelvic extension, groin front leg, back leg flexors and quadriceps.
1. Assume head down dog pose, bring right foot to front of mat.
2. Position your knee to a degree sufficient to stretch the pelvis.
3. Slide the Bolster under your left knee and release your weight on it 4. 3 to 5 minutes
Variations of this position allow to explore the mobility of the joint
Meridians Kidneys, Bladder, Spleen, Stomach
20- The Swan : kapotasana
This asana has the benefit of relieving tension in the pelvis, lower back and quadriceps, calming you and preparing you for meditation.
1. Get on all fours and slide your left knee between your hands and slightly open to the left, sit with your heel in front of your pubic bone
2. Extend your right leg backwards
3. Bring your hands under your chest and stand up straight. After a few breaths, take the Child’s pose for 1 minute before changing sides
4. 10 minutes
In case you don’t feel enough sensation, bring the left shin forward and in reverse, bring the left heel towards your pubic bone. And if you do not feel stable in this position, the use of a brick under your left buttock will bring you security and comfort.
Meridians : Liver
Now that you know how to use a bolster and know these 20 deep stretching asanas we imagine you want to know more about Yin Yoga?
Check out our Special Feature
Want to know how a Yin Yoga session goes? Visit Yogom’s Youtube account!
Are you looking for quality yoga equipment? Yogom offers a wide range of ecological and responsible mats and accessories for your yoga and meditation sessions!
Don’t hesitate to follow us on Instagram !