HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT YOGA AND MEDITATION BOLSTER FOR YOU
How to find the right bolster for you?
Yoga and meditation bolsters have many practical uses and are increasingly being incorporated in classes, as well as in at-home Yoga practices. They are also known by various names, as they have a multitude of uses, some of which include; pregnancy pillows, support cushions, and/or meditation cushions.
There are many types of Yoga bolsters on the market, varying in size, shape, density and filling. Choosing the right one, for the right purpose, can sometimes be overwhelming. What are the differences? And what are they best used for? Which one will do what you need it to do?
Below we compare the variations to not only help you understand what they are, but also to help you choose the right bolster for you and your needs.
The most traditional style of bolster is the round bolster. They are a good all-rounder, as they’re usually quite firm and can be used for various purposes, some of which include: to assist as a meditation bolster, for support in backbends, as well as for stretching in Yin classes. They also can be used in massage therapy too, being able to support underneath the knees to help with pressure being applied during the massage, as well as helping with circulation in the legs. They can, however, be difficult to lie on comfortably, as you can find yourself rolling off to one side given the rounded shape. This can affect your practice if you’re trying to relax into a posture.
The Oval/Rectangular shaped bolsters are a lot wider than their rounded counterparts. Because of this, they also offer more support during stretching and relaxation. They are also more stable as they don’t roll around. Being as wide as the body, you have excellent support whilst stretching supine or seated and folded forwards.
These shapes make great meditation cushions as well, especially if you can find a bolster that is about 10-15 cm high. This will allow you the perfect height to support your lower back, yet be able to get your knees closer to the ground as you are in meditation.
This type is also perfect for use as a pregnancy support due to its comfort and size. We find that expecting mothers really enjoy Mirosuna bolsters for this reason.
Due to the larger size of round/square bolsters, they take up more room than rounded bolsters, but offer greater overall support, especially as they can be used as a head support cushion during Savasana or laying mediation without straining the neck.
The V-Shape bolster is a more specialised cushion predominately offering thigh and hip support. They work well as a meditation cushion and can also act as a support cushion between the thighs if you have achy hips whilst sleeping, or whilst pregnant.
They cannot, however, easily be used like traditional bolsters and can’t really be used effectively to help with stretching postures due to their size and shape.
The filling of a bolster can significantly alter its density, affecting its uses and comfort. The most common fillings include Polyester, Cotton, Buckwheat, or Foam, and all of them come with their own benefits when considering variance in support, hygiene, pliability, and softness.
Buckwheat fillings are a long-lasting and durable choice for bolsters or meditation cushions. However, they take a little more ‘getting used to’ compared with polyester or cotton fibers, as their shape can change quite easily due to being so malleable.
This malleability means that they can give adequate support once everything is settled in the right place for you. Buckwheat has a natural odour as well, which can be seen as positive or negative depending on your preference.
This filling tends to make a noise when used and is, unfortunately, less able to be washed (not great for allergies or shared spaces) as the buckwheat hulls weaken affecting their stability and form holding over time.
The weight of buckwheat bolsters is also considerably heavier than their counterparts, making them great support if you don’t plan on moving them often.
Foam bolsters are very supportive and firm, making them great as a supportive tool. They can assist greatly in inversions, for alignment, and in backbends, as they do not change their shape once you’re in a posture, nor compress too much.
They do not, however, work so well for comfort or relaxation as foam doesn’t compress in the same way as polyester or cotton, making them not the best choice for pregnancy pillows, or if you want to use them for stretching or relaxation.
Foam bolsters are also very durable, meaning that they will last a long time, but may not easily be washed/cleaned as they need to be hand-washed/vacuumed.
The outside of the bolster is an important factor as it determines how soft, durable, and comfortable the overall bolster is. They tend to be either made from polyester or cotton, but there are also combinations of suede/velvet that are available.
Polyester is again, a great all-rounder as a bolster fabric. It is very durable, flexible, has great sweat-wicking properties, and also can be easily cleaned/dried quickly.
Unlike other fabric choices, polyester does not shrink over time, meaning that it is long-lasting and will keep its shape. Even though polyester is great at absorbing moisture like cotton, it also dries rapidly meaning that the bolster stays dryer after use (better for allergies).
Polyester, however, sometimes is critiqued as being less environmentally friendly than other choices, but with regards to its use as a fabric on a bolster, it is the most durable and easiest to clean, meaning it can be used for longer without the need of a replacement.
Most bolsters need to be either medium or firm to provide any support, so this density is not the best choice for a bolster. Whilst this works great for pillows providing comfort, the lack of support in a bolster can lead to potential discomfort and injury if used for inversions, seated meditation, or stretching.
Some bolsters come with handles that offer better transportability and can be carried much easier than those without. Though not necessary if you are not moving them around, most new bolsters have this as a feature so that they’re not so cumbersome due to their size and you can avoid always carrying them under your arm!
Look for handles on both ends of the bolster instead of just one. This will make it easier for you to handle your bolster wherever it is.
Try Mirosuna Bolsters
Mirosuna has custom-designed its own bolsters that combines the best elements and features of those listed above. They are functional and soft not saggy. They offer great support, are highly comfortable and durable both inside and out. The bolster are best used as a meditation cushion, a pregnancy pillow, and also as a support cushion for Yin Yoga, inversions, relaxation and stretching. Shop Mirosuna Bolsters now.