The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and antidepressants aren't enough. ~ Amy WeintraubYoga benefits the body like no other exercise. It gives a balanced body and mind, along with various health benefits. With the increasing popularity of this ancient form of exercise, more people opt for yoga for a healthier living. What makes this form distinct is the various postures, which are called 'asanas'.
Yoga involves flexibility, controlled breathing, and a relaxed body. Not everybody following yoga has a very flexible body. Some may face discomfort while performing certain asanas, while calm and controlled breathing may also be difficult. So, as yoga evolved over time, many practitioners found that using certain props with certain poses or complex asanas could actually help in better postures and deeper yoga practice.
Props like mats and blankets are commonly used. Among these props used for yoga, a bolster is one that may benefit your yoga experience. So, how exactly does it benefit? We have compiled a list of the many benefits a bolster offers, in the following paragraphs.
Health Benefits of Using a Bolster in Yoga
A yoga bolster is nothing but a cushion that one can use for body support. It is helpful for beginners, but more useful when used for difficult poses in yoga.
✓ Supports the Body
One of the most important uses of a yoga bolster is that it supports the body completely while you practice your yoga poses. Most of the time, a yoga posture is uncomfortable, and you feel pain at a certain point of time. A yoga bolster will help you with extra support and assist you to complete the pose with ease. It is often used to support the back and ribs while doing yoga. However, a bolster can be used in any area that may need support.
You may want to check with your instructor for the same. The benefits of the bolster will also depend on what pose you are practicing. There are poses that can be very beneficial when done with a prop, like a bolster.
✓ Improves Body Posture
With a bolster, you will realize and feel the proper position of your body when practicing a certain yoga pose. In certain poses, where the bolster is used below the hips, knees, and neck, it can help with better posture, and better body alignment in the pose, which is very important to prevent any injury. It may help you perform a complex pose, or help you hold your body position in a pose for longer. Proper body postures in yoga asanas will give you maximum benefit.
✓ Relieves Stress
A bolster may be your best friend when you are feeling tired and stressed. Using it as a support to the body in restorative poses will stimulate the Parasympathetic Nervous System and pacify the Sympathetic Nervous System. This act enables easy relaxation and releases stress. A bolster is also used in many healing yoga practices. An early morning yoga workout especially, may be easier with a bolster, as it will ease any muscle tension that builds up while sleeping.
✓ Improves Blood Circulation and Controlled Breathing
Certain yoga poses along with the position of the bolster are excellent ways of improving blood circulation. When the bolster is kept lengthwise running along the spine or below the shoulder and chest, it opens up the posture. With this pose, the chest expands, and organs like the heart and lungs get more space to function. This results in efficient functioning of these organs. So you get the benefits of controlled breathing and excellent blood circulation, especially in the major organs of the body.
✓ Reduces Swelling and Inflammation
With supported inversions, your body will also get rid of the ill-effects of sitting or standing in one position, which are chronic inflammation and swelling. Certain asanas, especially the ones that reverse the effect of gravity, combined with a bolster for support, will help in relieving any swelling or stiffness of the muscles.
Yoga poses that involve twisting and turning of the abdomen, are more beneficial if done with bolster support. The motion of twisting stimulates the digestive system and metabolism. When these poses are done with the support of a bolster, you can hold them for a longer time. This in turn will stimulate the rate of metabolism, with regular practice.
Make sure you choose a good quality bolster. There are many types of bolsters available in the market and in many shapes. Different types and shapes are used for specific support. The benefits of yoga bolsters are many, and with the correct asanas combined with them, you will be able to reap maximum benefits for both your body and mind.
Disclaimer: This FitnessVigil article is for informative purposes only. Consult your instructor before making any changes in your yoga exercising and routine.