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Junior Bolsters: 3 Luxurious Restorative Poses

Junior Bolster

People come in all shapes, sizes and levels of strength and flexibility. Because of this, BKS Iyengar invented yoga props to help everyone achieve comfort and steadiness in various poses. While some props, such as yoga blocks, have versatility built in—blocks have three usable dimensions—others, like our Standard Bolsters, may or may not fit everyone.

That’s why Hugger Mugger developed Junior Bolsters. These bolsters were originally designed to create an alternative for adults with smaller bodies. But in the decade since they first came on the market, we’ve found lots of other uses for them, no matter what your body type.

Junior Bolsters are the same length and firmness as Standard and Round bolsters, but they are narrower in width. Standard Bolsters are 12"W x 25"L x 6"D, while Junior Bolsters measure 8"W x 25"L x 5"D. This can make them much more comfortable for people with shorter spines in poses such as Legs Up the Wall or Restorative Side Stretch.

Junior Bolsters are also shaped slightly differently from Standard Bolsters. They are slightly arched, rather than flat, so that they follow the body’s contours. The arched top and narrow width make these bolsters perfect for chest-expanding poses.

3 Restoratives Perfect for Junior Bolsters

  1. Chest-Expanding Bliss: Okay, this is not a real pose name, but it is descriptive nonetheless. Place a Junior Bolster lengthwise on a nonskid mat. Sit in front of the bolster and then lie back onto it. You may want to place a yoga blanket under your head and neck for extra support. Extend your arms out to at least a 45-degree angle, turn your palms up and relax. You can stay here as long as you like.
  2. Restorative Side Stretch: Place your Junior Bolster crosswise on a nonskid yoga mat. Roll up a yoga blanket and place it about 4-6 inches away from and parallel to the bolster. Sit sideways on your mat a few inches from your bolster. Lie sideways, with your waist and rib cage resting on the bolster. Let your arm rest in the space between the bolster and blanket, and rest your head on the blanket. You can either rest your top arm in your bottom arm or extend it overhead to stretch your side a bit more. You may find it comfortable to place a yoga blanket between your knees. Relax here for at least a few minutes, then turn to your other side.
    Restorative Side Stretch with Junior Bolster
  3. Supported Savasana: A well-placed bolster under your knees can make your Savasana much more restful, especially if you experience low-back discomfort when your legs are flat on the floor. But Standard Bolsters can be too wide for this purpose for some people. Placing a Junior Bolster under the knees in Savasana fits pretty much every body.

Whether you teach Restorative Yoga or just love to practice it, adding a Junior Bolster to your Restorative toolbox can give you new options to explore and new ways to accommodate the needs of a variety of students at your studio.

Junior Bolsters are available in solid colors or designer prints. All our bolsters are handmade here in our Salt Lake City-based facility. They are filled with cotton batting and covered with sturdy upholstery-grade fabrics. You can read about Abraham, our master bolster maker, here.

About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice, published by Rodmell Press. Her second book, Yoga for Meditators (Rodmell Press) was published in May 2012. She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to schools and to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

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