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Perfect Support: Slanted Yoga Bolsters

Slanted Bolster

Whenever I ask my students to go get a yoga bolster, the happiness in the room is palpable. They know that yoga bolsters mean they’re going to get to lie down. And knowing my prop shelves are stacked with Hugger Mugger bolsters makes me happy.

Hugger Mugger yoga bolsters make me happy because I know I can trust them to support students of all body types. I know that these bolsters won’t bend or collapse when we slant them on blocks. This is not the case with other brands.

I sometimes teach workshops and teacher trainings at other studios. While most of these studios stock some Hugger Mugger bolsters, they also have other types as well. If there aren’t enough Hugger Mugger yoga bolsters for everyone to have one, I avoid teaching poses that call for slanted bolsters.

Invariably, when I try to use other types of bolsters on a slant, they collapse under the weight of even the smallest student’s torso. This can be very uncomfortable. Since comfort is key to an effective restorative practice, it’s important that the bolsters we use are up to the task.

Hugger Mugger’s yoga bolsters are designed to be firm overall, but with a soft surface. Our bolsters are able to hold up to various body types when placed on a slant because they contain a solid foam core. That core is wrapped tightly with soft cotton batting. Our bolsters’ innards are then stuffed into an upholstery-grade cover by our team of expert bolster makers. This is why we suggest spot cleaning rather than trying to remove and launder our covers. Our bolsters’ innards are stuffed so tightly into the covers that they’re not easy to replace without the expertise of our bolster makers.

Why Use Slanted Yoga Bolsters?

We use slanted yoga bolsters in a variety of poses. The most common uses are in Supta Virasana (Supine Hero’s Pose) and Supta Baddhakonasana (Supine Bound Angle Pose). Most people are unable to lie flat on the floor in Supta Virasana without compromising their knees and/or lumbar spine. Lying on slanted yoga bolsters in these poses allows more people to access the benefits of these poses without risking injury.

Even students who lie flat on the floor easily can benefit from lying on slanted yoga bolsters in these poses. If the point of Restorative Yoga is to be as comfortable and supported as possible, slanted yoga bolsters are the key.

There are other poses where certain students benefit from lying on slanted yoga bolsters. For example, several of my students have significant scoliosis (lateral curves in their spines). They simply don’t find Supported Matsyasana (Fish Pose) on blocks comfortable. Another student has a hyperkyphosis (pronounced thoracic curve). Yet another has trouble breathing when she lies flat on the floor. For all these students, a slanted bolster allows them to experience the benefits of poses they’d otherwise not be able to practice.

Most people choose Standard Yoga Bolsters when they want bolsters that can be easily used on a slant. The wide, flat surface provides the most support when placed on blocks. That said, Junior Yoga Bolsters have their fans too. Their narrower width allows for more chest expansion.

Hugger Mugger’s yoga bolsters are worth the investment. They are firm, comfortable and built to last. (I still use bolsters I bought from Hugger Mugger 25 years ago!) Here’s a post that provides info on how to choose the best yoga bolster for your practice.

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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