Thursday, October 04, 2012

our fave new yoga prop - the bolster!

Please enjoy this blog post from Laura Whitaker as she shares her love of the bolster. :)  Join Laura on Mondays at 4:30 or 6:00 or the new Wednesday morning Power Hour class from 6:30 - 7:30. She rotates this with fellow yogini, Meghan.
You've probably noticed the 12 plush new bolsters that have found a home with the other props in the back corner of the treehouse. Aren't they just lovely?! You should have seen us when Sharon announced to the teachers that she was ordering bolsters for the studio. We. Went. CRAZY. I don't think Sharon was prepared for how over-the-top excited we were, but we just couldn't wait to share them with you -- our yogi friends -- and to grab them during our own practices. We were so pumped.

I know that some teachers/classes have already begun offering poses with the bolsters, but you may still be looking for other ways to incorporate them into your practice. So in honor of Barefoot Works' new bolsters, here's a list of a few yummy bolster-friendly poses. Of course, you may want to try only one or two at a time. But in case you're interested in testing them out all in one practice, I've arranged them in an order reminiscent of a typical yoga class sequence - we'll start fairly relaxed, get a bit more active, wind down with a passive twist and end with everyone's favorite, savasana.
* Supta baddha konasana (reclined bound angle) variation
Place a block toward the top of your mat. Lay the bolster vertically on the mat so one end of the bolster is on top of the block. The setup almost resembles a ramp or something. Now sit on the mat with your low back up against the bottom of the bolster. Recline onto your comfy yoga ramp. Ahhh. Now bring in the bound angle by bending your knees, bringing the bottoms of your feet together, and breathing into your open hips and thighs. For extra support and to relieve pressure from your knees, place blankets or blocks under your knees and outer thighs. Check out Option 2 on this webpage for a photo:
* Supported downward-facing dog
Here comes a little more action. Lay the bolster longways on the mat. Come into downdog with your hands on either side of the bolster, and let your upper forehead relax onto the bolster. Releases some pressure that the weight of gravity creates. Great option if you feel a headache coming on but still want the inversion of a downdog.
* Supported upward-facing dog
We can't have downdog without updog, right? Lay the bolster horizontally toward the middle of the mat. From plank above the bolster, come into updog with the front of your hips supported on the bolster. Like your typical updog, this version will help open your chest, but the weight of gravity doesn't create quite the challenge it usually does. The bolster helps hold your hips and upper thighs above the earth.
* Prone twist
This is my absolute favorite restorative bolster pose. Place the bolster longways on the mat. Bend your knees to face the right side, outer left leg resting on the floor, knees together. Sit with your outside left hip gently touching the bottom of the bolster. Twist your torso to face the bolster. Recline down onto your belly, ribs, and chest. Turn your gaze to the left, resting your right cheek and ear toward the bolster. Bend your elbows and relax your arms down comfortably, perhaps hugging the sides of the bolster. Enjoy this for a few minutes, then switch sides. I still remember the first time I experienced this pose. I was in a class with Lisa Miller up in the treehouse. We used big stacks of blankets because it was pre-bolster era, but it was still so very magical. Ommmm.
* Savasana
This one's a bit more simple to explain. Come into savasana with the bolster under your knees. Close your eyes and enjoy a little release in your low back.

Isn't the bolster so fun and useful? There are plenty more where these came from so ask me or another teacher if you are looking for more ideas, or just grab a bolster and start playing around. I bet you'll eventually make your way into a pose that makes your body feel happy, supported, and super, super thankful.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Yay for bolsters at BWs ... enjoy them! And thanks for the reminder about the many ways to use them in practice.