the ekotex guide to yoga bolsters
If I were a bolster, what would I be? "What's the difference? Which one is right for me?" There are many bolsters on the market - different shapes, sizes, fillings, weights - it can be overwhelming.
We've handpicked the best materials to make the PERFECT long-lasting eco bolsters, at the perfect dimensions for everybody. Our happy customer reviews agree :)
Let's start in the middle—the filling. We can separate fillings into two categories - lightweight, fibre or foam-based fillings, and heavier, grain-based fillings.
Lightweight fillings are portable and springy. However, in our experience, they tend not to hold their shape for quite as long as grain-filled bolsters if you use them heavily.
Grain-filled bolsters tend to offer a firmer support and mould to your body.
If you are a studio owner or yoga teacher, we nearly always recommend a grain-based filling. The main reason being, if it loosens over time - it is really easy to add more grain.
Lightweight - fibre and foam based filling
- Comfortable, spongy cushion.
- Moulds to the body.
- It does not recycle easily, and it will not biodegrade.
- A type of polyester (we think that using the term Recron and not mentioning 'polyester' is greenwashing.)
- Comfortable, soft cushion.
- Natural, but requires vast quantities of water to produce. This can have enormous social and environmental ramifications.
- Can form clumps over time and feels 'lumpy.'
- Seed pod fibre from the ceiba tree which means it requires no additional irrigation and few if any, pesticides.
- Soft and silky.
- Naturally antimicrobial.
- More expensive than polyester or cotton
Our Lightweight Choice
Being the environmentally driven bunch that we are, our lightweight choice could only be one thing. Fluffy, silky smooth tree fluff - KAPOK! Aside from the environmental advantages, we like the feeling of being supported by a tree!
Grain-based bolster fillings
- Moulds to the body better than any other natural filling, offering firm support
- Exceptionally long lifespan - no clumping.
- Easy to top up or remove filling
- Heat retentive
- Moulds to the body, but less than buckwheat - it has more spring.
- Easy to top up or remove filling.
- Long lifespan.
- Easily sourced from the UK.
- None that we can think of?
This is where it can get quite confusing!
We offer three shapes. Cylindrical, Rectangular or Mini. I've included three images below of Rebeca in a simple backbend over each of our bolsters. This highlights the first difference - height.
- The round bolster is the highest, opening the chest, releasing the shoulders and lower back. Her head is supported. Note: Rebeca is 5ft 8, If you have a longer torso, you may need to place a block under your head for additional support.
- The rectangular bolster is lower and wider. The chest is still open, but the torso and shoulders are entirely supported. It is a gentler stretch.
- The mini bolster gives a more 'focused' opening and can be placed at different positions along the torso, under the neck or hips for different effects. You can also use it in combination with either of the other bolsters.
So which yoga bolster are you?
Round: You practice yin/restorative yoga and need a versatile bolster for multiple positions. You like to meditate and use your bolsters as a meditation bench. You have no injuries affecting your back and shoulders and can confidently open up and let go!
Rectangular: You need a gentler stretch for your restorative yoga session due to either pregnancy, injury or tightness. You like to stay in your pose for as long as you can, and you need the additional support across the shoulders to make this comfortable. You use your bolster for sitting and meditating when you can.
Mini: You need a bolster whenever and wherever, and take your mini bolster along for the ride - using it as a regular bolster. You use it as a neck pillow in savasana or during yoga nidra. You use it as a roller under your legs and hips during seated poses, and to protect your knees and ankles on the mat.