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Restorative Yoga Props and Cushions for Massage Therapists


Three women lying on their backs using yoga cushions during a restorative yoga session.

The following blog post is sponsored by Hugger Mugger.

Restorative yoga is a form of “power yoga.” It doesn’t look anything like what we usually call power yoga, but it’s nonetheless a powerful practice. The Yoga Sutras define yoga as “the settling of the mind into silence.” This is exactly what restorative yoga can do. When we support our bodies with props, we don’t have to expend effort. This means we can stay in poses for a longer period of time. The longer period of time, along with the ease of prop support, allows our minds to quiet. Instead of spending energy, we begin to accrue energy. There’s nothing better than yoga bolsters to provide the support you need to restore your energy.

Restorative practice does require some tools. Total support means a fair number of props. In addition to your yoga mat, here are some props that will make your practice more comfortable:

Yoga Bolster: StandardRound, or Junior – Here’s a post on how to choose the right bolster for your practice.

Yoga Blankets: Have at least two, if not more, on hand.

Yoga Blocks: Two blocks should do it. Here’s how to choose the best blocks for your practice.

Yoga Strap: I’d go with an 8-foot or 10-foot strap. These lengths are the most versatile.

Eye Pillow: The finishing touch. Read this post for more info.

This may seem like a lot. But remember that these props are useful in your regular asana practice as well. Second, Hugger Mugger’s props are made to last. You’ll be able to use these props for many years to come. Think of it as a long-term investment—in your own health and well-being.

How to Use Your Yoga Bolsters

The photo at the top of this post shows just one way to use each of the different bolster types. We’ll start on the left.

Round Yoga Bolster: Round yoga bolsters are ideal for supporting your legs in Savasana (relaxation pose). The round profile creates a gentle slope that supports your thighs and calves. Here’s another great pose that uses a round bolster.

Junior Yoga Bolster: Junior yoga bolsters are slightly narrower than standard bolsters. So if you want to lie on a bolster for chest-expansion, to counter “computer hunch,” a Junior bolster is really effective. This post offers some more uses for junior bolsters.

Standard Yoga Bolster: The classic. The standard bolster, with its flat surface, is the most versatile of the bunch. Much of restorative yoga practice has been developed around this design. The flat surface lends stability and overall support. The photo shows Supta Baddhakonasana (reclining bound angle pose) with the bolster on a slant. Hugger Mugger’s bolsters are firm enough to support with a block without collapsing. Its uses are many. Read this “Yoga & Meditation Products” blog post for more ideas.

All of Hugger Mugger’s yoga bolsters are handmade in our Salt Lake City-based manufacturing facility. After more than 35 years of manufacturing bolsters, Hugger Mugger has developed the perfect formula that balances firmness and softness.

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 and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). 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 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.

ABMP members: Access your 40% discount on Hugger Mugger products here.