My yoga bolster is my favourite piece of yoga equipment. I adore it. It gets used every single day for simple restorative yoga postures and meditation. And in the winter it doubles up as a draft excluder – I have a small house, I have to be practical 😂!
Why do you need a yoga bolster?
I use my bolster for releasing tension in my spine and across my shoulders in Reclining Bound Angle Pose (see my YouTube video). For refreshing body and mind with Vaparati Karani (Legs Up), or boosting my thyroid function with a supported Fish Pose.
I find sitting on my bolster is the comfiest (and quickest) way to get into a good pose for meditation, it keeps my spine long and tummy uncompressed, whilst supporting my hips. And when I was pregnant the bolster was a lifesaver for resting my leg on in bed – because I had Pelvic Girdle Pain I needed all the help I could get to be comfy.
What types of yoga use bolsters?
It is the must-have prop for both Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga. Both of these are wonderful forms of yoga practice that soothe the nervous system and relieve aches, pains, tiredness and stress. I have had some of the most remarkable healing results from these types of yoga poses, and they are a total joy to practice.
Slow yoga practice
Additionally, a yoga bolster can aid any style of slow yoga practice, especially if you feel you’d like to support your body more. A bolster is excellent for those who find Child Pose uncomfortable, for example, or have tight hamstrings which can be challenging in Sitting Forward Bend.
For the Gardeners!
It is also a must-have for any gardeners, as a few pit-stops with the bolster during the day and you’ll get many more pain-free hours out in the garden! A quick yoga guide for gardening days coming soon…
So you can probably see why I love it so much?
Why make a yoga bolster?
Yoga bolsters are amazing but they are not cheap, and they are another thing to buy when we all need to buy less, way less. With that in mind, I have set to the task of creating a zero waste yoga bolster out of 100% recycled materials (that you can easily source at home) and can be made by YOU with NO SEWING whatsoever!
It might not look quite as pretty as a shop bought one (although if you have some fancier trousers you could make it look very nice indeed!) but I reckon it’s quite amazing what you can do without spending a single penny or buying anything new, or sewing a single stitch!
Why use recycled materials?
Personally, and as a business, I have taken it to be my mission to make big changes for climate action and climate justice. It’s no good talking the talk if you don’t walk the walk. So expect more ways to reuse, reduce and remake your yoga equipment coming on this blog!
How to make your recycled, no-sew, zero waste DIY yoga bolster!
You will need:
- Pair of wide leg trousers (you preferably need something that can stuff to around 20cm diameter, smaller is fine but wide is good). Any non-stretchy fabric will work, even jeans. It works better if the fabric is quite robust, as your bolster will last longer then. The finished length wants to be around 75cm, give or take.
- 2 x shoelaces (or anything similar, to tie off the ends). I cut off and used the waist ties that were part of my trousers. Have a look around the house for anything that you can use to tie the ends securely.
- Stuffing. I used old pillow stuffing donated to me by someone on a local plastic-free Facebook group. You could use the filling of an old duvet, cushions, and I think you could even use old clothes.
- Safety Pins. A good reason to collect the pins that are often used to hold shop tags on to clothes, or any other spare safety pins you have lying about. OR if you don’t mind a bit of sewing you can sew this part.
- Pinking shears or sharp scissors. I used pinking shears as that helps reduce the fraying but if you don’t have any, normal scissors will be fine. Try and find a really sharp pair, and if all yours are blunt, cut some sandpaper up with them and they’ll sharpen up nicely!
How to Make the Bolster
Then start by cutting your trousers in half, down the centre. You can actually make two bolsters from one pair of trousers (do it, the more the merrier!).
(NB If you are happy to do some sewing, you should sew up the upper part of the leg (groin and waistband area) now, so that it is a full tube before you start stuffing).
Take the narrow end of one leg, gather the fabric together and tie the shoelace tightly around the fabric. Double knot it.
Start stuffing! Overstuff the leg as much as you can, really pack it in. It helps if you try to keep it fairly even and not too lumpy, and as firm as possible.
Keep stuffing until you get to the upper part of the leg where the groin and waistband are. I used very wide trousers with a low groin so I have a big gap. Yours may be smaller if you are using a different style of trouser.
If you have sewn the leg you can just keep stuffing.
If not you will need to safety pin the upper part of the leg together. Make sure there is an overlap so that the stuffing doesn’t pop out.
Pin all the way up, till about 10 cm from the top of the trouser leg.
Carry on stuffing until the whole leg is full and firm, with as little lumpiness as possible. Stop around 10cm from the top of the leg
Gather the remaining fabric and tie it tightly with your other shoelace or tie. Double knot.
And that’s it. You have a DIY yoga bolster made entirely from recycled materials!
And it matches up pretty well to the shop bought version!
If you decide you don’t want to make your own, I can order them for you for £35 in a choice of colours. But why not give the DIY version a go?
If you’d like to find out more about how to use a yoga bolster to reduces stress and pain, subscribe to my YouTube Channel, LucyogaTV. New how-to videos coming soon!