Support Yourself in 2012

by Stacey

This is a love story about me and my yoga bolster.

You see, when I first started taking yoga classes, I couldn’t sit comfortably on the floor. Almost immediately after I settled into Easy pose, which is, I swear, yoga’s most ironically named posture, my lower back would start to ache, my neck would tighten, and my shoulders would slump forward. I would squirm and shift, trying to get comfortable in what looked like it should be such a simple, basic posture. In my mind, I was chiding myself for not being able to assume the peaceful stillness the other people around me were able to achieve. I criticized myself for not being able to neatly place my feet on top of my thighs in Lotus pose, like my teacher was able to do. Inevitably, the stream of negative comments would become ever more harsh, including things like If everyone else is able to sit on the floor, then you should too and If only you lost (fill in the blank) number of pounds you would be able to sit on the floor with no trouble at all. For as much shame and guilt I heaped on myself as I compared my body to others, it’s quite amazing that I am teaching yoga full-time today. I mean, really, if my teacher had spoken to me the way I was speaking to myself, I would have left in the middle of the class and never come back!

My world changed the day I was introduced to the idea of using a yoga bolster during seated postures. Finally I could look like everyone else! Sort of. The next hurdle in my head became getting over the idea that I actually needed help to sit on the floor. My monkey mind was chattering endlessly about how embarrassing it was to require a cushion while sitting. I mean, really, didn’t my body have enough cushioning on it’s own?

Gradually my yoga practice began to work it’s magic. As I gained more and more acceptance of my self and my abilities, it became easier to acknowledge and honor my needs rather than trying to somehow ignore them. I began to find all kinds of ways to use a bolster – sitting on the edge of it in Easy pose and astride it for Thunderbolt. I curled myself around it in Child’s pose and put it under my knees at the end of class in Savasana, yoga’s final resting posture. I became a bit of a bolster connoisseur, always trying to select the plumpest one from the stack in the corner of the studio.

The love affair began when I purchased my own bolster, covered in purple canvas. I schlepped my bolster to every class, where it would provide the stable foundation my body needs for certain postures. Over the years it has received my sighs of contentment and tears of frustration. It carried me through my yoga teacher training, when I discovered the bolsters in our practice space were too thin and squishy for my taste. It has soaked up the musical vibrations of countless kirtans and sunbathed in the backseat of my car when I wasn’t in class. I have even taken it with me to outdoor concerts and other non-yogic events requiring me to sit on something other than a chair. Gasp!

The sunbathing has resulted in the cover fading to a kind of a lavender-ish gray, and the stuffing is rather compacted now. Sadly, it is time for me to retire my current cushion in favor of something a little more firm. I will buy it a bright new cover and store it in my office for use during yoga therapy sessions, so all of it’s good mojo won’t go to waste.

We have come a long way, my bolster and I. I am grateful for all of the lessons it has taught me, including letting go of what it looks like on the outside in order to honor my needs on the inside and that it’s perfectly fine to accept help when I need it.

How will you support yourself in 2012?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lesley Reid Cross December 29, 2011 at 4:04 am

Could you tell me more about this bolster? I know I sit more comfortably on a folded blanket and I use bricks for many other poses, but have never experienced a bolster. Do you have a link to what you use?

I need to read more of your blog- it’s good to connect with another curvy yogini!

Reply

Stacey December 29, 2011 at 4:16 am

Hi Lesley!

Thanks so much for reading. I agree, it is so wonderful to connect with other curvy yoginis out there 🙂

Here is the link for the bolster I use in my practice. It is from http://www.yogaaccessories.com/Supportive-Rectangular-Cotton-Yoga-Bolster_p_121227.html. I have been very pleased with the props I purchased through them and highly recommend their products.

Namaste,
stacey.

Reply

Shalan Hill December 30, 2011 at 4:42 am

I like your post! I love your loving yourself!
Namaste!

Reply

Stacey December 30, 2011 at 10:30 am

Thank you!

Namaste-
stacey.

Reply

Morgan Dragonwillow January 20, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Okay Stacey… I really want to come to your Yoga class. I need to bring stretching back into my life and do for my body what it needs. Thank you for all that you do!

Did you see the seven links challenge that I named you as one of those I tagged? Hope you will check it out, I would love to see what posts of yours you would choose.

Peace

Reply

Stacey January 22, 2012 at 5:52 am

Please come to class! Would love to see you there…

Will check out your seven links challenge!

xoxo
stacey.

Reply

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