Behind the Bolster
The expansion of our Crystal Cove collection was sparked by real customer feedback, and carried out based on years of product design experience. Our Chief Product Officer, Dan, clues us in on what went into the design and production of our brand new yoga bolster and Pranayama pillow.
Why did you decide to expand the Crystal Cove collection?
We created the original Crystal Cove meditation pillow because there was a lot of room to improve on what already existed in the market. We wanted to create something that was more beautiful than the traditional Zafus and meditation pillows out there, but something that was also very functional, easy to use, and long-lasting.
Because the launch of the Crystal Cove meditation pillow was so successful, we decided to expand the collection. We developed our own yoga bolsters and Pranayama pillows based on the insight and customer feedback gained while developing our Meditation Pillow.
Out of all the yoga products out there, why a Bolster and a Pranayama pillow?
Both items are some of the most commonly used props in yoga practices. As a yogi, I felt that both of these items could receive the same upgrade as the meditation pillow. We added our beautiful, soft Crystal Cove cover and used buckwheat instead of the typical foam and cotton fills found in most other bolsters and Pranayama pillows. It resulted in extra comfortable yoga props that provide greater support and stability.
How do you use a yoga bolster?
I like to use the bolster for restorative yoga practice. I'll usually keep two of them nearby to support my legs and back in different poses that I will hold for up to 15 minutes. This helps me stay comfortable while allowing gravity to slowly and safely open up and release my muscles. It’s very relaxing. Our Crystal Cove Yoga Bolster is also heavier than typical bolsters, so I will often place it on top of my hip flexors while lying flat on the ground. It feels great after a run or long bike ride.
How do you use a Pranayama pillow?
I will usually use the Pranayama pillow by placing it along my spine while lying flat on my mat. It helps to subtly expand the ribs and lungs from top to bottom, allowing for longer, deeper breaths.
Another way I like to use it is by placing it horizontally across my back so that it rests across the bottom tips of my shoulder blades. This opens the chest and heart which I find very soothing after a long day of work, especially if I find myself hunched over a laptop all day.
Why did you choose to use buckwheat as the fill?
I chose buckwheat because it’s very stable and supportive while still contouring to your curves for better comfort. I did look at some other fills that provide a similar feel, but the sustainability of buckwheat really stood out to me.
Buckwheat is grown as a food source, but during harvesting the hulls are typically discarded as waste. I felt it was really great to find another use for them, so we tracked down a farmers' cooperative in the US that would sell them to us.
How many tries did it take for you to get the new pillows just right?
The design and development of these new pillows was a lot of fun, and it started with a lot of trial and error. We first made several versions of the two pillows, playing with different sizes, shapes, and weights. With the cover, we tested different types of handles, stitches, and zipper placements.
Once we settled on a few versions that we liked, we sent them to some of our yogi friends to test at home and in their classes, collecting as much feedback as possible. We analyzed the data to figure out what was working and why. With that information, we settled on the best design for each pillow and gathered a final round of feedback before moving forward with the release. We’re extremely excited about the designs and we think they're going to be some of the best yoga props available.
Since you're a yogi yourself, which addition to the collection are you most excited about?
I use all of them pretty regularly, but if I could only have one, I might choose the Pranayama pillow. That was what we used during my Yoga Teacher Training, so I think it really depends on what you’re used to.
I also really love to use the yoga bolster as a weight on top of my hip flexors to help release the muscles after a hard bike ride. Sometimes I will lie down with the pranayama pillow across the bottom tips of my shoulder blades and use the weight of the Yoga Bolster on top of my chest to really relax and release my upper back muscles. My cat prefers the meditation pillow.