When you practice yoga poses, do you hate the discomfort of pressing your body against a cold, hard floor? Do you want to be able to perform the same, full range of positions at home as you can in a yoga studio?
Using the best Yoga bolsters, you can get the firm support you need and stay comfortable.
The following buyers guide for yoga bolsters will walk you through their uses, the types available and the benefits of using yoga bolsters.
When you begin the search for your ideal yoga prop, you will discover an overwhelming list of makes and models.
Deciding which is right for you may appear confusing at first when there are so many products on the market, but our guide will help you find your perfect bolster.
Best Yoga Bolsters
|Yoga Accessories Pranayama Bolster||Gaiam Rectangular Yoga Bolster||Bean Products Best Yoga Bolster|
|Shape:||Pranayama rectangular||Standard rectangular||Rectangular & Round|
|Cover:||Cotton batting||Cotton batting||Cotton batting|
|Best For:||Spine poses, stretching||Restorative yoga||Depends on shape, either are ideal for seated poses such as Zafu|
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Yoga Bolsters For 2020
- YogaAccessories Pranayama Cotton Bolster
- Gaiam Rectangular Yoga Bolster
- Bean Products Best Yoga Bolster
- Peace Yoga Zafu Meditation Yoga Bolster
- YogaAccessories Supportive Round Yoga Bolster
- LotusCraft Yoga Bolster
- YogaAccessories Supportive Yoga Bolster
Our reviews of the top rated Yoga bolsters with our buying guide below will help you choose the right one for you
Yoga Bolster Reviews
- Shape: Pranayama rectangular
- Size: 25” L x 6” W x 3” H
- 100% machine washable, zippered cotton cover
- Stuffed with 100% cotton batting
- Firm support and stability
- 2 End handles
Another inexpensive but well-made yoga bolster supplied by Yoga Accessories. This Yoga Accessories bolster is especially designed to be a pranayama bolster.
This budget priced bolster is smaller than the average yoga bolster because it is designed specifically as a pranayama bolster, ie. it provides support along the length of the spine to facilitate deep breathing during yoga poses.
It is great for spine poses and stretches. Alternatively, it can be used under the knees when performing the shavasana pose for greater relaxation.
The bolster is well constructed, with strong seams, and the zippers effectively concealed to avoid scratching during use. The cotton filling provides firm support. Pet hairs do stick to the soft fabric of the cover, but can be easily removed by vacuuming.
- Shape: Standard rectangular
- Size: 27′ L’ x 11.5” W x 7” H
- 100% Polyester, super-soft, machine washable, removable cover
- Natural cotton batting
- Sturdy carry handle
Gaiam is another company focused on sustainability. Its name is, in fact, a contraction of “Gaia I am”, Gaia being the Ancient Greek name for Mother Earth as well as sometimes being used as an alternative name for the Earth.
The founders of the company wanted to remind their customers that we are all interlinked — all part of the ecosystem of this tiny blue planet.
They aim to design and manufacture products for customers who are concerned with Conscious Commerce, ie. That purchasing decisions should be grounded in personal beliefs and values, taking into account not only the quality of the product but also the impact of that product’s manufacture upon the Earth.
This bolster is designed to give you comfortable yet firm support during yoga meditation or relaxation. It’s machine-washable cover is made of especially soft fabric and filled with natural cotton batting.
This bolster does not keep its shape quite so well as some of the other bolsters featured, but its fabric is beautiful and soft. Some yogi have reported that it is less firm than the other bolsters they have tried, but still super comfortable.
However, there are a range of bolsters to suit a range of different people, and some yogi think this is a little too firm. For the price, this is a very high quality product and really suitable for home use. Also, when you buy a Gaiam product, you know you’re not only improving your health, you’re also helping the planet.
- Shape: Round OR standard rectangular
- Size: Cylinder 9” W x 27” L; Rectangular 25” L x 12” W x 6” H
- Cotton batting cover
- Cotton muslin inner case
- Handmade in the USA
Founded in Chicago in 1987, Bean Products, Inc. aims to use only sustainable resources to handcraft really comfortable products in the USA. They believe that yogi should not only be concerned with improving their own health, but also in improving the health of the planet.
All the yoga bolster pillows in this range are designed to provide extra firm support. The style of bolster you choose depends on what you want to use it for. The cylindrical yoga bolster is designed to be placed under the back for a gentler supported forward bend or a deeper supported chest opener.
It is also suitable to place under your knees for optimal support and release for your lower back when performing shavasana. The oblong bolster is designed to provide an effective lift under your hips and lower back for Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose). Both bolsters are also ideal for seated poses used as a zafu.
A huge feature of Bean Products, Inc. products is that every item is hand made to your specifications. You tell them exactly what you want in your bolster, and they will produce that.
There’s a huge variety of covers for you to choose from, so you are bound to find something that’s just perfect for you.
Of course, whatever choices you make, with this company you know you’re not harming our beautiful planet. The Bean Products is one of my top picks for the best bolster pillow.
- Shape: Zafu disk (available in a range of different shapes & designs)
- Sizes: 13” Across x 4.5” H, 16” Across x 4.5” H
- 100% Removable and machine-washable cotton cover
- Filled with a sealed pouch of buckwheat hulls to provide balance of pliability & support
- Grab-and-go handle
The Peace Yoga range of yoga products are extremely popular among yogi. With their buckwheat hulls filling, Peace Yoga bolsters are designed to provide the optimum balance between pliability and rigidity. Some yogi will only use bolsters with buckwheat filling.
This yoga pillow also helps to properly align and support your spine during sitting poses for deeper meditation. In fact, people with back problems often use this product every day as a stool around the house.
To avoid shrinking the removable cover, only use a gentle wash cycle and hang dry it. The Peace Yoga is probably the best round yoga bolster you can buy.
- Shape: Round
- Size: 28” L x 10” Diameter
- Weight: 6 lbs
- 100% cotton cover and filled with cotton blend batting
- Firm support
- Machine washable, zippered case
- 2 End handles
YogaAccessories is a well-established company that has been selling yoga supplies on the internet since 1997. Their goal is to supply the broadest selection of high quality yoga related products at the most competitive prices.
You may already have discovered that YogaAccessories products are used as props in your local yoga studio, and many experienced yoga instructors recommend YogaAccessories’ products.
These cylindrical cotton bolsters are affordable, well made and solid. You’ll find them to be larger than the average yoga bolsters.
Although they are soft enough to afford comfort, they are also firm enough to provide the support you need, especially when performing restorative poses and prenatal yoga. They may also be used for spinal or leg support as a sleep aid.
When washing the removable cover, ensure that you use cold water and then air dry it in order to avoid any shrinking. The large size of this bolster means that it may be too tall for some people to perform the poses they wish to achieve.
Note that when it first arrives, it may have a chemical smell derived from the plastic packaging. This dissipates usually within 24 hours.
- Large Size: 28” L x 12” W x 8” H
- Weight: 3.5 Pounds
- Shape: Standard rectangular
- 100% organic cotton removable cover
- Environmentally-friendly dyes
- Drawstring closure, string carry
LotusCrafts is one of the leading brands in yoga accessories. They offer yoga accessories from mats to bolsters to towels to bags and straps.
This yoga bolster comes in two sizes, large and small. Each is convenient for different poses or relaxation and meditation methods but are designed with Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga in mind
With a machine-washable cover made of 100% organic cotton, you can easily slip it off with the drawstring and slide it right back on. It’s even dyed with environmentally-friendly colors and available in 6 choices. The filling is Kapok wool. This combines for a wonderfully luxurious experience.
When washing the removable cover, ensure that you only use cold water and air dry. In my opinion, the LotusCrafts yoga bolster is the best you’ll be able to find whether you choose small or large size. You may even want one of each to use depending on what you are practicing.
- Size: 24” L x 12” W x 6” H
- Weight: 6 Pounds
- Shape: standard rectangular
- 100% machine washable, zippered cotton cover
- Stuffed with 100% cotton batting
- Firm support and stability
- 2 End handles
YogaAccessories is a well-established company that has been selling bolsters for yoga since 1997.
If you’re looking for a high-quality and hard-wearing bolster similar to those used in your local yoga studio, this rectangular cotton yoga bolster is YogaAccessories’ best seller.
It is available in a broad range of bright colors and designed to be the perfect size and shape for most yoga practitioners. If you straddle this bolster while meditating, it will help you to keep your back straight and keep your mind present.
It is perfect for prenatal and restorative yoga and can also be used as a sleep aid for spinal and leg support. The fabric is soft and supple, yet the bolster itself is densely packed with evenly distributed cotton batting and so firm in order to provide optimal support.
Being able to remove and machine wash the cover is a great convenience for hygiene. With the extra support and comfort it provides, this is the best yoga bolster for pregnancy.
|LotusCrafts Yoga Bolster||Rectangle||100% organic cotton||Kapok Wool||3.4 pounds||4.5 / 5.0|
|YogaAccessories Supportive Bolster||Rectangle||Cotton||Cotton||6 pounds||4.5 / 5.0|
|Bean Products Best Yoga Bolster||Round or Rectangle||Cotton Muslin||Cotton Batting||3 to 6 pounds||4.6 / 5.0|
|Peace Yoga Zafu Meditation Yoga Cotton Bolster||Disk||Cotton||Buckwheat Hulls||4.8 pounds||4.9 / 5.0|
|YogaAccessories Round Bolster||Round||Cotton||Cotton Blend||6 pounds||4.4 / 5.0|
|YogaAccessories Pranayama Bolster||Pranayama Rectangle||Cotton||Cotton||2.6 pounds||4.4 / 5.0|
|Gaiam Rectangular Yoga Bolster||Rectangle||Polyester||Cotton||5.2 pounds||4.1 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Yoga Bolster for You
- How to Use a Yoga Bolster
- The Types of Yoga Bolsters
- The Benefits of Using Yoga Bolsters
- Factors to Consider
- Enjoy Getting Healthy
How to Use a Yoga Bolster
Most bolsters may be used to sit upon while meditating, but each type has more specific uses depending upon its shape and size. Their main functions are to facilitate relaxation, soften postures, and to aid in opening the body. They are commonly used for restorative, prenatal, and lyengar yoga.
Here are seven specific postures where a bolster may be used to enhance your experience during yoga.
At the beginning of your yoga session, or just before shavasana, this is a bolster that ensures that the head, neck, and back are supported while the shoulders, chest and abdomen open and relaxed. This creates space in the lower back region and eases compression.
To achieve this pose from a seated position (legs either crossed or straight out) place the bolster flat behind yourself with the narrow end touching your lower back. Then slowly lie back over the bolster. Allow your arms to dangle out to either side, palms facing upward. Once in place, breathe, relax, and hold the position for 3 to 5 minutes.
Supported Sukhasana — Easy Pose
Its name implies that this pose is easy, but because in the western world we rarely sit cross-legged upon the floor, this is not a posture we are accustomed to. It is a pose frequently adopted during yoga classes, and can grow tiring to maintain for a long period of time. Your bolster can help.
Sit atop your bolster with your ankles crossed. Lower your knees down in front so that they touch the floor while your rear remains on the bolster. Roll your shoulders and hold your hands in a comfortable position. Breathe.
Paschimottanasana — Supported Forward Fold
This is a great method to stretch your muscles. From a seated position, stretch your legs out in front of you. Place the bolster on your legs. Inhale as you lift your arms overhead, then exhale as you lay your chest down forward across the bolster. Breathe and relax.
Upavistha Konasana — Wide Seated Forward Bend
This pose is a little more advanced and requires a level of flexibility. From a seated position with your legs stretched out in front, move your legs as far apart from each other as you feel comfortable doing. Place the bolster right in front of your pelvis. Inhale as you stretch your torso upward, then exhale and fold your torso over the bolster. Breathe and relax.
Ustrasana — Supported Camel Pose
Take caution with this pose. Unsupported, it can cause lower back pain. It is an intermediate to advanced posture.
Place your bolster against the wall. Kneel, facing the wall, with your thighs pressed against the bolster for support. Reach your chest toward the ceiling, but continue to press your thighs into the bolster, keeping contact at all times. Slowly, and only if you feel comfortable, relax your head backward and breathe deep.
Salamba Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana — Supported One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
Raja Kapotsana is an advanced pose that opens the chest and strengthens both the back and groin. The supported version using a bolster is a step toward the unsupported posture.
Place your bolster against a wall. From a prone position, bend your legs up against the bolster. Next, slide one leg forward with the knee bent so that the shin crosses under the chest.
Shavasana — the final resting pose
At the end of your session, you want to achieve complete relaxation of body and mind, to find calmness, and that’s why the shavasana pose is important. Shavasana literally means “corpse pose” in Sanskrit because you lay on your back like in death.
However, lying on a hard, flat surface can be uncomfortable, preventing you from achieving the necessary stillness and peace. A bolster placed directly under your knees allows your legs to float free.
Once the bolster is in place, take a really deep breath, then exhale, letting all the stress drift away. Then allow all your muscles to relax, as if they’re melting down into the floor.
Video: How to use a Yoga bolster.
The Types of Yoga Bolsters
Yoga bolsters are like large pillows, but firmer to provide more support and with a distinct fixed shape which varies from bolster to bolster depending upon their purpose. Most yoga bolsters fall into one of four types:
- Standard — rectangular in shape and the most common kind of bolster used in restorative yoga. They are very versatile and offer support and stability for a wide variety of poses.
- Round — cylindrical in shape and perfect for sliding under your knees when performing the shavasana pose. They also provide great support for a variety of restorative poses.
- Zafu — a low disk shape like a stool. This is a traditional meditation cushion.
- Pranayama — cylindrical but much thinner than a round bolster. As implied by its name, this bolster is used for Pranayamic breathing exercises. This bolster may be used to improve your breathing while performing yoga. When placed under the length of your spine, it facilitates expansion of your chest and rib cage for deep, long breaths. These are not so versatile as other bolsters and are not suitable for poses where you require a lot of support.
The Benefits of Using Yoga Bolsters
Many of these benefits have already been mentioned in the above explanation of the poses, but yoga bolsters provide many other benefits above and beyond those.
Yoga Bolsters Provide:
- Support — without bolsters, you would have to provide all your own support using your body OR help from a partner. Yoga bolsters allow you to set limits to how far you stretch and add support where otherwise there would be none. In this way they can make more strenuous or advanced poses safer than if no such prop were used.
- Enhanced comfort — lying, kneeling or sitting on a yoga bolster is much more comfortable than a bare floor or even just a yoga mat.
- Posture — use of bolsters when performing certain poses encourages correct posture and so increases the benefit gained from practicing that position.
- Greater relaxation — when used to improve breathing, such as placing a pranayama bolster under the length of your spine while performing shavasana, then better relaxation can be achieved, which is great for stress relief.
- Reduction in swelling or inflammation — sitting, kneeling or lying in one position for a long time can sometimes have adverse effects, but bolsters help prevent this.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Yoga Bolster
In the detailed reviews you will find a lot of factors that will help you to choose the ideal bolster for you, but here are four main factors you will definitely want to take into consideration:
- Shape — as mentioned before, bolsters come in different shapes and sizes, all with different purposes OR for different sizes of yogi. Ensure that you choose the right type of yoga bolster for the poses you want to practice.
- Fabric — there are many different kinds of fabric used for yoga bolster covers ranging from polyester to 100 % cotton. Factors to consider here include how easy the cover is to wash, how soft it is during use, its color and pattern for aesthetic purposes, and how durable the material is. Ideally it will be soft enough that you feel comfortable, durable enough to last years of daily use, but easy to clean without shrinking.
- Filling — just like the cover, the inside of your bolster can be made from many different materials from buckwheat husks to synthetic fibers. The filling is especially important because it will determine how firm the bolster is and also whether it will be able to maintain its shape. Yogis’ tastes vary as to how firm they want their bolster to be. Those with allergies must ensure that both the cover and filling of their bolster do not contain allergens that may be harmful to them.
- Ecology — many yogi have philosophical beliefs that lead them towards a preference for materials sourced from renewable resources with a low carbon footprint. If you care deeply about our planet, you will want to ensure that the bolster you buy is manufactured by a company that has given consideration to the ecological impact of their products.
FAQs About Yoga Bolsters
Q: Do I really need a yoga bolster?
A: There are many yoga poses that don’t require a bolster, but there are many more that do. You may find that a thick pillow or a couch cushion works okay, but it really isn’t designed to give you the best experience.
Yoga bolsters are made specifically for the practice of yoga and can help with many different types of yoga as well as many different types of poses. Those new to the practice may find that having a bolster nearby can help them stay steady during standing and other poses that require balance.
Even during seated or prone poses, a bolster can help you keep your body aligned properly so you see the true benefit of practice.
Q: Why are there so many shapes of yoga bolsters?
A: Each shape of bolster can be used in different ways. A disk, like the Zafu bolster we reviewed, is designed more for meditative yoga. Rectangular shapes are more steady and won’t roll around. They are also a little lower to the floor than round options.
Some bolster shapes are designed for specific yoga practices, like Pranayama. Pranayama is a type of yoga that focuses on breathing and opening up the chest. For this, a rectangular shape is best, but it’s also much longer than traditional rectangular bolsters.
Q: How much does a yoga bolster cost?
A: There are a lot of factors that go into determining how much a yoga bolster will cost. The first step you should take is make a list of the features you absolutely need in a bolster. This list should have things like size and shape, but also the material of the cover and the filling. Should the cover be machine washable or does that not matter? Do you want a specific color or texture? Does it need to be heavy or lightweight?
Then you can consider the different brands. Some brands are much more well known than others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are better than others. If more than one bolster matches all your needs, then look at the things you might not need, but would be great features to have.
A yoga bolster is something you will use quite often and will be a large part of your yoga practice. You should ensure that any product will meet all your needs before you consider the overall cost. If cost is a factor, however, there are budget options available that may meet most, if not all, of your needs.
Q: Is a yoga bolster the same as a yoga block?
A: No. A yoga block is a solid form and a bolster is more like a thick, dense pillow.
A bolster can be used to help you maintain a certain pose for a longer period of time, help keep you balanced, and can also help keep your body more aligned.
Yoga blocks, however, are often used as extensions of your arms or legs. For example, if you are to bend forward while standing and place your palms on the floor you may not be able to reach. If you were to force yourself, it may cause discomfort or pain. If you were to let yourself hang without support, it could do the same. If you used yoga blocks under your hands, you would be supported and still in the standing forward bend pose.
Enjoy Getting Healthy!
Now that you have perused seven reviews of great yoga bolsters, you should have a good idea of what kinds of bolsters are available on the market today. Hopefully you have also gained an idea of what kind of bolster would be best for your purposes.
Perhaps you can make a list of the features that you believe are most important in a yoga bolster, then go back over the above reviews and see which product best matches your needs.
Now that you know how to choose a yoga bolster, what’s stopping you? Buy your ideal bolster, get stretching and posing, and improve your health today!