Yoga bolsters are basically firm pillows that are used in yoga classes and meditation practices to support any area of the body that holds tension. It is the must-have prop for any person who practices yoga regularly or meditates daily, but finding the best yoga bolster can be difficult.
As a yoga teacher, I have had the opportunity to try just about every bolster on the market, and I can tell you not all bolsters are created equal. I have created a list of the best yoga bolsters I have ever tried, and ranked them by different individual needs and best features.
The 7 Best Yoga Bolsters For Your Practice
Incline Fit Round and Rectangular Supportive Yoga Bolster:
The Incline Fit Bolster ranks at the top of the list for many reasons. First, it has two shapes, both rectangle and round. Since we all have different needs, choices are important when choosing the right bolster.
Rectangle bolsters are perfect for yoga practice, but round ones are appropriate for meditation.
It should be noted that it is very sturdy, which is great for yoga postures, but might not be the best for meditation or seated poses, when you want the pillow to have a little bit more softness.
It comes in five different colors, and the cover can be removed and washed. But the best feature of this bolster is the price! It has such an affordable price, which makes it a good choice if you are on a budget.
- 2 different shapes
- 5 different colors
- Could be too sturdy for meditation or seated postures
Hugger Mugger Standard Yoga Bolster:
Hugger Mugger is hands down the most popular brand for yoga bolsters. Chances are if you have ever used a bolster at a yoga studio, it was a Hugger Mugger.
I personally love this brand, and I have one to use at home. It’s rectangular in shape, and the flat top and bottom of the Hugger Mugger provides stability in yoga poses.
The upholstery of the bolster is incredibly durable and lasts a long time, and they come in varied color options. Bonus: Hugger Muggers are handmade in the USA.
Side note: this review is of the Standard model, but the company has other shapes and sizes to choose from.
I would say the only downside to this one is the price, it is more expensive than all of the other bolsters on this list, which is why it is listed at number two instead of number one.
- Best quality
- Handmade in the USA
- Great for yoga poses
Manduka Enlight Meditation Yoga Bolster:
I thought I should provide an option that is best suited to Meditation. The Manduka Enlight Meditation Bolster is soft and velvety in texture.
It has a smooth finish and the cover has a hidden zipper. It comes equipped with a carrying handle which makes it portable. The filling of this bolster is made with 30% recycled polyester fiber, which makes it lighter than most bolsters.
The filling to this one also has more give, so it more suited to seated meditation, than yoga poses. And, as with all the Manduka products, it features the faux-suede design logo, stitched on the handle.
The price is mid range, not too expensive, but you could probably find the same bolster for less. Also, this one is on the smaller side, but that isn’t a big deal if you use it mainly as a meditation pillow.
- Soft and smooth finish
- Carrying handle
- Stylish design logo
- Softer and less durable
Bean Products Best Yoga Bolster:
The Bean Products Best Yoga Bolster comes in 2 different shapes, rectangle and round. I personally favor rectangle shaped bolsters for yoga poses and round shaped bolsters for meditation.
This company gives you so many options that a person will be able to find the appropriate bolster. They also have the most color choices I have seen, and 2 different sizes too.
Tip: smaller bolsters are ideal for meditation, larger bolsters are great for yoga postures. It comes with a 1 year warranty and also has a carrying handle.
There are washing instructions on the tag of the bolster, to keep your practice germ free. The price is affordable, but it varies depending on the shape and size you choose. Best part about this bolster is the sturdy but soft support it gives. Over time, the more you use it, the more it conforms to the shape of your body in poses.
Be warned, the largest sized bolster may be great for a tall person, but not so great if you are below average in height.
- 1 year warranty
- Many shape, size, and color options
- Soft and supportive
- Be careful what size and shape you choose
Gaiam Yoga Bolster Rectangular Meditation Pillow
This is a rectangular shaped bolster that supports the body in yoga or meditation. The Gaiam Yoga Bolster (Also known as a meditation pillow) has an all natural filling made with 100% cotton, which really gives you comfort and cushioning. The cover is 100% polyester, so it is easy to wash.
It has a handle strap, that is easy to grab, and travel with, which makes it portable.
The price is fantastic and the bolster is good quality. However, it only comes in three colors, one size, and one shape. To be fair, the colors are the standard yoga bolster colors that you see in most yoga studios: purple, black, and blue, so if you are less concerned with style, it checks all the boxes.
A final note: the all natural filling is great for softness, but it does make the bolster less sturdy.
- All natural filling
- Soft in support
- Less options for size, shape and color
YogaAccessories Rectangular Cotton Yoga Bolster:
YogaAccessories has many different bolsters for sale, but this review focuses on the standard rectangular cotton bolster. First of all, you can’t beat the price on this one! The bolsters themselves are NOT filled with foam but with cotton, and the cotton filling makes the rectangular shaped bolster slightly bigger.
Since cotton is softer it can settle over time. But, as you continue to use it, you can add more cotton to the bolster and really customize the size and support. This one is not only great restorative yoga poses, but you can simply use it to lounge around the house with, and replace your pillows at night with this bolster and get a restful nights sleep.
It comes in many stylish colors, and the cover of this bolster is 100% cotton, so it is easy to wash.
- Soft enough to use as a sleeping pillow
- Can customize the size and support
- Can settle over time and become less supportive
#DoYourYoga Rectangular Yoga Bolster:
Here is a bolster that supports your spine in style. It comes with organic buckwheat shell hull filling, which supports the environment. And, the lightweight cushion adjusts to fit your sitting position. However, it is supportive enough to use while practicing yoga.
The cover has a zipper, so it can be easily removed for washings. This #DoYourYoga bolster has the most attractive design on the list, and comes in 5 stylish Indian patterns which will look fabulous in any yoga studio or home meditation space.
The downside is that it only comes in the rectangle shape, and in only one size.
Price is affordable though, which is always a plus!
- Environmentally safe
- Trendy design
- Only one shape and size
Why use a Yoga Bolster
First, I think it is important to know the varied uses a yoga bolster has, and why it is an important prop in any yoga practice.
A yoga bolster provides support to your back, stomach, shoulders, hamstrings, chest and spine while performing poses. The best thing about a yoga bolster, is that you can use it in any format of yoga you practice.
In Vinyasa yoga, you can use the bolster to help you ease into more advanced postures that are new to you. Working on full splits? Place a bolster underneath your pelvis to bring the floor closer to you. Tight hips? Use a bolster under your torso in pigeon pose for support so that you don’t strain your muscles. Does your low back feel a pinch in floor bow?
Having a bolster beneath your abdomen and frontal hip points gives you a boost so you can experience an opening in your chest without crunching your lumbar spine. You can place the bolster underneath your knees in Savasana, to aid in the relaxation process.
Bolsters are probably most useful in in Restorative yoga, a type of yoga where the student holds postures longer (up to 5-10 minutes) with the the support of props to help calm the nervous system. I have noticed the the prop I use the most while teaching or taking Restorative yoga is the bolster.
You can lay across the bolster for a gentle backbend, use it to support your knees in spinal twists, and place it to your low back in supine (laying on your back) poses to ease tension in the spine. Also, it is the best prop to use in seated postures, like a forward fold, or if you are simply meditating use it to support your sitting bones and hips.
Not Just for Yoga and Meditation
Remember, that regardless of the type of yoga you practice, or if you are using a bolster to meditate, it’s highly recommended that you integrate them into your home practice. Because it is there create relaxation, help soften a posture, or aid in opening or supporting the body, you might be surprised by how much you end up using your yoga bolster.
I have actually found them preferable to home furniture at times, and use my bolster to sit on while watching tv. I have also used it to relax around the house or to help me sleep when I am nursing a strain or injury. It is a totally versatile prop, and well worth the purchase!
Short Restorative Yoga Practice
Still unsure of how to incorporate a bolster in your yoga practice?
Below is a short, but sweet Restorative yoga practice, please enjoy!
Seated Breath and Body Awareness: Take a seat on your bolster. Think of keeping length in your spine. Press your sitting bones down into the bolster and relax your ears away from your shoulders. Rest your hands wherever they are comfortable (on your knees, across your lap, or by your side) .
Allow your eyelids to close and become heavy or take a soft gaze forward past the tip of your nose at nothing in particular (again, whatever you are most comfortable with). Soften your muscles and the hinge of your jaw. Begin to observe your breath. Notice the quality of your breath, and start to deepen your inhales and exhales. Try to find a rhythm to your breath that is easy to maintain. Slow and steady inhales, full complete exhales.
Seated Yogi Squat with Bolster: From your seated position on the bolster, turn the heels of your feet in and point your toes out. Bring your hands together and press your thumbs into you sternum. Press your elbows into your thighs, and keep length in your spine (sit bones press down, crown of the head reaches up). Hold for at least 5 deep breaths or for up to 2 minutes.
Supported Butterfly: Come off your bolster and take a seat. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees open wide. Place the bolster to your hip creases, and start to fold forward at your hips. Let the bolster support your chest, or maybe your forehead (we all have different levels of flexibility). Hold for at least 5 deep breaths or up to 3 minutes.
Supported Fish: Lay across your bolster, the bolster should support the length of your spine, and that includes your neck, and base of skull. Legs can straighten or you can keep your knees bent with your feet flat to the floor if that is more forgiving on your low back. If your shoulders can tolerate it, let your arms drape open to the side to feel an opening to your chest. If that is too much, rest your hands where they are comfortable. Hold for at least 5 minutes.
Supported Legs Up the Wall: You will start laying down on your back. Bend your knees, press down into your feet and lift your hips just enough to place the bolster to your low back. The bolster is in a horizontal direction, so it can support your lumbar spine. Shift around and make sure your the bolster in supporting your sacrum, the diamond shape in the middle of your low back. Then life your legs into the air and flex your feet. Hold for at least 2 minutes.
I am a devoted mother, wife and yogi with a passion for fitness and writing. I am a certified and registered 500 hour yoga teacher and have been teaching since 2013. When I am not teaching yoga or spending time with my family, you can find me somewhere on a hiking trail in the mountains of Southern Colorado or walking my dog Queenie.