Yoga Bolster: The Important Yoga Gear You Need to Know

The point of yoga is to relax and feel comfortable, and not only to better your flexing abilities. For people that have a hard time maintaining a pose, yoga bolsters come in handy. They are designed to support the body in different asanas and allow you to relax and enjoy the position.

There are numerous kinds of yoga bolsters, and finding the right one can do wonders for your yoga practice.

This article can serve you as a buying guide – it will tell you everything about yoga bolsters and how to choose the one for you. So, read on.

What is a Yoga Bolster?

Yoga bolsters are exercising props or accessories used in yoga. They usually are firm, long, narrow pillows used to aid different asanas. They support poses, provide comfort and help the practitioner to stay into a pose while stretching and breathing deeply.

Yoga bolsters haven’t been there since the beginning of yoga practice. Rather, they were developed in the 1960s when yoga gained popularity. Some practitioners had a hard time maintaining their position, so these helping pillows were made to help students learn, relax and practice healthily.

Yoga bolsters are now regularly used props in yin yoga, yoga for pregnant women, or any other kind of yoga, during basic, entry-level classes. So, if you use them in class, or if you want to aid your home yoga practice, I propose buying yourself a yoga bolster pillow and practicing with more ease, comfort, and relaxation.

The next section will get more detail about the usage of yoga bolsters.

How to Use a Yoga Bolster

Yoga bolsters can be used in numerous ways. Most of the time they are placed under different body parts to allow more comfort during poses. That way, they offer support and the body part can be rested instead of stiffed. 

Their usage is not restrictive i.e. if there is any way that you can think of using a yoga bolster, you can! As always, the point of yoga is being in contact with yourself and your body, so you can use yoga bolsters as you feel like using them.

Yoga bolsters come in numerous shapes and sizes, so you can either have all of them and use them for different positions, or you could own just one yoga bolster pillow and bend it in the way that you need during a particular pose.

In the next sections, we will cover some of the most popular yoga bolster pillow shapes and their usage.

Cylindrical Yoga Bolster

 Round or cylindrical yoga bolsters are the most common yoga bolsters used. As the name suggests, they have a cylindrical form and are often longer and heavier than standard bolsters with rectangular forms.

These kinds of bolsters are most often used to support the back of the knees, but the usage is not restricted.

One way to use a round bolster is by putting it along your spine during the fish pose. This so-called supported fish pose is perfect for people who can’t freely do the fish pose because of back/spine injury or small spine flexibility.

Savasana (Resting Pose)

By far, the most famous and often usage of a cylindrical yoga bolster is for Savasana or resting posture. The purpose of this position is the relaxation of the body and the mind. Most often, it’s done by laying flat on the back, with your hands turned outwards and your legs rested flat.

For Savasana, you can use a bolster for your knees or ankles. Lie on your back and use the bolster to relax your knees. If you prefer, you can put the bolster under your ankles and rest your feet on it.

The point of using a bolster is Savasana is mostly for people that due for some reason, can’t fully straighten their knees or ankles.

Once you find comfort in the position, with the help of deep breathing, relax all your body parts and muscles one by one. Then, quiet your mind too, allowing thoughts to pass by without paying attention to them.

Rectangular Yoga Bolster

The second most popular yoga bolsters are the rectangular ones since they offer a lot of options and are quite versatile. They have a flat surface, and for inexperienced yoga practitioners, they come far handier than cylindrical bolsters.

Their primal usage is to help and provide support to or lift some body parts, or simply raise your body and thus make the pose more complex. Rectangular yoga bolsters are also suitable for seated yoga poses and to provide support on forward bends.

You can use a rectangular yoga bolster pillow to support your back, your legs, your torso, your sitting area, etc.

Balasana (Child’s Pose)

One of the uses of a rectangular yoga bolster is as help during a child’s pose.

By kneeling on the floor, widen your knees apart and put the bolster lengthways between the thighs. Then, slowly lean your body forward, basically resting it on the rectangular yoga bolster. Turn your head on one side, and use the end of the bolster as a pillow for the head. Rest your arms on the sides of the bolster thus relaxing your shoulders. After a couple of minutes of relaxing and deep breathing, turn your head to the other side.

Round Yoga Bolster

Round yoga bolsters are also called meditation bolsters, bolster pillows, or Zafus. As the name suggests, they are rounds cushions made for sitting on them while meditating.

Their purpose is to offer support for the back, hips, and legs during meditation poses. But, the usage is not restricted. If you have a round bolster, you can also use it for some of the other poses we’ve mentioned.

Meditation bolsters are mostly round, but can also come in square, V-shaped or U-shaped forms. V-shaped and U-shaped bolster play the double role of also being suitable for neck support during poses.

Sukhasana (The Easy Pose)

The meditation bolster or Zafu is most often used in the Sukhasana pose.

For this pose, the practitioner sits cross-legged, with their spine upright and their hands resting on the knees. But, as the hips should not be lower than the knees, a lot of yoga practitioners have difficulty sitting in and maintaining this pose. Putting a round yoga bolster under your sitting area will elevate your hips and bring you to the perfect position for a successful Sukhasana pose.

Pranayama Bolster

The pranayama bolster has the same shape as the rectangular bolster, but it’s longer and thinner, used to support the chest. It can also be used to support the length of the back and help with deeper breathing.

Its primal usage is for cushioning and support during kneeling positions or for a sitting backbend.

Sitting, supported backbend

There are numerous variations and different poses that start with a backbend. In its most used forms, a backbend can be done while sitting or while standing up.

For all the sitting backbend poses, the pranayama bolster can be used to provide spine support. Put the pranayama bolster behind you, aligning it with where your spine will get to as you lean backward. Lean and feel the support of the bolster, starting from your lower back, up to the base of your head.

Once relaxed on the pranayama bolster, relax your arms at the sides too. Your legs can be straight, cross-legged, in a butterfly pose, or bent at the knees. 

Small Bolster

The small bolster has the same form and usage as the regular cylindrical bolster. Because it’s shorter and smaller, it can be used as a transition bolster – from using a big one to not using one at all.

A small bolster is also very useful for kids or smaller individuals that don’t need a big, standard bolster. Other benefits include easier storage and transportation.

Viparita Karani (Inverted position or Legs-up-the-wall pose)

There are two ways that you can do the Viparita Karani pose. One includes the help of the wall, while the other doesn’t.

Without any help, the Viparita Karani starts in a laying position, by lifting your legs in the air, from the hips. Once you get to a 90-degree angle, you need to push your pelvic area upwards, making space between your sitting area and the floor. Some people can support their pelvic area with their hands, while others use a small bolster to support the back of their pelvic.

The wall-supported Viparita Karani is done similarly to the regular one, with the difference of your legs not hanging freely in the air, but supported up against a wall. The small bolster is once again used as support for the lower back. This allows for bigger relaxation for the legs and the back.

How to Choose the Best Yoga Bolster for You

Since there are different kinds of bolsters for yoga practice, you need to decide and choose the best one for you. There are a couple of things you need to consider before deciding on the right bolster.


As previously explained, Yoga bolsters can have 5 different shapes. Their usage is not restricted to certain poses and you are free to experiment and get creative about a bolster’s usage. But, you still need to have a rough idea of what you’ll use the bolster for.  For example, you would make a mistake buying a round, meditation bolster if you need your bolster to support the length of your spine during poses.

So, think about the poses that you need support with, and buy a bolster that can help with most of them.

Size and Weight

Another thing to think about is your (and the bolsters’) weight. If you go for a small bolster, you might be too heavy for the bolster to support your weight. On the other hand, a bigger bolster will most definitely be heavier, and that might be a problem if you have a longer commute to the yoga studio on foot.

In regards to height, if you are tall, you might be better off with a pranayama (longer) bolster instead of the classical cylindrical bolster which is shorter.

Outer Shell Material

The material of the bolster also makes a big difference. Most of the yoga bolster covers are made from natural fabrics like cotton or hemp. It’s important to look for a bolster that has a removable cover. That will allow you to remove the cover, wash it, and put it back on. Without a removable shell, your bolster might take ages to wash and dry.

Firmness of Filling Material

The bolster you use should be firm enough so it will keep you supported and stable during poses. But, it needs to be soft enough so it will be comfortable for you to sit or lie on.

Most commonly, the inner material will be polyester or some sort of foam. One of the most used polyesters is Recron, which is a hollow polyester fiber that is light and comfortable. Some of the fillings are done with 30% recycled polyester fibers, so they are the middle ground between complete polyester and an eco-friendly option.

Another option is buckwheat, eco friendly, natural, and sustainable filling. But, a buckwheat bolster might be heavier to carry.

Style and Pattern

Even though the style and the pattern of a bolster don’t affect how good they are for your yoga practice, they are important.

Some research has shown that if we interact with something more pleasing to the eyes, we are more likely to actively engage. So, choose a pattern or color that you like and enjoy your yoga poses.


Last, but not least – is the pricing. There is a broad price range for bolsters, from 30$ up to 100$. Cheap yoga bolsters might not be durable, but for the quite expensive ones- you’re mostly paying for the brand instead of the quality itself. So, be guided by your budget and decide by what you’re willing to pay for a yoga bolster pillow.

The website “Yoga Accessories”, one of the best websites about yoga, gives a very thorough and helpful buying guide about yoga bolsters. You can check it out here.

15 best yoga bolsters

1.      Hugger Mugger Standard Yoga Bolster

It’s a standard rectangular yoga bolster, used by beginners and experienced yogis. It has a large, flat surface that provides a considerable amount of support.


  • 25”  wide, 11” long, and 5” tall
  • Handmade in the United States


  • High quality
  • Durable materials
  • Soft surface for maximum comfort and stability
  • Has two carry handles
  • Available in 6 colors


  • Can be expensive  

2.      Gaiam Sol Round Yoga Bolster

Perfect for Restorative yoga poses, has a stable center and offers a lot of support, even though it’s round.


  • 25.5” long and 9“ diameter
  • Weights 5 pounds
  • With soft microfiber, removable cover


  • Versatile
  • Easy to use
  • Comfortable
  • With removable cover
  • Lightweight


  • Only has one color
  • Has only one handle

3.      Florensi Premium Velvet Bolster

The Florensi yoga bolster pillow is an extra firm and eco-friendly rectangular bolster that provides great support. It has a removable velvet cover that is soft to the touch and easy to clean.


  • 26” long, 11” wide, and 5.5” tall
  • Weights 2.64 lbs


  • Sturdy
  • Portable
  • Removable shell
  • Durable
  • Lightweight


  • Has one handle

4.      Hugger Mugger Round Yoga Bolster

This is one of the most famous round yoga bolsters that offers a lot of body support and comfort. It has a greater firmness than some of the other bolsters on our list.


  • 25” long, 9” wide, and 9” tall
  • Weights 6 pounds
  • made in the United States
  • 6 different color options


  • High-quality and durable materials
  • Soft, yet firm support
  • Colors to choose – plum, blue, olive, gray, black, and poppy
  • 2 handles


  • It may be too big for some practitioners
  • Higher on the price range

5.      Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Yoga Bolster

Made from organic cotton, the Home Crystal Cove bolster is suitable for meditation, restorative yoga, and home decoration. It has elegant, decorative embroidery on the removable shell. You can see the usage of the Brentwood Home Crystal Cove bolster in different poses here.


  • 25” long, 11” wide, and 6” tall
  • Weights 12 lbs
  • Embroidery details


  • Removable outer cover
  • Easy to wash and dry
  • Firm and supportive
  • Highly decorative with beautiful embroidery
  • Sturdy handle for moving
  • Durable material


  • Might be too firm for some people
  • Only one color
  • At the high end of the price range
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6.      Gaiam Yoga Bolster Rectangular Meditation Pillow

Giam meditation pillow is a rectangular bolster with a lot of features. It’s made from natural cotton for a lot of support.


  • 27” long, 12” wide, and 7.72” tall
  • Weights 5.2 pounds
  • Natural cotton batting
  • Removable polyester cover
  • Built-in handle
  • 3 color options: black, teal, and purple


  • Natural cotton filling
  • Easy to clean
  • Machine washable shell
  • Affordable price


  • Not as firm as other products
  • Only one handle
  • Synthetic polyester cover 

7.      Lotuscrafts Yin Yoga Bolster

Another rectangular bolster that’s environmentally friendly and made from eco-materials. It is dyed with natural color and the cover is removable for machine wash.


  • 28” long, 12” wide, and 8” tall
  • Weights 3.5 pounds
  • Eco- friendly
  • Natural dyes
  • Organic cotton shell
  • Removable cover
  • Variety of colors


  • Multi purposeful and versatile
  • Sustainable materials
  • Easy to clean due to removable shell
  • Different colors
  • Natural dyes
  • Lightweight
  • Available in two sizes


  • Can be big for some poses or for smaller yogis
  • Too soft compared to some of the other bolsters on our list

8.      ForPro Full Round Bolster

Made from foam and vinyl, this bolster is perfect for relaxation, meditation, and yoga practice. It’s very versatile and can be used for a lot of asanas or as support during meditation.


  • 26” long and 6” diameter
  • Weights 1 lb
  • Comes in two colors
  • Strain resistant cover
  • 2 side handles


  • Durable and highly versatile
  • Stain-resistant
  • Easy to wash due to removable shell
  • On the lower end of the price range
  • With two handles


  • Can be too lumpy or soft for some practitioners
  • Might feel too synthetic for some users
  • Might flatten with usage

9.      Ajna Buckwheat Meditation Cushion

Ajna Zafu meditation cushion is one of the best cushions out there. Ergonomically designed to support the spine and lower back. It also comes with a carry bag, solving the problem of carrying the cushion to the studio and back home.


  • 15.5” long, 12.5” wide, and 6.6” inches
  • A two-layer design
  • Cotton and velvet shell
  • Filled with a unique blend of buckwheat and lavender hulls
  • 5 vibrant colors – rose quartz, amethyst, celestite crystal, emerald, and sapphire
  • Comes with a carry bag


  • Ergonomically designed
  • Adjustable height
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Made of organic and ethically sourced materials
  • Nice smell due to lavender hulls inside
  • Comes with a carry bag
  • Available in more colors


  • Suitable for meditation only
  • With one handle

10.  Manduka Enlight Rectangular Yoga Bolster

It’s made from 30% recycled fiber-fill with a plush, suede-like cover. It has a handle and a hidden zipper for protection.  You can see a video review for this yoga bolster.


  • 28” long, 11.75” wide, and 5” tall
  • Weights 2.55 pounds
  • Fiber-fill
  • Plush microfiber material covers
  • Removable cover
  • Carrying handle
  • Available in 7 colors
  • Hidden zipper design for safety


  • Very soft fabric
  • Easy to wash due to removable cover
  • Hidden zipper
  • 7 colors available
  • Easy to transport
  • Lightweight


  • Not as firm as other products on our list
  • Only one handle

11.  Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Pranayama Yoga Pillow

It’s made from natural buckwheat filling, perfect for support. It also has an organic cotton liner that can be opened to adjust the firmness by adding or removing the filling. It comes from the same manufacturer as the number 5 on our list, but this one is in a pranayama form.


  • 26” long, 6” wide, and 4” tall
  • Weights 5 pounds
  • Buckwheat filling
  • Organic cotton shell
  • Adjustable
  • Gray color
  • Embroidered design
  • Carrying handle


  • Offers more support than some other options
  • Made of certified organic materials
  • Adjustable firmness
  • Highly decorative
  • Suitable for taller practitioners who need longer bolsters


  • Expensive
  • Only one color
  • One handle

12.  Bean Products Yoga Bolster

The Bean Products yoga bolster is available in natural cotton, hemp, or vinyl. It has a removable shell, easy for washing. The company itself has cylindrical, rectangular, and pranayama bolsters in 30 different colors.


  • 25” long, 12” wide, and 6” tall
  • Weights 5.2 lbs
  • Foam core with cotton reinforcement
  • Available in 30 colors
  • Made in the United States


  • Three shell materials to choose from
  • Machine washable due to removable shell
  • Durable
  • Sturdy and firm
  • Eco-friendly
  • Available in 30 colors


  • Small size
  • At the higher end of the price range
  • Might be too sturdy for some practitioners

13.  YogaAccessories Supportive Round Cotton Yoga Bolster

This cylindrical bolster is made out of cotton filling and cover, making it great for people intolerant to synthetics. It has a zipper and a removable shell that is easy to machine wash and clean.


  • 100% cotton filling and cover
  • 28” long and 10” diameter
  • Weights 6 pounds
  • 9 colors: black, bright blue, dark gray, light gray, off-white, purple, sage, blue embroidered, or purple embroidered
  • A removable shell that is machine washable


  • Made of 100% cotton
  • Removable shell
  • Easy to carry around
  • Budget-friendly
  • 9 color options to choose from
  • 2 handles


  • It may feel too big for smaller yogis
  • Might be too sturdy for some users

14.  Gaiam Yoga Bolster

This Gaiam yoga bolster is made of plush cotton filling and a soft microfiber shell that can be removed for washing. It also has a handle. You can watch a video presentation of the Gaiam Yoga bolster here.


  • 25” long, 12” wide, and 5” tall
  • Weights 4 lbs
  • Available in 3 colors: Black, Purple, and Teal
  • With a handle


  • Ultra-soft cushion
  • All-natural filling
  • Sturdy handles
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to clean due to removable shell
  • Machine washable
  • Available in 3 colors


  • Might get lumpy
  • Synthetic polyester shell
  • One handle

15.  Gayo Yoga Bolster

The Gayo yoga bolster is made out of organic cotton that comes with an extra cover (shell) and a travel bag. It’s also a little bit shorter than the rest of the bolsters on our list.


  • 18” long, 11” wide, and 6.5” tall
  • Weights 4 lbs
  • Made from 100% certified organic cotton
  • Comes in a package with an extra cover and a travel bag


  • Eco-friendly
  • Easy to wash due to removable cover
  • Travel-friendly due to the travel bag included in the package
  • Comes with an extra cover
  • Lightweight


  • Might have an unpleasant smell
  • Might be small for taller practitioners
  • Only one combination of colors

How to store and care for your yoga bolsters

To know how to properly take care of your bolster, make sure that you read the manufacturer’s instructions.

Most of the bolsters come with removable covers that you can wash and dry in a washing/drying machine. Most of the covers need to be washed in lukewarm water, on a gentle cycle. Also, to prevent any possible shrinking of the shell, it might be best to air dry the bolster covers.

Some bolsters also have the possibility of adding or removing the filling. If the firmness is most important to you, then you should buy one of the adjustable bolsters.

Some of the bolsters mentioned in our product reviews have bags for safekeeping and transport. If you plan on moving your bolster a lot, it might be best for you to either buy a bolster that comes with a bag or simply buy yourself a protective bag.


Yoga bolsters are one of the most important props for yoga practice. No matter if you still can’t do the poses properly, so you need some support; or you simply want to relax more during asanas – yoga bolsters are here to help you.

I hope that this thorough buyer guide helped you decide what kind of bolster you need. Also, if there is anything I’ve missed; if you want to add something; share your experience, or do a product review for some of the mentioned bolsters, feel free to do so in the comment section. I would love to hear about your experience! 

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