Sometimes your mat just isn’t supportive enough. Do you ever wish you could just release a little bit more during yoga class? What if you could take pressure off your low back or add some more height and comfort to your favorite asanas?
A yoga pillow or yoga bolster is the ultimate support for a regular yoga practice. Bolsters help open up the heart in restorative poses. They can be used as a cushion for your tailbone or knees. They can add height that improves stretching and helps you relax into specific asanas. As a bonus, they make excellent meditation pillows if you are staying seated for a long period of time.
- 1 What’s the Best Yoga Bolster? Quick Picks
- 2 What is a Yoga Bolster?
- 3 Why Use a Yoga Bolster?
- 4 Top 8 Yoga Bolsters Comparison Chart
- 5 The Best Yoga Bolsters Reviewed
- 5.1 Best Overall: Manduka Enlight Yoga Bolster
- 5.2 Best Luxury Option: Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Yoga Bolster
- 5.3 Best Budget Option: Simian Yoga Bolster Pillow
- 5.4 Best Round Option: Gaiam Sol Round Yoga Bolster
- 5.5 Most Versatile: Hugger Mugger Standard Yoga Bolster
- 5.6 Best Eco Friendly Option: Bean Products Yoga Bolster
- 5.7 Best for Yin Yoga: Waterglider International Pranamaya Bolster
- 5.8 Best for Smaller Yogis: YogaAccessories Pranayama Cotton Yoga Bolster
- 6 Benefits of a Yoga Bolster (aka Yoga Pillow)
- 7 How to Use a Yoga Bolster
- 8 How to Choose the Right Yoga Bolster
- 9 How To Care For Your Yoga Bolster
- 10 Enjoy a Supported Practice!
What’s the Best Yoga Bolster? Quick Picks
- Best Overall: Manduka Enlight Yoga Bolster
- Best Luxury Option: Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Yoga Bolster
- Best Budget Option: Simian Yoga Bolster Pillow
- Best Round Option: Gaiam Sol Round Yoga Bolster
- Most Versatile: Hugger Mugger Standard Yoga Bolster
- Best Eco Friendly Option: Bean Products Yoga Bolster
- Best for Yin Yoga: Waterglider International Pranamaya Bolster
- Best for Smaller Yogis: YogaAccessories Pranayama Cotton Yoga Bolster
What is a Yoga Bolster?
Yoga bolsters are firm pillows that come in a range of sizes and shapes. They can be rectangular, round, thick, or thin, and made of a variety of materials (the best are reviewed below). You will find bolsters commonly used in Yin yoga and restorative yoga classes. They are common props in studios thanks to the extra support and cushion they provide for beginners, pregnant yogis, or yogis with joint, back or knee pain.
Why Use a Yoga Bolster?
Yoga bolsters are feel-good props similar to body pillows, but more firm and typically rectangular. They take strain off the body by adding height and/or support in restorative yoga poses.
If you are seeking a cozy, rejuvenating yoga session, these top-rated yoga pillows are the most popular amongst yoga instructors and studios. We reviewed them to help you find the best yoga bolster for taking a deep breath and getting the release you crave.
Top 8 Yoga Bolsters Comparison Chart
|Product's name||Size||Material||More Info|
Manduka Enlight Yoga Bolster - Absorbent and Supportive, with Soft...
|28” x 11.75” x 5”||30% recycled polyester core and microfiber cover||See latest price|
Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Yoga Bolster, Buckwheat Fill Rectangular...
|25” x 11” x 6”||GOTS certified organic cotton and buckwheat fill||See latest price|
Simian Yoga Bolster Pillow Premium Meditation Bolsters Supportive...
|27.6” x 9.8” x 4.5”||Firm PP foam fill and microfiber cover||See latest price|
|Round Option |
Gaiam Sol Studio Select Round Yoga Bolster - Supportive Cotton Yoga Pillow...
|25.5" x 9" x 4”||Cotton fill and microfiber cover||See latest price|
|Most Versatile |
Hugger Mugger Standard Yoga Bolster - Black - Firm Core with a Soft...
|25” x 11” x 5”||Foam core, cotton batting, and cotton cover||See latest price|
Bean Products Yoga Bolster - Handcrafted in The USA with Eco Friendly...
|25” x 12” x 6”||Commercial grade foam and hemp, cotton, OR organic cotton cover||See latest price|
Waterglider International Rectangular Pranamaya Bolster, Organic Cotton...
|27” x 8” x 5”||Organic cotton fill and cover||See latest price|
YogaAccessories Pranayama Cotton Yoga Bolster, Off White
|25” x 6” x 3”||100% cotton filling and cover||See latest price|
The Best Yoga Bolsters Reviewed
Best Overall: Manduka Enlight Yoga BolsterSee latest price
Firm back support, silky soft removable cover, and oh so cozy? This yoga bolster from Manduka is everything you could want in a yoga accessory. It is rectangular shaped to provide support along the spine or head while also saving space in storage. The fabric is absorbent, smooth, and easy to remove for washing. The core is 30% recycled polyester and the perfect amount of firmness for support and comfortable medium cushioning – not too hard, but not too squishy and pillowy either.
Manduka is highly regarded in the yoga community for its super high quality products and dedication to sustainability. These bolsters last forever and are so easy to clean. Simply pull off the microber cover, machine wash cold, and hang to dry. The bolster core is absorbent yet water-resistant and thoroughly protected from sweat by the thick, durable cover. The well-stitched handle makes it easy to move around and transport to/from classes.
- Soft microfiber cover is removable and washable
- Perfect size for most body types (28” x 11.75” x 5”)
- Helps relieve back pain
- Excellent for lifting the pelvis during meditation
- Lightweight for transport
- Rectangular size is modular and easy to store
- Perfect for restorative yoga or back pain relief
- It does compress a little bit under pressure (medium firmness)
- Fabric is not great for hot yoga
Best Luxury Option: Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Yoga BolsterSee latest price
If you’d rather proudly display your yoga bolster instead of stashing it away with old mats, the Brentwood Home Crystal Cove bolster is decorative and luxurious. The certified organic cotton lining and buckwheat fill are ultra-sustainable and non-toxic. You can even open the organic liner to remove buckwheat (customize the firmness) or replace the fill after a few years. The elaborately stitched outer cover is removable and washable for easy clean up.
Every detail of this bolster is thoughtfully designed. The shell-like patterned stitching is soft and stunning, making this pillow not only functional for yoga but also as home decor. The interior is 100% sustainable buckwheat fill that is sturdy, firm, and durable. This unique fill makes the Brentwood Home yoga pillow denser and heavier (12 lbs) than other bolsters. The carrying handle is extra tough, double stitched, and embroidered with lovely tree emblems.
- 100% natural materials
- Customizable firmness (can add or remove buckwheat hull filling)
- Organic inner liner
- Beautiful stitching and design
- Can be used for decor
- Extremely sturdy
- Does not compress when pressure is applied (very firm)
- Excellent support for meditation or yin yoga
- Best for home use; may be too heavy to transport to/from classes
- Higher price point
See latest price
Best Budget Option: Simian Yoga Bolster Pillow
Simian’s more affordable bolster is available at a great price point and very functional design. The bolster is rectangular and ergonomic for chest opening, back support, or knee supportive poses. It has a synthetic fill and removable cover. The fabric is absorbent microfiber to keep you dry and sweat-free. It is machine-washable and very comfortable to sit or lay on.
Despite the cheaper price point, the Simian does not compress or squish down beneath your body weight. It is a travel-friendly size yet still great for studio use. There is a double sewn handle and hidden zipper to make it easy to transport.
- Ergonomic shape is lovely for back or chest opening poses
- 4 color options
- Very firm (does not compress or squish down)
- Soft outer texture
- Easily removable and washable cover
- Great size and weight for travel (27.6” x 9.8” x 4.5”)
- May be too small for some yogis
- Synthetic materials
- Microfiber cover may be sweaty for some people
Best Round Option: Gaiam Sol Round Yoga BolsterSee latest price
A rounded bolster is the most versatile of yoga cushions because it can be used as a roller, under-spine support, or shoulder support. This bolster is filled with cotton batting and a super stable center to keep you grounded. It has a microfiber cover that is machine washable, as well as a sturdy carrying handle. At about 5 lbs, it’s easy to transport to and from the studio, or keep as a cozy support at home.
- Super comfortable and sturdy without being too hard (medium firmness)
- Removable and washable cover
- Soft microfiber surface
- Lightweight and great for travel
- Only ways about 5 lbs
- Rounded shape may compress more under heavier body weight
- Cotton fill may absorb scents or moisture
Most Versatile: Hugger Mugger Standard Yoga BolsterSee latest price
Hugger Mugger doesn’t ever disappoint with their solid, high-rated, made-in-the-USA yoga gear. This bolster is no different! It comes in 7 different colors, all with upholstery-grade super comfortable fabrics. The pillow has a firm foam core, cotton batting, and a cotton cover. It is a fairly standard size (25” x 11” x 5”) and lightweight (5 lbs).
I especially love that this bolster is so thick and firm beneath you. It is not like a memory-foam or cushiony pillow; it provides real support and extra firmness. The only downside is that the cover is difficult to remove and replace for washing.
- Very solid and thick bolster (extra firmness)
- Ultra supportive
- 100% cotton and foam
- Soft cotton cover
- Made in the USA
- Multiple color options
- Rectangular shape is ideal for sitting and laying positions
- Great size for most people
- Soft surface
- Very durable and lasts a long time
- Cover may shrink with washing
- Difficult to remove and replace cover for washing
- May have chemical smell
Best Eco Friendly Option: Bean Products Yoga BolsterSee latest price
Bean Products is unique in that they let you choose a hemp, regular cotton, or organic cotton cover in a variety of colors. Their premium natural materials are non-toxic, super soft, and have no chemical smells. These bolsters are made in the USA by a family business using sustainably sourced materials.
The Bean Products yoga pillow is wider at the top and lower in height for deeper supported bends and gentler chest opening poses. The foam core is very firm, thick and sturdy. These bolsters are built to last and include a 1 year warranty.
- Made in USA with eco-friendly materials
- Non-toxic and no chemical smell
- Cover options of your choice (hemp, conventional cotton, or organic cotton)
- Studio-grade quality
- Very firm and durable
- 1 year warranty
- Super supportive
- Cover may be difficult to remove for washing
- Lower height isn’t great for all body types
- Higher price point
Best for Yin Yoga: Waterglider International Pranamaya BolsterSee latest price
With a longer, thinner, oblong shape, the Waterglider bolster is the most comfortable for yin yoga or holding any poses for extended time periods. Somewhere between a body pillow and a yoga bolster, this bolster is made with 100% organic cotton batting that is firm yet somewhat cushiony. They are stuffed very thick and still stiff enough for tremendous support. The narrow design of this bolster is very popular amongst pregnant yogis and large chested women.
- 100% organic cotton fill
- Very comfortable for holding long poses
- Not too hard (medium to hard firmness, slight cushion)
- Narrow, longer design great for pregnant and large-chested yogis
- Removable and washable cover
- Vibrant saffron orange color
- High quality soft exterior
- Elongated shape may be awkward for some body types
- Too stiff for some individuals
Best for Smaller Yogis: YogaAccessories Pranayama Cotton Yoga BolsterSee latest price
At 25” x 6” x 3”, this bolster is significantly smaller than standard size bolsters and much cheaper! It is a lovely as travel yoga pillow or for smaller body types. The 100% cotton cover and fill are eco-friendly and fluffy-firm. You can add and remove the batting to adjust the firmness. I would rate this bolster at medium firmness with a little bit of give. The shape is oblong and thin, great for extending along the entire spine and melting into the floor. It is also excellent for restorative breathing exercises to open up the chest and provide comfortable support for the expanding lungs.
- 100% cotton fill
- Super cozy for holding long poses
- Medium firmness (slightly fluffy)
- Adjustable firmness by removing or adding batting
- Removable and washable cover
- Small and lightweight for travel or smaller body types
- Great for head, neck, or knees
- Longer oblong style bolster best for spinal support
- High quality canvas and well-sewn
- Very affordable
- Some products may be too lumpy for your liking
- Too firm for some individuals
Benefits of a Yoga Bolster (aka Yoga Pillow)
Yoga bolsters enhance and support your practice with firm cushioning. They bring the floor closer to your body by adding height and improving stretches. Other benefits of a yoga bolster include:
- Chest and back opening
- Greater relaxation
- Softening of asanas
- Cushion for joints or bones against the floor
- Aid in opening up the body
- Improve posture
- Support and cushion the spine
- Add height to improve stretching
- Improve breathwork
- Improve circulation in legs and upper body when placed beneath you
- Add elevation to poses
How to Use a Yoga Bolster
If you’ve never used a yoga bolster in a studio before, it may be confusing to understand how to integrate a pillow into your traditional postures. Here are a few bolster-supported asanas to get you started and help you enjoy the added support of a yoga pillow.
Supported Seated Forward Fold
- Sit on your knees and place the pillow long-ways on your lap
- Fold forward as if into child’s pose, resting your chest on the bolster
- Let your hips sink toward the floor
- Turn your head to one side and release the upper body
- Feel the stretch through your lower back and thighs
- Take deep breaths and relax
Supported Fish Back Bend
- For an incredible chest opening and upper back relief, position a yoga bolster length-wise on your mat
- Place your hips and lumbar spine at the base of the bolster
- Lay back over the bolster, letting your arms drop to the side
- Relax and breathe your chest open, feeling the upper back release into the pillow
Supported Seated Meditation
- For less stress on your low back during meditation, try placing a bolster sideways on your mat
- Place your sit bones on the bolster, crossing the legs and letting your knees fold off the bolster
- Keep your spine straight and feel the yoga pillow support your back through added elevation and raising up the floor
- Breathe and enter your meditation
How to Choose the Right Yoga Bolster
Bolsters come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, materials, and levels of firmness. It is important to ask yourself what you will be using the bolster for and what goals you hope to achieve. Do you want deeper stretches? More comfortable meditations? Longer yin yoga and restorative asanas? Support for pregnant yoga? Talking with a yoga instructor or trying a bolster in a studio class may help you dive deeper into which style of yoga bolsters is best for you.
Material and Filling
Most bolsters are made of cotton, foam, or synthetic fabrics. There are two main parts of a bolster: the core and the cover. Some also contain batting that cushions around the core, and a few bolsters contain only batting with no core.
Cotton batting can be more lumpy, but is also easy to remove or add for changing the firmness. A foam core may have more chemicals or smell to it, but provides more cushiony support. The newly popular buckwheat fill is an ideal happy medium for those seeking eco-friendly, non-toxic materials that are still very firm and adjustable (can be added or removed from the bolster).
Comfort and Firmness
Whether we’re talking about mattresses, pillows, or yoga bolsters, everyone has a different preference for comfort. Yoga bolsters can range from cushiony pillows to medium firmness to ultra dense thick support.
The type of filling you choose will drastically affect the firmness of your bolster. When in doubt, it is better to opt for something a little firmer than a bolster that isn’t firm enough. Too much “give” or “squishiness” will decrease the functionality and support of the bolster during your yoga practice.
The main bolster shapes are: rectangular, oblong (thinner rectangular), and round. While rectangular bolsters are the most common, oblong bolsters are the best for spinal support. Round bolsters are excellent for behind the neck, low back, or knees. It is best to try out some bolsters from a friend or at a local yoga studio to figure out which shape best suits your body type and yoga goals.
Quality yoga bolsters range from $30 to $100, depending on the materials, size, and brand name. Cheap yoga pillows tend to lose their shape and compress down under your body weight. They may also have a chemical or toxic smell due to the type of synthetic materials used. It’s best to opt for something that is eco-friendly, sustainable, and built to last.
How To Care For Your Yoga Bolster
Most yoga bolsters come with a removable cover. It is recommended to wash a bolster cover on a cold gentle cycle and hang to dry to prevent shrinking or damaging the material. Trust me, shrinking your yoga pillow cover and trying to put it back on is a massive headache.
To care for the core and filling of a bolster, simply wipe it down with diluted vinegar or a towel if moisture enters the inner liner. You can also let it dry out in the sun or an aerated place. The bolsters we’ve reviewed are super high quality and don’t seem to have any problems withstanding the tests of time and regular use. Avoid drenching your yoga bolster (nobody wants a moldy yoga pillow) or using it outside.
Enjoy a Supported Practice!
Have you tried any of these yoga bolsters? We’d love to hear about your experience.