Top 11 Best Yoga Bolsters For Relaxation In 2020
Do you enjoy the more mellow side of yoga?
Adding bolsters in with your practice is a wonderful way to achieve those deeper states of relaxation and calm.
The issue is, where do you start?
With so many different shapes, materials, and padding options to choose from, it can be difficult to know if you’re getting the right one for you.
I’ve tried a good amount of the products listed below and hope to guide you as we figure out the best yoga bolster for your needs.
Let’s start at the top...
With over 1000 reviews, there’s a reason this bolster is so popular. It’s ultra dense cotton foam filling offers encouraging support that allows you to just melt into poses.
Perfect For Chest Opening
The length and width of this bolster allows you to really relax and open up your chest. It’s nice to allow your arms to fall out to either side and just breathe. We don’t realize how forward our shoulders are until you really let go and allow yourself to be supported on a bolster like this.
- YogaAccessories Rectangular Cotton Bolster
- ForPro Full Round Bolster
- Ajna Yoga Bolster Pillow
- 7 Piece Restorative Yoga Set
- Blazing Needles Twill Bolster Pillows
- Peach Blossom Yoga 3 Piece Restorative Yoga Set
- YogaAccessories Pranayama Cotton Yoga Bolster
- YogaAccessories Supportive Round Cotton Bolster
- The Angle by Back Support Systems
- YogaDirect Supportive Rectangular Cotton Yoga Bolster
- Bean Organic Cotton Bolsters
This may not be what you traditionally think of when it comes to a yoga bolster, but it has two unique qualities that make it very helpful.
First is how dense it its. It’s made from a high density foam that’s quite unique. Other bolsters can get matted down time after time, but this one returns to its original shape. It’s firm, but also forgiving at the same time.
Second, the vinyl covering is interesting.
Easy To Wash
The vinyl outer layer makes this bolster really easy to wash. Simply spray it down with whatever type of eco-friendly cleaner you like using, wipe it dry, and you’re good to go.
It’s much easier to clean than having to take off the entire outer layer and run it through the washing machine. Or worse yet, hand washing it!
This is ideal for those who place eco-friendliness above all other aspects in their buying decisions…
The materials are vegan, sustainable, and always void of toxic chemicals. Given the fact you are often in such an intimate proximity to your bolster, this is definitely a good option.
More Than Earth Friendly - It’s Useful Too
Ecologically conscious products don't have to mean a sacrifice in quality. The suede top layer feels fantastic on your body.
Furthermore, this bolster is just slightly smaller than the standard dimensions. 25 x 10 x 5 inches means it’s ideal for those who want something that won’t take up as much space.
What Are The Best Yoga Bolster Sets?
Sometimes you want a package deal…
Here are a few different sets you might want to look at. I will admit that the best option is always to get specific individual bolsters for your needs, but you can still take care of some of your needs by getting a bolster set.
Best Bolster Set
This is a really cool set up…
I like the fact it has a meditation pad as well. Sometimes when you are sitting on a bolster for meditation your ankles feel awkward on the hard ground. This prevents that from happening.
If you do yoga nidra then you’ll really love the mask/eye pillow it comes with… That gentle pressure on your face feels nice and helps you go deeper.
About Your Neck And Knees
The two small round bolsters that come with this set are fantastic to place under your knees and your neck. They are nothing too special, but the fact you can have just a tiny bit of support in both these areas goes a long way in helping you to achieve that sense of calm.
Technically, these are two round throw-pillows, but they are a good option for those who want a lot of cushion.
Some people find a bolster to be just too hard. If you are laying on top of a bolster, it’s firm nature is meant to lovingly push or encourage the body in an upward direction. Sometimes however, that push is just too much.
When You Desire Softness
People with chronic pain or those who have a relatively frail body type will enjoy these pillows. Sometimes it’s best to allow your body to sink in, rather than have too much support.
Lastly, these are nice to have if you watch movies in bed. The extra padding on your lower back feels nice when sitting up in bed for long periods of time.
This isn’t exactly a bolster set, but you can still use it for Yin or restorative yoga.
This comes with a buckwheat meditation cushion which could be easily used as a bolster. The distinction is important here however…
Meditation Cushion VS Yoga Bolster
Most meditation cushions are filled with buckwheat and not foam or cotton. It is very possible to use a meditation cushion as a small bolster, but it’s much more firm.
A meditation cushion is designed for sitting and having a lot of weight on it. Bolsters are generally for support and padding when holding various yoga poses.
What About Bolsters Under My Knees?
Placing a bolster under your knees can help to take tension out of your lower back when lying down. Depending on how well aligned your lumbar vertebrae are could mean you need a bigger or a smaller bolster.
As a side note, if you have lumbar or lower back issues then you may want to look here at this post on yoga wheels. The can be helpful if you take things slow.
What’s being left out...
I’m leaving out half circle bolsters from this list. Those are nice, but they are often used in massage therapy and not normally for yoga. You could very well use one if you wanted, but it’s typically not for traditional yoga classes.
Best Knee Bolster
This rectangular bolster is a small workhorse…
The outer canvas layer is well constructed. It’ll definitely hold up over time.
This is important because bolsters can take a lot of abuse over the years being kicked and thrown out of the way. This is especially true if you have a family that uses these for more than just yoga.
Regarding The Shape
Although it is “rectangular” you’ll find because it’s so small it starts to take on more of a “tube” shape. The more you use this bolster the more you’ll find it just sort of molds to whatever you’re doing.
It feels good under your knees because it’s not too big. Also, it feels nice to lay with your spine on it and allow your head to touch the ground. Because it’s only about 3 inches high, the distance your head has to travel to touch the mat isn’t that far.
You may think having such a large bolster under your knees wouldn’t be comfortable, but that’s not always the case.
While having a smaller bolster will typically do the job for most people, larger bolsters can be just as comfortable.
Keep Size In Mind For Travel
While having a dozen different bolsters is nice, it’s not so great when you want to travel somewhere. A big round bolster at home is good for many yoga postures, but it’s not always worth it to lug it into the classroom every day.
Most bolsters can be used for other purposes. This one however, is meant strictly for your knees.
These are typically used in rehab and medical settings, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t enjoy one in the comfort of your own home.
A Lazy Afternoon In Bed?
Keep in mind that while yes, bolsters are perfect tools to assist you in your yoga practice, they also work very well for relaxing or reading in bed. If you want to lay around in your harem pants and relax the day away then go for it!
It’s pretty easy to go off the deep end when looking at all the different styles of bolsters, so let’s return a few classic examples.
This is a really good bolster, except it has one minor flaw…
There are lot’s of good quality bolsters you’ll be happy with out there, but some of them you’ll want to let air out first.
Because most bolsters are made in a factory they are going to have an industrial smell to them. I’m not saying all bolster are toxic, it's just hard to find out exactly what goes into the manufacturing process.
Getting The Smell Off Your New Bolster
I’m a big fan of letting things sit in the sun for the better part of an afternoon. Even if it doesn’t have a smell to it I never know where in the world it’s been and what it’s been exposed to along the way.
Furthermore, I enjoy the sun’s healing and restorative properties as well. It feels like I’m giving my bolster an energetic clean slate before I begin using it.
Bean has lots of cool colors to pick from!
If the camo design is not your favorite, don’t worry. They have about 20 different styles, colors and shapes to pick from. If you want to color coordinate your yoga setup or studio then this brand may just have the right styles you're looking for.
A Reliable Company
Bean has been in business for over 30 years. They offer fantastic, reliable products with tremendous customer service. This is a business that understands its customer and seeks to make them happy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few common questions to keep in mind before selecting your next yoga bolster. Everyone has different wants and needs so be sure to do some research before you pick up the first one that looks good.
What size yoga bolster should I buy?
The best size to get is probably 24” x 12” x 6”. It’s hard to say exactly what is best for each person, but this is a very common size that’s used in many yoga classes.
It might seem a bit large, but you’ll be able to do most of your basic yoga postures with this size of bolster.
What is a yoga bolster filled with?
Here are the most common stuffing materials for a bolster:
- Or a mixture of the above
Be sure to check what your ‘bolster” is filled with. You might end up buying a dense meditation cushion if you are not careful.
Refrain from assumptions...
Furthermore don’t assume that foam will be softer than cotton or vise versa. Every bolster is manufactured differently and will have a different density.
Do I need a yoga bolster?
Most studios will provide you with a bolster if you are going to class that uses one. Many people opt to use the one the yoga studio provides for a few classes to see if they enjoy it. After that it’s fairly commonplace to purchase your own.
How do you lay on a yoga bolster?
Allow yourself to be guided by the teacher. It’s best to take a restorative or Yin style yoga class so you can get a few of the basics down before practicing solo at home.
How much is a yoga bolster?
Yoga bolsters range from about $20 to $100 depending on the quality. If you want a cheap solution then try using a few throw pillows from the couch.
If you want a quality product that’s going to last then you can expect to pay around $60 for something that will last you at least a decade or more.
The best yoga bolster will obviously depend on your individual needs. If I were buying one for myself then I would go with the number 1 pick from this list.
A good gift option...
If I were going to get something special for a friend then I might go with the Ajna Yoga Bolster. It’s free of any smells and feels absolutely wonderful on your body.
Do you have a bolster or fancy pillow for yoga you absolutely love? Let me know below!