Yoga Bolster

Last Updated: January 11, 2024

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Explore the world of yoga bolster pillows and discover their benefits for your yoga practice. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, finding the right yoga bolster pillow can enhance your poses and support you. Dive into our comprehensive guide to learn more.

What is a Yoga Bolster?

A yoga pillow or bolster is a firm cushion used in various yoga styles, including restorative and yin yoga. Similar to other yoga props, these supportive pillows are designed to provide extra support in certain poses, enabling greater comfort and deeper relaxation.

Bolsters come in different shapes and sizes, such as rectangular bolsters and round bolsters, each serving a specific purpose.

  • Rectangular Bolsters: Often used for restorative poses, they support the back and help in gentle chest opening exercises.
  • Round Bolsters: Ideal for poses requiring strong support, such as supported fish pose, these bolsters conform to the body's natural curvature.

Made from organic cotton, foam core, or natural buckwheat, yoga mats and bolsters are essential tools for a fulfilling and comfortable yoga practice.

Whether you need support for your body weight or leg and knee alignment, a great bolster will cater to your unique needs. It's an investment in your practice that's well worth it.

Bolsters for Different Types of Yoga

Yoga cushions offer excellent support, durability, and comfort to complement your yoga practice. Here's a guide to choosing the best yoga bolsters for various needs and preferences:

For Restorative Yoga

  • Shape: Round shape is perfect for yoga poses such as chest openers or backbends.
  • Material: Look for natural materials like organic cotton or buckwheat hulls for firm support.
  • Firmness: Moderately firm.

For Yin Yoga

  • Shape: Rectangular bolsters provide supportive and stable grounding.
  • Material: Opt for soft yet firm materials such as cotton batting.
  • Firmness: Soft to medium.

For Pranayama Practice

  • Shape: Long and lean bolsters support the spine during breathing exercises.
  • Material: Consider natural buckwheat or cotton filling.
  • Firmness: Extra soft for prolonged sitting.

Choosing the best yoga bolster means aligning the product's features with your unique needs, whether for specific yoga styles like pranayama or yin yoga or broader concerns like eco-friendliness, easy maintenance if a carry handle is required or whatever the needs.

What is Inside a Yoga Bolster?

The inside of a yoga bolster can vary, depending on the design and purpose. Here's a breakdown of the common materials found inside a yoga bolster:

  • Foam Core: Offers firm support for poses and doesn't lose shape easily.
  • Cotton Batting: Gives a soft yet supportive feel, often combined with foam for stability.
  • Buckwheat Hulls: Provides excellent support by conforming to the body and is great for meditation cushions.
  • Natural Materials: Some bolsters may contain natural buckwheat or organic cotton, aligning with eco-friendly principles.

Most yoga bolsters also have a removable cushion cover for easy cleaning and a convenient carrying handle.

Whether you choose a bolster filled with cotton filling or buckwheat hulls, ensure it provides the support and comfort you need for your practice.

Benefits of a Yoga Bolster

Yoga bolsters offer a wide range of benefits that enhance yoga practice:

  • Added Support: Bolsters provide strong support in restorative poses and gentle back support for deeper relaxation.
  • Alignment Aid: They help align the body properly, offering extra support to the knees, legs, and back.
  • Enhances Flexibility: Aids in stretches, allowing the body to open up more and improving overall flexibility.
  • Facilitates Meditation: Acting as a meditation cushion, bolsters support comfortable seated positions for extended periods.
  • Health Benefits: Encourages deeper breathing, reduces stress, and supports therapeutic practices in yoga.
  • Versatility: Available in shapes like rectangular and round bolsters, catering to different needs and poses.

5 Reasons to Use a Bolster

Using a bolster in your practice isn't just a matter of preference; it serves specific purposes that can significantly enhance your experience:

Supportive Comfort

Yoga bolsters support for various body parts, allowing deeper relaxation and release in poses. Whether supporting the back in restorative poses or aiding in chest-opening exercises, a bolster can make your practice more comfortable.


Bolsters make certain poses accessible to individuals with physical limitations or injuries. By providing the necessary support, they allow for safe practice and alignment.

Deeper stretches and longer hold times

By offering strong support and stability, bolsters enable practitioners to hold poses for longer, leading to a deeper connection and understanding of the practice.

Relieves Lower Back Pain

A yoga bolster supports and aligns the spine, hips, and pelvis during poses, reducing strain and promoting relaxation, which can help alleviate lower back pain and tension.

Yoga Pillow Shapes and Sizes

Yoga bolsters come in various sizes and shapes, each catering to specific needs and preferences:


  • Round Bolsters: Round bolsters are excellent for poses that require general support and conforming to the body's shape. They are perfect for supported fish poses and other restorative poses.
  • Rectangular Bolsters: These provide a more defined and firm support, suitable for poses needing a flat surface like chest opening exercises. Also referred to as a lean bolster.
  • Pranayama Bolsters: Long and lean bolsters designed for breathwork and spine support during pranayama practices.
  • Other Shapes: There are also unique shapes, like crescent bolsters, that fit perfectly under the knees or neck, offering added support in specific positions.

Size and firmness

  • Size: Bolsters are available in different lengths and widths. Finding the perfect size depends on your body size, the type of yoga, and personal comfort preferences.
  • Firmness: Some bolsters offer firm support, while others may be softer. The choice depends on your need for strong support or soft comfort.
  • Material & Care: Options like removable covers for easy cleaning, GOTS-certified organic cotton, and materials like natural buckwheat allow for personalized choices that align with individual values and needs.

Whether you need a rectangular yoga bolster for supportive restorative poses or a round bolster for more general support, there's an option that's just right for you.

You can find a bolster that complements your practice and enhances your overall yoga experience by considering your specific needs and preferences.

How To Choose the Right Yoga Bolster for You

Selecting the right yoga bolster involves considering your unique needs, preferences, and style of practice:

  • Identify Your Needs: Determine the primary purpose, whether for restorative yoga, yin yoga, or meditation.
  • Select the Shape: Choose between round bolsters, rectangular, and other shapes depending on the support needed.
  • Consider Size and Firmness: Your body size and desired support level should guide the thickness and firmness of the bolster.
  • Material Matters: Look for eco-friendly materials like organic cotton or natural buckwheat if sustainability matters to you.
  • Care and Maintenance: Consider removable covers and machine-washable options for easy cleaning.

Your unique practice and preferences should guide your choice, ensuring that the bolster complements your routine and brings added value to your yoga experience.

How to Take Care of a Yoga Bolster

Proper care and maintenance of your yoga bolster will extend its lifespan and keep it in great condition:

  • Check Labels: Many bolsters come with care instructions. Follow them carefully for optimal longevity.
  • Use Removable Covers: If your bolster has a removable cover, take advantage of it. Wash the cover regularly to keep it fresh and clean. It’s a good idea to invest in an organic cotton cover.
  • Spot Cleaning: If spills or stains occur, use a mild detergent and cold water to spot-clean the area. Avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the fabric.
  • Air Dry: After cleaning, allow the bolster to air dries completely to prevent mold or mildew growth.
  • Consider the Filling: Bolsters with natural materials like buckwheat hulls or cotton batting may require specific care. Ensure you understand the needs of your bolster's particular filling.
  • Storage: Store the bolster in a cool, dry place when not in use to maintain its shape and prevent any potential damage.
  • Avoid Overexposure to Sun: Sun can fade the fabric, so keeping the bolster out of direct sunlight for extended periods is wise.
  • Regular Check: Periodically check for signs of wear and tear to address them early.

The care and maintenance of your yoga bolster are simple but vital steps in preserving its appearance and functionality.

What Else Can I Use a Bolster For?

A yoga bolster is not limited to yoga. Its versatility makes it useful for various other purposes:

Meditation Support

Bolsters are perfect meditation cushions, providing comfortable support during long meditation sessions.

Therapeutic Use

Physical therapists sometimes utilize bolsters to provide extra support and alignment during rehabilitation exercises.

General Home Use

As comfortable back support on a couch or chair, bolsters can make everyday sitting more pleasant.

Pregnancy Support

Pregnant women may find bolsters helpful for providing extra support while sleeping or sitting.

Travel Comfort

Smaller bolsters can be an excellent travel companion, supporting the neck or back during long trips.

Child's Play

Kids often find bolsters to be fun play objects or cozy reading spots.


Choosing the right yoga bolster isn't merely about aesthetics or trends; it's about understanding your unique practice and body. Various factors should guide your choice, from shape and size to materials and care instructions.

Whether you're looking for strong support in restorative poses or a perfect cushion for meditation, a well-chosen bolster can enhance your practice, providing comfort, alignment, and a deeper connection to the practice.

Investing in a yoga bolster that aligns with your specific needs, you invest in a more fulfilling and personalized yoga experience.

Frequently Asked Questions about Yoga Bolsters

Do Yoga Instructors use yoga bolsters?

Yes, many yoga instructors use yoga bolsters as props in their classes.

What is the Best Type of Yoga Bolster?

The best yoga bolster is a matter of choice and depends on your practice. A round bolster us great for general support, while a rectangular bolster provides firm, flat support. Pranayama bolsters are excellent for breathwork.

How Thick Should a Yoga Bolster Be?

Thickness depends on the support needed. Thicker bolsters provide more lift, while thinner ones offer gentle support. The best thickness aligns with your body's requirements.

How Do I Choose a Yoga Bolster?

Consider your yoga style, body size, desired support level, and personal values such as eco-friendliness. Selecting a yoga class with a bolster that aligns with these factors ensures a great fit.

Can I Use a Pillow Instead of a Yoga Bolster?

While regular pillows can be used as a temporary substitute, they often lack the firmness and shape needed for proper support in yoga. A specialized yoga pillow with a bolster is designed to provide the necessary support and durability.


What is a yoga bolster - 108 uses to get you started

Yoga using props - Wikipedia

What is a Yoga Bolster? - Definition from Yogapedia



The contents of this article are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any health-related changes or if you have any questions or concerns about your health. Anahana is not liable for any errors, omissions, or consequences that may occur from using the information provided.