Best Yoga Bolsters & Pillows of 2018: The perfect Props to Relax and Recenter

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Have you ever taken a yin or restorative class?

If you have, you know how good it feels to have an hour or so to basically drape yourself over blocks and pillows and just relax.

If you haven’t taken a yin/restorative class, then you’re really, really missing out!

Regardless of your experience level with these types of yoga, everyone likes to relax, and that’s what these classes are all about.

While you don’t need to buy or use any special props, it’s great to have props to support you and help you relax more deeply into your poses. I particularly love my bolsters, but there are so many options to wade through.

Let me help you find the best yoga bolster so you can get to letting go!

Bolsters and Why You Need One

Props are underutilized and underrated in yoga. Do you feel like you’re cheating when you use a strap to access a deeper backbend or using a block during trikonasana?

This mindset is such a hindrance to your practice! There is nothing wrong with using props, and instead of seeing them as the easy way out, view them as a way to deepen your practice.

I promise if you use props long enough, you’ll eventually see that you don’t need them in certain poses at all.

A yoga bolster is a long, firm cushion that’s usually seen in restorative and yin yoga classes. They’re great for yogis of any experience level, but they’re particularly wonderful for aging, pregnant, or injured yogis.

There are typically two shapes of bolsters: round bolsters that mimic the shape of a rolled up blanket, and rectangular bolsters with square edges. There isn’t an advantage to one over the other; it’s really up to your personal preference.

There are different levels of firmness, too, so if you’re picky about how firm or soft things are, then definitely test them out before purchasing one.

What are the specific benefits to using a yoga bolster?

For lower back release: Putting a round bolster under your low back provides the perfect amount of tension release because your back is getting a good stretch with the plenty of support.

Put the bolster under your low back during bridge pose and let your body relax completely into the bolster. You can get the same type of stretch with legs-up-the-wall pose by putting the bolster under your hips/buttocks.

​Improving your flexibility: Yes, you can improve your flexibility and be comfortable. It’s much easier to work on your hamstrings when you can fully relax into the pose and not have to support yourself.

If you’re working on the splits, for example, slowly and safely gain flexibility in a seated wide forward fold by placing a round bolster in front of you for support as you lean forward.

Relaxation: This is a no brainer. Who isn’t relaxed when they’re cuddling a giant pillow? My favorite juicy restorative pose is single pigeon with the bolster tucked under my chest and abdomen. This is guaranteed to make me sleepy every time!

If you’ve never used a bolster before, you probably have no idea when to use a bolster during your practice. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Supported backbends/chest openers.
  • Supported single and double pigeon (most delicious restorative pose ever!)
  • Supported seated forward fold.
  • Supported child’s pose.
  • Supported legs-up-the-wall.

Do you notice a trend with that list? Good. You have no idea how deep and satisfying a restorative or yin class is until you’ve relaxed into a supported posture.

My Full Product Breakdown:

Hugger Mugger

Sale
Hugger Mugger Standard Yoga Bolster (Black)
  • Exceptional firmness to maintain structural integrity in all poses
  • Upholstery-grade fabrics are durable and long lasting

Last update on 2018-05-23 at 18:25  - More InfoProduct prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product." / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This mat has a flat surface, making it ideal for supine poses needing a lot of stability and support. If you want stability and don’t like the round bolsters, this would be a great addition to your prop collection.

Dimensions: 25″L x 12″W X 6″H

Materials:Cotton, foam, and polyester.

What we liked:

  • Each bolster is handmade with upholstery-grade fabrics that are soft but durable.
  • The cover is easily removed and washable for convenient cleaning.
  • The dimensions are larger than most other bolsters on the market, so if you’re tall or prefer more support beneath you, this is a perfect fit.
  • The zipper is tucked inside to avoid getting jabbed during a pose.

 What we didn’t like:

  • Some customers say the cover shrinks if it’s put in the dryer, so use caution when washing the cover.
  • When I say it’s firm, I mean it’s firm. If you like soft, cushy items, this is not the bolster for you.

YogaAccessories Round Cotton Bolster

YogaAccessories Supportive Round Cotton Yoga Bolster - Purple
  • 100% cotton filling and cover
  • Zippered case is machine washable

Last update on 2018-05-23 at 18:25  - More InfoProduct prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product." / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re looking for a quality bolster on a budget, YogaAccessories is known for their well-made products that almost anyone can afford.

This round bolster is the perfect combination of soft and firm.

Dimensions: 28″L x 10″D

Weight: 6 pounds

What we liked:

  • The outer cover has a zipper and is safe to wash at home.
  • There are no synthetics; the inner part of the bolster is 100 percent cotton.
  • The bolster doesn’t compress as you lay on it, so you get the stretch you need without having to let it regain its shape between poses.

 What we didn’t like:

  • Based on the bolster’s hefty weight, you might not want to lug this to your studio, especially if you have a heavier mat like a Manduka to tote with you.
  • The cover arrives smelling like chemicals, but the smell washes ou well.
  • Its sheer size won’t be a good fit for smaller yogis.

Manduka Lightweight and Supportive Bolster

Manduka Lightweight and Supportive Round Yoga Bolster, Thunder
  • Now featuring eQua Plus fabric, infused with recylced coconut shells
  • airCORETM technology maintains bolster shape and reduces weight

Last update on 2018-05-23 at 18:25  - More InfoProduct prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product." / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This bolster is incredibly lightweight for its size, providing the perfect combo of portability and support.

Dimensions: 6” x 12”x 26.5”L

Weight: 3.9 lbs

What we liked:

  •  The cover is made with Manduka’s signature eQua microfiber, so it’s incredibly soft and machine washable.
  • airCORE technology ensures your bolster keeps its shape while reducing the bolster’s overall weight by 30 percent.
  • The Sewn-in handle makes it easy to transport to classes at your studio.
  • The zipper is seamless, giving you a smooth, comfortable finish.

 What we didn’t like:

  • The Manduka bolster is a bit more narrow than other bolster brands on the market, so consider the dimensions before you purchase.
  • The microfiber cover tends to pick up a ton of pet hair and household lint.

YogaAccessories Rectangular Cotton Yoga Bolster

Sale
YogaAccessories (TM) Rectangular Cotton Yoga Bolster - Off White
  • 24'' long x 6'' high x 12'' wide
  • Removable cover for easy washing

Last update on 2018-05-23 at 18:25  - More InfoProduct prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product." / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This bolster has a washable cover and is the perfect size and weight for taking to and from studio classes.

Dimensions: 24″L x 6″H x 12″W

What we liked:

  •  Each bolster uses 100 percent cotton batting and no synthetic materials, so there are no weird smells when it’s brand new.
  • The cotton provides enough firmness to give you the right amount of support while still remaining soft enough for a supported savasana.
  • Despite having a rectangular shape, the corners are rounded so you can comfortably fold over the bolster..

 What we didn’t like:

  • The bolster is firm enough that it requires a bit of breaking in.
  • Its dimensions aren’t ideal if you’re short or very petite yogis because you might find it too bulky.
  • If you aren’t that flexible yet, the size and firmness will be too much for you. I recommend this for yogis who have a more flexible spine.

Bean Products Yoga Bolster

Sale
Bean Products Yoga Bolster - Cotton Rectangle - Red
  • Our 30th Year of Providing Premium Hemp, Cotton, Organic Cotton or Easy Care Vinyl Yoga Bolsters in Rectangular, Round or Pranayama Shapes
  • Best quality removable fabrics, durable foam core, tight cotton batting wrap, cotton muslin inner case

Last update on 2018-05-23 at 18:25  - More InfoProduct prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product." / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bean Products’ yoga bolsters are available in 20 different colors with a 100 percent cotton cover.

Dimensions: 27″L x 9″W

What we liked:

  •  The core is made from a durable foam rubber wrapped in cotton batting. This helps your bolster maintain its shape long-term without being hard and uncomfortable..
  • It doesn’t matter if you’re a chronic sweater; the cotton covers are removable and machine washable.
  • If you’re very flexible, the height of this bolster gives you the perfect amount of lift for deeper backbends.

 What we didn’t like:

  • Some users complain of an odd smell to the fabric when the bolster is brand new.
  • Not suitable for beginner or very inflexible yogis due to its firmness.

The perfect bolster boils down to what you want in terms of size and firmness.

Very firm bolsters are going to be better for you if you have a flexible spine and a more advanced practice, but if you’re new to yoga, a softer bolster will be far more comfortable.

Do you have a particular yoga bolster you love? One you hate? Let me know in the comments what you think the best yoga bolster you’ve tried is!

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