My Favorite Restorative Yoga Prop: The Yoga Bolster

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Ahhhh…..yoga bolsters…..the prop that takes your “restoration” to a new level!

Bolsters come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, but basically, it’s a big pillow to make your restorative yoga poses more relaxing. They can also help “raise the floor” to modify a challenging pose.

If you attend a restorative yoga class, you will most likely have used these – sometimes for the entire class. In gentle yoga classes, sometimes bolsters are used in the cool down part of the class or during savasana (corpse pose).

At home, these wonderful props can help you unwind after a stressful day at work. Bolsters support your body and allow your muscles to relax. As your muscles let go of tension and as your mind becomes calm, your nervous system gets the signal that it’s ok to relax. It’s a great way to wind down before bed, after work, or after a stressful situation.

Here are some comfortable restorative poses that use a bolster.

(4 Variations of Child’s Pose)

Which Bolster is Right for You?

Rectangle Bolster

The bolster I used in the pictures above, YogaAccessories Supportive Yoga Bolster, can be found on Amazon, and is usually reasonably priced.

It is a rectangle shape and a little wider than the oval shaped bolster, which allows you to feel a little more support during use. These bolsters are filled with very thick and dense cotton, so I suggest either walking on them to break them in or letting your kids play with them for a little bit. (I did this, and they softened up nicely.)

They come in lots of different colors. As you can see, I have a dark green and 2 light green bolsters. The fabric is durable – almost like a soft denim, and it unzips so that you can machine wash it if you need to.

89% of Amazon buyers have rated this bolster either 4 or 5 stars, and have some great things to say about it. The only negative, that I also experienced, is that it does have a smell when it arrives. I left mine outside on my porch and the smell went away rather quickly!

Here is a link if you want to check out this bolster!

Rectangular Bolster

Oval Shaped Bolster

The bolsters that I commonly see and use in yoga studios are the Hugger Mugger Standard Yoga Bolster.

They have almost the same dimensions as the rectangular bolsters, but they are usually a little less “stuffed” and are filled with a combination of cotton, polyester, and foam blend, which also makes them weigh less and slightly easier to carry around. Sometimes a softer bolster is more comfortable for twists and chest opening poses. You can always get 2 and double up the bolsters in your practice.

These bolsters come in less of a variety of colors, but also have a machine washable cover.

90% of Amazon buyers have rated this bolster either 4 or 5 stars, and also have wonderful comments about it.

Here is a link if you want to check out this bolster!

Hugger Mugger Bolster
Round Bolster

YogaAccessories also makes a round cotton bolster as well. These can be really nice for laying on your back in Savasana and placing under your knees.

Due to the “sitting” nature of society today, and how our muscles in our back and legs become short and tight, it bothers some people to just lay flat on their back. This can help your lower back (sacrum area) rest on the floor and create a more restful pose for you.

These come in a few different colors as well and once again, has a removable, machine washable cover.

93% of Amazon buyers have rated this round bolster either 4 or 5 stars.

Here is a link if you want to check out this bolster!

Round Bolster

 

 

 

I really hope this post has been helpful in deciding which bolster is right for you. If you have any questions or comments regarding bolsters or yoga poses, please let me know in the comments below!

Namaste

16 comments

  1. Andrea,
    I have never used a bolster. Before buying one could I use a pillow (specifically my old pregnancy pillow) to test out if I’d like using one? You’re posses look super comfy and I want to try them!

    KARA

    1. Hi Kara, You certainly could use a pillow, but probably 2 or 3 would work a little better, just because they do “squish” really easily. Enjoy trying the poses, and let me know what you think of them!

  2. Wooow….this is the kind of post that I have being looking for. I have being searching for all kinds of yoga bolsters and this post sum up everything. I wonder if you could help me know where I can purchase one of these? Thank you.

  3. i do not know much about yoga . But my youngest daughter is a avid fan and does yoga daily. this looked like a great gift idea for her .Being that it is around the time to buy Christmas gifts ,this is good timing. 🙂 You did all the work for me I know not to get the smelly bolster. I think the one with the removable cover would be great for her. Thanks!

  4. This is a really helpful article thank you. My daughter and I have just started doing yoga together and I wasn’t aware of how helpful bolsters can be. Do you need a different sized one for a young child or are they ‘one size fits all’?

    1. Hi Amy! That is wonderful that you are starting yoga with your daughter! This is a great question – my daughter is 12, and quite small for her age. She uses the same size bolster that I do. Occasionally if she isn’t comfortable in a pose, I will prop her up on some blankets and that seems to work just fine! Enjoy your time with your daughter!

  5. I’m pretty interested in the first rectangular bolster! I’m kinda sorta into yoga .. which means, I wish I did it more often lol I’m a novice and have played around with doing yoga in my livingroom – mainly the “30 Days With Adrianna” videos on YouTube. She always has these sort of “pillows” or “blocks” and I think this one would really come in handy for me. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  6. Oh, not only learning about the different restorative poses and ways to use the pillow, but also to get all those different pillow choices and a description of each one. I really appreciate this information alot. Yoga is something I am just getting into, and I’m glad I came across your site in my research.

    Thanks,

    Babs

  7. Hello Andrea,
    Very useful information. I did not know that there were so many types of bolsters that could be used for yoga practice. I tell you, the opportunity to learn something new everyday is boundless. Thanks for sharing.
    Michelle

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