8 Best Yoga Bolsters of 2022 — Top Supportive Yoga Pillows – Good Housekeeping

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Use this guide to find the right pillow to enhance your restorative practice.
If you’re looking for ways to ramp up your yoga routine (especially if you’re using a yoga app at home), a yoga bolster could be exactly what you need — even if you’re a beginner yogi. In fact, yoga bolsters can be especially helpful if you have trouble with certain poses or want to make positions more comfortable. “Bolsters are for everybody — no matter what your body type or your practice,” says Lulu Soni, a yoga instructor for Obé.
But what is a yoga bolster pillow exactly? “It’s your new best friend for when you need a little support in your yoga practice,” says Soni. “A yoga bolster is like a mega pillow designed to be used horizontally or vertically underneath the body in a variety of yoga poses.” It’s most often used in restorative or gentle yoga practices, but it can be helpful with any type of yoga.
Because there are so many different kinds of yoga pillows, figuring out what to buy can be confusing. So we rounded up the best yoga bolsters on the market according to a range of expert yoga practitioners and instructors as well as customer reviews. While you’re shopping you may also want to consider foam yoga blocks for support, yoga straps for stretching or special yoga mats for comfort. “Purchasing props for your practice is an investment in supporting your well-being — literally and figuratively,” says Soni. These are the best yoga bolsters out there — and each one on this list has an attached handle for easier transport.

Gaiam is a very trusted name in the yoga space and both Soni and Kristin McGee, a yoga instructor for Peloton, praised this pillow. Most reviewers on Amazon love it, too, and specifically call out the firmness, which can be very helpful in holding poses for longer. “It’s great for restorative poses that call for a bit more support and it feels great to slide under the knees in savasana,” says Soni.
Affordable exercise gear that holds up over time can be hard to come by, but this yoga bolster costs less than $50 and nearly 80% of more than 2,000 reviewers on Amazon have given it five stars. Many of them describe it as “firm but not hard.”
McGee says this is her favorite bolster, and Soni loves it too. “This is my go-to,” says Soni. “It is supportive but still has a softness to it. This is my favorite bolster to use in half pigeon.” Plus, it’s the longest yoga bolster on this list so it may be the best fit for taller people. That said, the suede-like fabric has a luxurious feel that anyone will appreciate.
From another well-respected brand in the yoga world, this Manduka yoga bolster is a great pick, especially if you prefer patterned fabric. In fact, customers who reviewed the product talk about how soft the fabric feels. On top of that, the pillow is loved by many of the yogis we spoke to. “It is the perfect size and firmness,” says Mychal Prieto, a yoga instructor on Inner Dimension TV.
Bean Products has been handcrafting U.S.A.-made products for 35 years and the company uses sustainable fibers — like hemp — without sacrificing quality. This particular yoga bolster has an average of 4.8 stars (out of five) on Amazon and customers rave about its durability. If you like this rectangular version, the brand also sells round yoga bolsters and pranayama pillows.
A great addition to any restorative yoga practice, this lightweight yoga bolster is handmade in the U.S.A. The size, shape and firmness make it ideal for deep-breathing (pranayama) poses. Not only that, the Hugger Mugger company started making yoga products in 1986 so you can trust that they know how to produce high-quality products.
Sitting with crossed legs on a meditation cushion like this one will take pressure off your legs and ankles so you can stay in one place for longer. When you’re comfortable, your mind is less likely to wander and this one allows you to customize the filling. The best part? It’s really pretty, so you might be inclined to keep it nearby and meditate more often instead of stashing it away when you’re not using it.
Most yoga bolsters stand out like a sore thumb, but this one easily blends in with any decor. So if your workout space is also your living room, bedroom or office, it will look like any other pillow. Plus, it’s super supportive, made in the U.S.A. and 100% vegan.
“Using a yoga bolster allows you to create more space and ease in postures that might be challenging to hold otherwise,” says Soni. It also provides support that allows you to stay in poses a little longer, she adds.
Still not convinced? A yoga bolster can elevate hips in seated postures, support the lower back and spine when placed under knees in savasana and prop the torso in restorative practices by bringing the floor closer to the body, according to Prieto. “Whether you are new to asana or a long-time practitioner, yoga bolsters can really help to support your body and mind while practicing and brining,” Prieto explains.
✔️ Rectangular: These bolsters have two wider, flatter sides and two shorter sides. When laid on the flat sides, they provide a great deal of stability. “For most people, the standard bolster flat top and wide profile are good and easy to use for most restorative postures,” says McGee.
✔️ Round: These bolsters are cylindrical in shape and allow for the torso or legs to curve around them easily, but because they lack a flat side, they provide less stability. “Round bolsters can be used for those who find the edges a little firm or uncomfortable,” says McGee.
✔️ Pranayama: These bolsters are similar to rectangular bolsters, but the shorter sides are even shorter, making them appear flatter. They’re often placed under a person’s back when lying down to help open up the chest for breathing exercises.
✔️ Zafu: Also known as meditation pillows, these bolsters are shaped like small cushions that you sit upon on the floor. It allows your bottom to be raised off the ground and alleviates pressure from your legs, ankles and feet.
Picking a yoga bolster is a personal decision. “What feels good in my body might be different than yours,” explains Soni. “I like a softer bolster with more give to it, but also love a firmer bolster if I need more support.” When choosing the best yoga bolster for you, consider all these factors:
“The best way to know which bolster is the right fit is to physically try one out if you can,” says Prieto. “Typically the bigger the bolster the better because you will have more support and cushion, which is the point of using a bolster — for maximum support and comfort.”
Savasana: “Lying down in savasana with a bolster underneath the backs of the knees is a favorite of mine,” says Prieto.
Restorative fish pose: “This is my absolute favorite,” says Soni. “You just slide the bolster behind your back body and allow your chest to expand and release.”
Seated forward fold: “I like to widen my legs and place the bolster between them so I can lie my chest on the bolster,” says McGee. “You can also prop the bolster up at a slant (with a block under the front edge near your feet) if you don’t have the range of motion to lie forward flat. You can also slide the bolster under your knees so it’s parallel to the front of the mat and then fold forward.”
Supine twists:“I love to place the bolster between my knees then drop them over to each side,” says McGee. “You can also stack your knees and place them both on top of a bolster underneath them.”
Half pigeon: “Sliding the bolster underneath your hips takes pressure off the front knee and pelvis, which allows you to drop in and relax,” explains Soni.
Restorative child’s pose: “Laying the torso on top of the bolster with one side of your face resting at the top in a child’s pose is another favorite of mine,” says Prieto. “Just be sure to turn your head to the other direction halfway through the pose to keep things even in the neck.”
Heart-and-chest-opener: Prieto recommends reclining on a bolster that is resting on top of two blocks like a slope: Stand one block up at its highest height and then a second block perpendicular 6 to 8 inches away propped on its side at its medium height. Place the bolster on top of them both and then recline so that the back of your head rests on the higher block and your shoulder blades rest on the lower block (all of which should run parallel to your spine).
Kaitlyn Pirie is a senior editor in the Health Newsroom at Hearst, where she reports, writes and edits research-backed health content for Good Housekeeping, Prevention and Woman’s Day. She has more than ten years of experience talking to top medical professionals and poring over studies to figure out the science of how our bodies work. She then turns what she learns into easy-to-read stories about medical conditions, nutrition, fitness and mental health. For this story, she consulted with three expert yogis as well as Lexie Sachs, the executive director of the Textiles, Paper & Apparel Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute; Kaitlyn also spent more than six additional hours researching customer reviews of the most popular yoga bolsters on the market.

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