Unsure of which yoga bolster is right for you? Check out our guide to the different types of bolsters and find the best yoga bolster for your practice.

Being comfortable while practicing yoga is essential and if you’re running into tension points, the right bolster can transform your practice. Part of getting used to a yoga practice is learning to observe how you feel physically and energetically in a particular posture and to start asking yourself “what do I need to change to be more comfortable in this shape”.

Bolsters do exactly what the name suggests, they bolster a part of the body in order to open, release or relax the body part. When making a purchase for your bolster, the most important thing to think about is where you will need support and how a bolster may assist.

Benefits of yoga bolsters:

  • Support a part of the body in order to open, release or relax.
  • Support and enhance your flexibility, alignment, stability and breath
  • Support and help you achieve proper posture and form
  • Give you the support to remain in a pose for longer. maximising the benefits for restorative yoga
  • Encourages mindful movement

Bonus benefit!

By relaxing the body and breath it will calm the mind keep you in the moment.

Which yoga bolster is best for me?

One way to think about it is the type of yoga you do (Yin, Restorative or Vinyasa with support of bolsters for deep heart openings, or support for lower back in savasana) and were you are in your yoga journey, here’s a quick summary of our bolster shapes:

  • Best bolster for restorative and yin yoga: Oval Bolsters
  • Best bolster for versatility: Oval bolsters are great for Restorative and Yin yoga shapes as they provide a sturdy platform for most postures.
  • Best bolster to take on Retreat: Travel Bolsters - not only is it easy to travel with but can be used as a support for yoga as well as sit support for mediations. Coming in second place is the Yoga Pillow - which supports your knees and your head, and they also look great on the bed or couch!
  • Best bolster for under knees: Yoga Pillows provide a soft cushioning under the knees in postures like Camel, Cat Cow and kneeling lunges.
  • Best bolster for breathing practices: Pranayama its dense long and slender shape helps to support the opening of breathing accessory muscles. Also wonderful under the knees and a lighter option to take into the yoga studio.

Different bodies will require different shapes so lets dive a little deeper into the different uses of each bolster shape – because the right shape for your body can make all the difference in your yoga practice.

 

Best Yoga Bolster for:

  • Placing under the knees – this reduces tension and grounds the lower back
  • Deepening and adding intensity to supported back bends
  • Straddling in hero pose during meditation
  • Yogis on the taller side and those who are already open through the heart and shoulder area.

Asasas / poses Round Yoga Bolsters can assist with:

  • Supported back and side bends, round yoga bolsters have more height to deepen the movement in seated forward folds.
  • Heart openers, especially if you’re quite open through the shoulders, and on the taller side, a round bolster will increasing your opening
  • Savasana - place under the knees, due to the slight bend of the knees, the lumbar (lower) spine anchors to the floor to provide a sense of grounding
  • Meditation - if you prefer kneeling in meditation, straddling the bolster may allow for better circulation to the lower limbs.
 

Best yoga bolster for:

  • Supporting the opening to the chest, shoulders and heart-space
  • Decrease pressure on lower back in lying positions
  • Many smaller yogis love the oval bolster as it seems to support a shorter torso.
  • Our pick for pregnancy, yin and restorative yoga.

Asasas / poses Oval Yoga Bolsters can assist with:

  • Restorative back bends
  • Great for side bends and opening up the side ribs
  • Inverted postures such as Viparita Karani or happy baby (Ananda Balasana).
  • Provides a gentle and comforting support in supported child's pose (Balasana).
  • Allows for deeper seated forward folds.
  • Allows for support in supine (lying down face up) twists.
  • Yoga nidra and savasana - placing the bolster under the knees in lying down positions can take the pressure out of the lower back, particularly if you need more bend in your knees to ground the lower back to the floor.
  • Great for elevated savasana positions when pregnant or if you tend to doze off during practice. Elevating with an oval bolster and block can keep you focused on the energetics of savasana with out falling asleep.
  • ... and any pose where you’re lying on your back
 

Best yoga bolster for:

  • Opening up the spaces surrounding the rib cage, mainly to assist in the gentle opening of the accessory muscles to allow more effective breathing
  • Taking it with you to studios or travelling - due to it’s narrow profile it’s easy to carry and even fits in our yoga bags along with your mat.
  • On the couch to improve your posture by placing it near your lower back or experiment with it running up in line with the spine.
  • Desk workers as it assists in reducing negative movement patterns that create poor posture.

Asasas / Yoga poses Prana Yoga Bolsters can assist with:

  • Provides for more gentle heart openers whilst lying on your back.
  • Great for opening up the side body in lying down side bends.
  • Helps keep the pelvis neutral during Pigeon Pose
  • Support shoulders and arms by placing one bolster under each forearm during Reclined Chair Pose
  • Wonderful under the knees in savasana
  • On healing beds where only a little grounding of the lower back is required for comfort in lying down positions
 

Best Yoga Bolster for:

  • Similar to the prana, for opening up the spaces surrounding the rib cage, mainly to assist in the gentle opening of the accessory muscles to allow more effective breathing
  • Taking to events like Kirtans and group meditations or where you might need a little more support seated on the floor for extended periods of time
  • Use as postural support when sitting in a chair or against a wall for extended periods.
  • Usine just like a yoga block, but smaller and softer!

Asasas / Yoga poses Travel Yoga Bolsters can assist with:

  • Used as a soft block to support the body in asana.
  • Great for support to level the hips in pigeon pose
  • Restorative inversions
  • Subtle back bends
  • Heart opening
 

Best Yoga Bolster / Pillow for:

  • Use as soft cushioning in kneeling positions to reduce sensitivity
  • Putting on the bed or couch after practice

Asasas / Yoga poses round yoga bolsters can assist with:

  • More comfort behind the head in savasana and yoga nidra.
  • Supports under the knees to take compression out of the lower back in lying down positions.
  • Allows for mild and more relaxing heart and side rib openers.

We hope this guide has helped you to more mindfully consider what is the correct bolster for the right purpose to support your unique body. If you’re still unsure of which type of bolster will work best for you, please reach out and we would be happy to help!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published