Exploring Different Types of Yoga Bolsters

by Anna Mae

Whether you are new to yoga, returning after injury, or just looking to improve your flexibility, you may find that some positions seem hard to achieve. It can be uncomfortable holding some poses, which is where yoga props, including yoga bolsters and blocks, come into their own. Yoga bolsters are a little softer than yoga blocks and support various parts of the body, enabling you to reach positions you previously thought were impossible, giving you the chance to experience the full benefit of yoga.

Buying Yoga Bolsters

However, once you start the quest to find the perfect yoga bolster, you may feel slightly overwhelmed by the number of items there are available. It can be hard to know what is the best thing to purchase, so in this guide, we discuss the various different styles of yoga bolster, what they have been designed for, and which one might best suit your needs,

Practising yoga

depending on the style of yoga you are practising.

Yoga Bolsters

Before we look at the different types on offer, let’s define what we mean by a yoga bolster. Made of various materials, a yoga bolster is a pillow that can provide support, enabling you to better achieve certain stretches and align your position correctly. They are softer than yoga blocks because they are made of fabric but can be filled with a range of stuffing, as we will explore later. They also act as a barrier between your body and a hard floor to create comfort. If, for example, you are recovering from injury.

Types of Yoga Bolsters

The first thing you notice when shopping for yoga bolsters is the different shapes on offer. There are four main styles of yoga bolsters, all of which serve a different purposes, so let’s take a closer look.

  • Rectangular
  • Round
  • Pranayama
  • Meditation

1. Rectangular Yoga Bolsters

Rectangular bolsters are designed to be quite flat and wide, making them a great option for forward bends, and various seated yoga poses. They are incredibly versatile, providing support for many different areas of the body, including your back. When placed on the yoga mat, yoga, bolsters will enable you to create a lift if you are struggling to hold your own body up, and they are also excellent for Savasana and meditation poses.

2. Round Yoga Bolsters

When we talk about round, yoga bolsters, we are not talking about circular shape cushions, but rather cylindrical-shaped rolls. Round yoga posters are generally much heavier and longer than other support cushions and tend to be left for the more advanced yoga practitioners. A round bolster can be placed in the arch of the back to raise the spine in supine poses and can also be used under the knees to create a more comfortable position. 

Practising yoga

The round yoga bolster can also be used to advance some seated poses requiring a good level of experience and balance to ensure that you remain stable and correctly aligned in the pose.

Pranayama Bolster

The pranayama bolster has a similar design to the rectangular offering but is also a lot thinner and longer. They can often be used on the yoga mat to provide an extra layer of cushioning if you are doing a backbend or a kneeling pose. They also create slight elevation under the chest, but not much.

Meditation Bolster

A round cushion is known as a meditation bolster or a Zafus. These have been created as a way to correctly, align the spine and hips during meditation. It’s important to maintain a good posture and not allow the spine to slump. 

Yoga Bolster

Occasionally Zafus are found as V-shaped or square options, but more often than not, they will be circular.

Choosing the Perfect Yoga Bolster

  • Shape and Size: Knowing a little more about the main shape of the yoga bolster should enable you to make a better choice that fits your practice. As well as the shapes and styles, there will also be different sizes within each category. Consider the type of yoga he will be doing, and also consider your weight and height when it comes to deciding the best size yoga bolster for you.
  • Firmness: if you are looking for a yoga bolster to support the body to help you achieve various poses, then it probably needs to be quite firm to ensure that you are stable. If you are looking for a meditation bolster, then it can be a little softer, as can a bolster designed to provide extra padding between you and the floor.
  • Filling and Materials: as with most products, you will find a range of different fabrics on offer for the outer cover of the bolster. It’s important to consider how easy this will be to clean, and whether you are looking for eco-friendly or organic fabrics. There are lots of unbleached hemp or cotton yoga bolster covers that nicely tick the box. The same goes for the fillings; in order to keep them lightweight, many yoga bolsters will be filled with foam or polyester. They are good materials for keeping their shape, but again not environmentally friendly. Our favourite yoga bolsters are filled with buckwheat to organic cotton, which is also better for close contact with your skin and body. You can also pick a yoga bolster that appeals to you because of the colour or pattern. This makes no difference to the performance, but some people enjoy the coordination of their yoga wardrobe and want something that teams well with the yoga mat.
  • Price: of course, the final consideration has to be the price. Yoga is never designed to break the bank, and you can often manage to start by using rolled-up towels, so going out of your price range is not really needed. Investing in one bolster to start with can make a difference to your practice.

The Takeaway

Yoga bolsters serve a valuable purpose in many different styles of practice. They can help the new Yogi achieve positions that they are not naturally flexible enough to reach just yet, they can assist in recovery after injury, and they are often used as part of meditation.

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