Restorative yoga is just that: a practice aimed at restoring your body through a more meditative, restful, and breath-focused practice. Yoga pillows are designed to help you get the most out of it.
“Yoga bolsters are used most often for yin yoga and restorative yoga to support the body in different poses,” explains Tiffany Cruikshank, founder of Yoga Medicine. “These props are usually used to fill the space between you and the floor so maintaining their shape is especially important if you have limited mobility.”
She notes that yoga pillows are “meant to be both supportive while at the same time soft enough to be comfortable.” To that end, she says the most important feature to look for is a dense and firm pillow. “These props can get softer and more flimsy over time so the more dense they are, the better they will stand the test of time,” she says.
How to Shop for Yoga Pillows
YogaRenew yoga director Kate Lombardo explains that there are generally two types of yoga pillows on the market: meditation pillows and bolsters.
“Meditation pillows are cushions meant to provide comfort and support while seated during meditation during a yoga class or stand-alone meditation practice,” she explains. “A bolster is a yoga pillow that is used during yoga classes to help provide support and modifications in poses.”
Among these two main categories, Lombardo recommends seeking a yoga pillow that’s the right shape for your intended purpose. “Usually, meditation pillows are circular in shape, which makes them ideal for sitting on during meditation,” she says. “Whereas bolsters are typically longer and thinner, which allows you to lay on top of them while ensuring they fully support your spine, almost like a body pillow.”
Here, we rounded up the best yoga pillows on the market according to a range of expert yoga practitioners and instructors.
1. BEST OVERALL
Hugger Mugger Standard Yoga Bolster
“Hugger Mugger is the gold standard—they make great bolsters that stand the test of time,” Cruikshank says. “Some bolsters can lose more than half their height in less than a year but these are dense enough to maintain their shape for years.”
She notes that this pillow is spendy, so if you’re new to yoga, you might start out with a cheaper version. “But once you know you’ll be using this, you’ll want a solid brand like this to stand the test of time,” she adds. This pillow has excellent firmness to help you maintain all poses, and it’s made from durable upholstery-grade fabrics.
2. BEST FOR MEDITATION
Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Meditation Cushion
Lombardo calls Brentwood Home her favorite meditation cushion. “It’s got a firm level of support while still being comfortable which is ideal for sitting during meditation,” she says. “Plus, the cushions are ethically made with a focus on sustainability.”
3. RAVE REVIEWS
Trideer Yoga Bolster Pillow
Yoga instructor Smriti Tuteja Das of Yogic-Experience cites this as a favorite pillow. “It is ideal for both meditation and restorative yoga,” Tuteja says. She says it’s soft, lightweight, and the cover is machine washable—another important feature to look for when shopping for a yoga pillow. “I find this practical, useful, and very economical and thus suggest it to all my students,” she says.
4. EASY TO MAINTAIN
Manduka Enlight Rectangular Yoga Bolster
YogaSix director of education Kelly Clifton Turner loves this bolster—enough to have two and use them often. “It has enough support and holds its shape, without being too bulky,” Turner says. “One of my favorite ways to use the bolster is to slide one under my knees (which takes the pressure off the lower back), and the other long ways behind my spine (to open up my chest). Resting there for 10 minutes and I feel like a new woman. The covers are washable and go back on easily as well.”
5. MOST SUSTAINABLE
AJNA Yoga Bolster Pillow
Carly James, certified fitness instructor, writer, yoga practitioner, and nutritionist cites this pillow as her top pick. “It ticks all the boxes for a regular, rectangular yoga pillow, is really easy to care for, and has great sustainability and ethical credentials,” she says.
6. BEST VALUE
Gayo Yoga Bolster Pillow Set
For a budget friendlier option, James recommends this bolster set. “This yoga pillow is still big enough to do the job and is literally designed to be easy to carry and store,” James says. “It’s great if you have to take your own yoga pillow to your class. [Or] if you live in a small space, this is a nice and compact option.”
7. MOST VERSATILE
Halfmoon Rectangular Yoga Bolster
Gia Calhoun, vice president of Pilates Anytime, calls this pillow her “absolute go-to,” noting the “cushioning is comfy, yet firm, and the fabric is soft to the touch and has cooling properties.” She uses it for a range of purposes including not just yoga but stretching and even for pilates practices with bolsters. Bonus: Halfmoon’s premium linen collection is eco-friendly. The linen is made from flax plants, which require much less water to grow, and is also biodegradable.