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Yoga bolster round vs rectangular – Which one to choose?

Finding the perfect yoga bolster for your personal practice is very important since yoga can be challenging for beginners. Having some assistance at this stage helps you to learn and perform poses in a better manner. Choosing the perfect yoga bolster – round vs rectangular can be extremely confusing.

We have also shared our top picks for best yoga knee pad and the best yoga wheel that you can refer to. We have also written a post on the best yoga bolsters that you can buy to make your practice more effective.

So, let’s try to understand the benefits and shortcomings of each type of yoga bolster before you can take a decision.

Yoga bolster round vs rectangular (2)

What are yoga bolsters?

Bolsters are cushioning devices which can be classified as cylindrical, rectangular and pranayama bolsters. They are used for providing assistance to new yogis to improve their yoga experience.

Yoga bolster as an accessory was not really very popular till the 1960s when the famed yoga teacher Sri BKS Iyengar realized that a lot of students were facing problems in doing the yogasanas in the initial stages due to injuries or lack of flexibility in the body.

That is when yoga bolsters as an accessory were introduced to provide comfort and support.

Yoga bolster round vs rectangular

People who cannot support their body easily during different yoga poses can use yoga bolsters as an extra support system while practicing yoga.

These bolsters go under your buttocks, legs, spine and thighs so that they can offer support to different parts of the body in different positions.

What are the benefits of a yoga bolster, round or rectangular?

Yoga bolsters help in reducing the strain from your body when you are doing multiple yoga poses.  Since they are primarily used in restorative yoga sessions, they provide increased support and comfort to newbies and to people who are suffering from injuries.

The primary benefits of yoga bolster can be summarized as following:

  • They help you to achieve a deeper stretch and lead to better relaxation in your body.
  • Placing the yoga bolster under your back or your knees helps in better blood circulation
  • Yoga bolsters are the perfect prop for you to kick-start your yoga practice since they can help you in in improving the effectiveness of your practice irrespective of whether you use a round or a rectangular bolster.

Types of Yoga bolsters

Yoga bolsters can be broadly categorized as round or rectangular bolsters depending on their shape.

Rectangular bolsters

Rectangular bolsters have relatively wider surface area and as a result they are able to provide support for your complete back. In addition, because of their shape they are more stable and secure and the danger of any movement or rolling while being used is very minimal.

The rectangular bolsters are good for restorative poses and can also help in the difficult positions like the shoulder stand.

best rectangular yoga bolster

However, when you are trying to stretch and create a curve in your body, rectangular yoga bolsters might not be the best option.

Round bolsters

Round bolsters are a perfect tool if you are looking to make your back bends and side bends more effective by introducing a deeper stretch. These bolsters encourage the natural arch of your body and give you the best support possible when you are trying to create a curve.

best round yoga bolster

The round bolsters can also come in handy during meditation and they can also be used during poses like savasana when they can be placed underneath your legs for increased comfort.

Factors to choose the right yoga bolster round vs rectangular ?

So how do you make a decision between the two yoga bolsters. Here are the three main factors that should allow you to make an informed decision between round vs rectangular yoga bolsters.

Total height

Usually a round bolster will give you more height than a rectangular bolster. This means that a round bolster is going to lift your body a bit more during poses. So, if you are not really ready for the more stretched out poses, you should start with a rectangular bolster.

Deeper stretches

A round bolster would really fit well with the natural arch of the back and will help with the deeper stretches. It is also going to allow for a greater opening of your chest while practicing those back bends.

In addition, having a round bolster can also help in better circulation and more comfort. But the choice here usually differs from person to person.


For the poses like Sarvangasana or the shoulder stand, your body will be at a decent height from the ground and if you are a new yoga practitioner, you really need more stability. In such a situation you should prefer a rectangular yoga bolster.


To summarize we can say that you can choose right yoga bolster round or rectangular on facts mentioned below.

The rectangular bolster can be chosen because it has lower height and a flat surface so that it provides you with more stability.

On the other hand, you can choose a round bolster if you are looking for deeper stretches and better opening off your chest while doing back bends and side bends.

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