Yoga isn’t just about performing poses. The mindfulness, freedom to explore your body and freedom to breathe deeply are all an integral part of Yoga. With that in mind, it can be easily seen why Yoga blocks are such a popular tool.
Yoga blocks are a way to supplement your practice which can make poses easier to attain and help you feel less strain. They can be used to extend your reach, or to support various body parts so you can maintain the proper alignment and expression of a pose in an easier manner. They also help with stability, passive stretches and mental contemplation.
Yoga Blocks are one of the most commonly used props. They provide a wide range of benefits to yoga practitioners such as:
- Make poses easier to express with both beginners or advanced practitioners.
- Physical limitations or injuries can be worked around using Yoga blocks.
- Proper alignment and posture can be maintained for someone in the learning stages.
- Makes it easier to focus on breathing and mental clarity during a pose.
Types of Yoga Blocks
Yoga blocks are available in a range of sizes for different people. The standard block is 4″x6″x9″. This is the most commonly used block and the one that is likely to be present in most yoga studios. There are two other sizes as well which you may have to bring with you if you prefer them. Users with smaller frames can use the 3″x6″x9″ blocks. The large size is generally for taller people and it is sized at 5″x6.75″x12″. There is no hard and fast rule about block sizes and you can use whatever you feel comfortable with regardless of your frame.
The material used is also an important factor. There are various types of blocks available in the market today. They can be made of foam, cork, wood or bamboo. We recommend the foam yoga blocks for a variety of reasons.
- Ease of use – They can be carried from home to studio easily.
- Comfort – You may be using the blocks against your spine or to rest your head or tailbone. Foam is the most comfortable with a slight amount of “give”. A hard wood block isn’t the same.
- Friction – Lots of floors are made of wood or tile. A foam block gives you the friction you need so you can trust it won’t slide.
- Weight – You won’t have to worry about dropping one and damaging the floor or your toes.
How to use them
One of the major uses of a Yoga block is to extend reach. Think about the pose before you use a block. Are you having trouble reaching the floor in a Forward fold? Maybe you cannot bend back far enough in a Camel pose for the hands to touch the floor. These instances are a great time to use a block to bring the floor closer to your hands. It’s far better to use a block than to compromise on proper form. You can begin by using the block at its tallest setting, and then as you become more flexible by practicing and breathing in the pose, you can switch to the smaller sides and eventually take out the block.
Another way to use them is to support a stretch. Take for example the Fish pose. A block is a great way to support your back in this pose so you can open you chest properly and practice breathing. Read our article on passive stretch to understand more about this topic.
One more way to use them is to shorten a range of motion that is difficult. The Malasana pose can be difficult because of tight leg muscles. Using a block can help to gradually increase flexibility. The Pigeon pose is also another good example of this.
A Yoga block can also help with stability. In the Crow pose, a block will help you to naturally position your body for the pose and help boost confidence to carry the pose through to completion.
There are various yoga poses that can be done with the support of yoga blocks. The thing to remember is listen to your body. It will let you know when a block is helpful or when it just feels awkward. You can always ask us if you have any questions in the comments section. Also, if you have any health injuries please be aware to take the practice really slow with the help of yoga blocks or consult your doctor before practicing.
Arise, awake and do not stop until the goal is reached.