Yoga blocks or bricks are rectangular-shaped props that you can use in yoga. They can be used in many ways to help support balance, bring the floor up to you, support the joints, and more.
4 Ways Yoga Blocks Can Improve Your Practice
1. Increase Stability In Balance Poses
Blocks can be useful while you work to improve your balance in various poses. For example, when doing Eagle Pose, you can place a block on the outside of your standing foot as a place to rest the toes of the leg that is being wrapped around. Similarly, a pose like half moon can feel more accessible and stable if you place a block a foot or two in front of your standing leg and reach for it with your lower hand instead of trying to reach all the way to the floor.
2. Build Strength With Good Alignment
Blocks are a good way to help bring awareness to the placement of our arms and legs in certain poses. As an example, you can place a block between your thighs while performing Chair Pose. While sitting into the pose, squeeze the block firmly while pressing down into the four corners of your feet. This can help build isometric strength and prevent the legs from bowing out. Similarly, you can try a pose like Warrior I with a block between your hands. While the arms are extended towards the ceiling, squeeze the block to help build strength through the arms and shoulders. However, be sure to avoid compressing the neck with the shoulders. If that happens bend at the elbows slightly to relieve the pressure.
3. Bring The Floor Up To You – Make Poses More Accessible
This is not only helpful for beginners who are working to improve their range of motion, it can also be helpful for seasoned yogis who need to limit range of motion a bit for an injury or to experience the pose in a different light. Forward Fold is a great example of a pose that can be more beneficial to the practitioner if they are not over straining to reach too far. By placing blocks next to the feet and reaching your hands towards those instead of straining to get to the floor, you’ll find that your body is able to surrender into the fold with more ease. You can always bend at the elbows to increase the range of motion in the hips and low back as your body settles deeper into the pose. Another pose that is often more attainable and sustainable with a yoga block is vajrasana. Before moving your hips to sit on your heels, you can place a block or two between your feet. Then, sit on the block with your toes pointing behind you and the inside of your feet hugging near the block. This is a great way to reduce compression in the knee joint while seated in this pose.
4. Get A Fresh Perspective Of Familiar Poses
If you’ve been practicing yoga for a long time, yoga blocks can bring an element of creativity and exploration to your practice. For example, if you’re used to a traditional Puppy Pose with your arms extended out in front of you on your mat, you might enjoy placing a yoga block on your mat just in front of your hands while in tabletop position, placing your elbows on the block, lifting your hips up and back as you bring your hands to prayer at the back of your neck and your heart towards the floor. Another way to use blocks to challenge familiar pose is to place two blocks shoulder distance apart with their short ends up against a wall. Lay with your head between the blocks. Place the heels of your hands on the blocks and allow your fingers to drape over the front edge. Press yourself into Wheel Pose. Similarly, you can try this pose but spin around and place your feet on the blocks before lifting your hips towards the ceiling.
Various Types of Yoga Blocks
There are different yoga blocks in the market, each with their own pros and cons.
- Dense foam – soft, lightweight and relatively cheaper, easily wears and tears, provides protection to bony areas
- Wooden – durable, hard, heavy, more expensive than foam blocks, provides stability and support
- Bamboo – durable, lighter than most wooden blocks, eco-friendly, relatively expensive, provides stability and support
- Cork – durable, lighter than most wooden blocks, relatively expensive, provides stability and support