What Are Yoga Blocks For?

What Are Yoga Blocks For?

Yoga blocks are essential tools that enhance your yoga practice by providing support, improving alignment, and deepening stretches. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, it’s important to know how yoga blocks can be used to help you perform poses with greater ease and safety. 

Read on, and we’ll explore their uses, benefits, and how to choose the right block for you.

Yoga Block 101

Yoga blocks are dense, rectangular props designed to make yoga poses more accessible or challenging, depending on their use. Typically measuring 23cm (L) x 15cm (W) x 7.5cm (H), they come in various styles to accommodate different hand sizes and flexibility levels. The standard rectangular shape is the most common, but you can also find curved and egg-shaped variations tailored for specific poses.

These blocks are made from various materials, each with unique benefits:

  • Foam yoga blocks are lightweight and cost-effective, ideal for restorative poses and beginners
  • Cork yoga blocks offer more stability and durability, a sustainable choice
  • Wooden blocks provide excellent support and an aesthetic appeal but can be heavy and slippery when wet.

Choosing the right block depends on your needs and preferences, but one thing is for sure: incorporating them into your practice can only enhance your yoga journey!

Do I Need Yoga Blocks?

Like many beginners, you might be wondering whether yoga blocks are essential or more of a gimmick. While not essential, they can significantly enhance your practice by extending your reach and supporting your back, hips, and head. 

Yoga bricks can be a game-changer, especially for beginners. They provide the extra height needed to perform certain poses comfortably, and you can also modify poses to ensure proper form, reducing the risk of injury and enhancing stability.

What Are the Benefits of Using Yoga Blocks?

Where do we begin? First and foremost, they provide essential support, making it easier for less-experienced yogis to perform poses with added stability and confidence. 

By using yoga blocks, you can:

  • Improve your alignment
  • Reduce the risk of overstretching
  • Increase flexibility
  • Deepen your stretches
  • Enhance balance and stability

Blocks help bridge the gap between your body and the floor, allowing you to sink deeper into stretches and achieve greater pose length. Additionally, yoga blocks can reduce pressure on muscles and joints, minimising the risk of injury and allowing for safer, more effective sessions.

Whether you want to deepen your stretches or ensure proper alignment, yoga blocks are an excellent addition to any yoga routine!

Making Poses Accessible with Yoga Blocks

When simplifying challenging poses, yoga bricks may well be the lifeline you’ve been searching for. Extending your arms and supporting your back, hips, and head provide the necessary support to ease into poses safely. 

Whether dealing with physical limitations or recovering from an injury, yoga blocks can help you maintain proper alignment and stability.

Here are some examples of where they shine:

Standing Forward Fold

Placing blocks under your hands allows you to maintain the integrity of the posture without compensating through the spine, keeping your body safe. For those with more flexible hamstrings and lower back, placing blocks under your feet can increase the stretch and bring the floor closer, enhancing the overall experience.

In this pose, yoga blocks provide more space, preventing spinal compensation and facilitating a more profound and safer stretch. By bringing the ground closer, yoga blocks make it easier to lean forward and achieve a deeper stretch without straining your back or hamstrings.

Warrior 3

Warrior 3 is a balance-intensive pose that can be made more accessible with yoga bricks. Placing blocks under your hands helps improve balance and alignment, providing a stable base to support your body, which allows you to focus on engaging your core and maintaining proper form without the added challenge of balancing on one leg.

Half Split

Placing blocks under your hands or the front leg can lengthen your spine and achieve a more effective hamstring stretch. In turn, this support allows you to sink deeper into the pose without compromising your form, making it more accessible and beneficial.

woman balancing her body on olive-green mat

Enhancing Flexibility & Strength

As we’ve alluded to, yoga bricks are not solely for beginners; they are superb tools for bolstering flexibility and strength in your practice. By allowing you to sink deeper into postures and encouraging full muscle engagement, blocks help you achieve a more intense stretch and better alignment.

Here are a few of our other favourite examples:

Triangle Pose

Placing a block under the hand that reaches towards the ground helps maintain proper alignment and supports the bottom hand. This support ensures that your upper body stays straight, preventing unnecessary strain on your back.

The use of a block in Triangle Pose enables you to:

  • Concentrate on the stretch and effectively engage your inner thighs
  • Maintain a straight spine, enhancing the overall benefits of the pose
  • Make the pose more accessible for practitioners of all levels

Fish Pose

Placing a block under your upper back allows for a gentler backbend and an excellent chest and shoulder opening.

Positioning the block horizontally between the shoulder blades elevates the chest, creating a deeper and more vital stretch. By using a block, you can achieve the benefits without straining your back, making it more accessible and enjoyable.

Camel Pose

Despite the intensity of Camel Pose, yoga blocks can provide the necessary support for its safe execution. Placing blocks under your hands while in this position helps support your spine and prevent strain. The additional height makes it easier to maintain proper alignment and gradually deepen the backbend.

Using yoga bricks on either side of your feet offers extra support to your hands, allowing you to ease into the pose without risking injury, which is particularly beneficial for those with shorter arms or less flexible spines.

Advanced Practices with Yoga Blocks

For seasoned yogis, yoga blocks can introduce an additional dimension of challenge to familiar poses. By incorporating blocks into arm balances and inversions, you can:

  • Improve alignment and stability
  • Intensify your practice
  • Provide additional resistance
  • Make advanced poses more accessible and rewarding

Examples include:

Boat to Low Boat

A yoga block in the Boat to Low Boat transition can notably bolster core strength. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Hold a block between your thighs
  2. Engage your inner thighs and deep core muscles to ensure that the thighs stay engaged during the transition

The added resistance helps activate your core, shoulders, and back muscles, making the pose more challenging and effective

Crow Pose

Performing the pose with hands on blocks adds height and helps lift the knees higher on the triceps, providing better balance and stability. Thus, helping you feel more secure while getting comfortable and balancing your weight.

Choosing the Right Yoga Block

With all the different types available, how do you know which type of yoga block is right for you?

Foam yoga blocks are lightweight and cost-effective, making them ideal for beginners and restorative poses. Wooden blocks, on the other hand, are sturdy and aesthetically pleasing but can be heavy and slippery with wet hands. Cork yoga blocks are eco-friendly, durable, and more stable than foam alternatives but often come at a higher price tag.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sitting on a Yoga Block Good for You?

Sitting on a yoga block can be highly advantageous for your posture and comfort during seated poses or meditation. It helps you maintain proper alignment and relieve pressure on your hips and lower back. By elevating your hips, a yoga block ensures better blood flow and energy distribution, making seated meditation more comfortable and sustainable.

What Materials Are Modern Yoga Blocks Made From?

Modern yoga blocks are made from materials such as foam, rubber, wood, and cork. They offer different levels of support and comfort for your practice. It’s important to choose the material that best suits your needs, whether that be less expensive foam options or pricier wood varieties.

Are Yoga Blocks Helpful for Beginners?

Yes, yoga blocks are extremely helpful for beginners as they provide support and stability, making poses more accessible, particularly for those with physical limitations or recovering from injuries.

Final Thoughts

Yoga blocks are more than just a fad; they are essential tools to transform your practice. From providing support and stability to enhancing flexibility and strength, these versatile blocks make yoga accessible and enjoyable for practitioners of all levels. Whether you’re a budding or an advanced yogi, adding yoga blocks to your yoga toolkit can help you achieve better alignment, deeper stretches, and safer practice.

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