If you are relatively new to yoga you might be wondering what exactly yoga blocks are and how you use them. Yoga blocks are foam or cork rectangle blocks about the size of a novel. They are used as a prop in yoga to help you stretch deeper into a pose and to act as extra support in tricky poses. There are many ways yoga blocks can be used and we will have a look at a few of those ways in this blog post.
We have started using yoga blocks in our Saturday morning classes in Templestowe and they have definitely been a hit! The feedback has all been positive because the yoga blocks make it easier to get into poses and hold the poses more comfortably, therefore achieving a deeper stretch.
As a yoga teacher and student, I personally love yoga blocks because I’ve seen first-hand how complimentary they can be to your yoga practice, regardless of whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced yogi.
Here are a few ways you can use yoga blocks to make your life easier on the yoga mat:
Yoga blocks can help you stretch deeper into a pose
When you are doing any pose that requires you to fold forward it can be quite frustrating if you’re trying to fold deeper, but your body just won’t allow it. Firstly, it’s important to recognise that this doesn’t mean you’re not flexible enough or you’re not trying hard enough.
You could practice yoga for years, (like me), and still find it hard to comfortably reach your toes without bending your knees a little or using a yoga prop. The reason you might find it difficult could be out of your control and might be something as simple as the length of your legs in comparison to your arms and torso don’t match up to allow this to work for you.
This is where a yoga block comes in. You can place the yoga block on your mat and fold forward onto the block rather than the mat so you still get the benefits, but you’re not trying to force your body to overextend into the pose (click here to see how).
Yoga blocks can be used to practice yin yoga
If you are new to yin yoga, it is a type of yoga where you hold seated poses for 3 – 5 minutes to target the connective tissue, like joints and ligaments. It is a popular yoga practice used to prevent injury, improve circulation and of course to chill out and relieve stress.
Holding a pose for several minutes can get quite intense though and that is why this type of yoga is usually practiced using props to support you and to make it more comfortable for you. For example, if you are holding child’s pose you can rest the block under your forehead. Sometimes the blocks are part of the pose, such as heart bench which requires you to lie on your back and place one block under the head and one in between the shoulder blades to open up the chest.
Yoga blocks can help you prepare for more advanced poses
If your goal is to get into more intermediate or advanced yoga poses, a yoga block can act as that support while you’re preparing for the pose. For example, to practice getting into crow pose you can use a block to rest your head on when you first start learning this pose (click here to see how). This helps to provide that support whilst your work on your balance as you lift your feet off the ground.
You can also use a yoga block in half moon pose (click here to see how). You can change the height of the block as you are practicing the pose. By starting with the tallest height and then gradually decreasing the height of the block by turning it on its side as you become more confident with the pose.
Whether your goal is get deeper into a pose, feel more comfortable in the pose or work towards more advanced poses, a yoga block can surely enhance your practice. They are also quite an inexpensive yoga prop and can be found at sports stores and even Kmart.
As always, you are always welcome to come and give yoga a go (with yoga blocks) by trying any of my classes in Templestowe or online. Click here to sign up for your first class free trial.