The Complete Guide to Yoga Blocks: Selection, Uses, and Tips
Yoga blocks are essential props for assisting proper alignment and deepening yoga poses. Unlike stretchy straps, soft bolsters or supportive blankets, the firmness and stability of blocks provide unique benefits for yoga practitioners of all levels. Read on for a deep dive into the most effective ways to select, use, and incorporate yoga blocks into your practice.
How Yoga Blocks Help
Though they may seem simple, yoga blocks offer immense value:
- Help achieve proper alignment in ways the body cannot yet manage alone
- Allow you to perform poses safely with less strain or discomfort
- Enable reaching fuller range of motion within postures
- Offer stabilization to challenging standing or balancing poses
- Support stable foundations from which to open the body further
- Provide lift and length to relieve compression in joints
Blocks ultimately act as an extension of your body that builds space, stability and confidence in practice.
Factors to Consider When Selecting Blocks
Material Foam blocks cushion and mold, cork compresses with stability, wood provides firmness. Test to find preferred texture.
Size Standard size is 4x6x9 inches; 5x6x9 inches works better for broad-shouldered practitioners.
Density Softer blocks like lightweight foam compress more under body weight versus firmer, dense cork or wood.
Design Consider grip ridges for easy handling, beveled edges to avoid pinching in folds, and easy-to-clean surfaces.
Price Affordable blocks usually suffice for beginners; more experienced students may invest in higher-end versions.
Top 5 Beginner Poses to Use Yoga Blocks
- Low Lunge – Place under front thigh to level hips.
- Revolved Triangle – Support bottom hand for stability in twist.
- Half Pigeon – Prop under hip of bent leg to open hips.
- Bridge Pose – Stack blocks under sacrum to lift hips higher with support.
- Warrior I – Slide front foot against block to assist alignment.
Mastering Block Placement
Getting the most from blocks relies on proper positioning:
- Stack vertically to build height or horizontally to create surface
- Position snugly against body parts to feel stable connection
- Angle blocks across midline or face edges in direction of energy flow
- Adjust height/width to offer as much or little assistance as needed
Follow instructor guidance for modifications with mindfulness.
Caring for Your Blocks
- Wipe sweat after each use and deep clean regularly.
- Inspect for damage after intensive practices.
- Wash foam/cork blocks with gentle soap; oil wood blocks.
- Let air dry completely before storing to prevent mold.
Incorporating yoga blocks allows practitioners at all stages to progress deeper into poses with optimal alignment and comfort. While not required, blocks enable more students to access the benefits of yoga. Experiment with creative placements and enjoy the process of building body awareness that blocks provide on and off the mat.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Are yoga blocks necessary for beginners?
A: Blocks are highly recommended for proper alignment but optional. Those with injuries or limited flexibility benefit most.
Q: What size yoga blocks are best?
A: Standard 9 x 6 x 4 inch blocks suit most adults. Larger body frames may prefer bigger 5 x 6 x 9 inch blocks.
Q: How many yoga blocks are ideal to own?
A: Owning two blocks allows for more options in poses. Having a spare is recommended in case a block gets damaged.
Q: Are cork or foam blocks better?
A: Test both to choose your preferred texture and density. Cork provides rigid stability while foam molds more.
Q: Can blocks be used to advance poses instead of just support beginner levels?
A: Yes, blocks have benefits for students at all levels to deepen poses with proper alignment.