The Complete Guide to Yoga Blocks: Selection, Uses, and Tips
Yoga blocks are perhaps the most versatile and useful of all yoga props. They can be used to improve placement in various postures, as well as deeper stretching and stability; helping yoga practitioners of all levels achieve new heights. Given the variety of materials, sizes and textures available there’s a yoga block to suit every yogi. By understanding which block best suits you, how to use them and what care they require, this will allow one individual after another on their own path toward enlightenment. In this complete guide, we will delve into the world of yoga blocks, exploring their selection, versatile uses, and providing expert tips for an enriching practice.
Choosing the Right Yoga Block
Yoga blocks are made out of foam, cork or wood. Foam blocks are sturdy, lightweight and inexpensive. They also pack easily which makes them perfect for yoga studios or yogis on the go. With high-density foam construction, they hold shape and can support body weight. Made from the bark of cork trees, these yoga blocks are good for both hands and can be harvested without damaging a single tree. Their responsive sensation also provides gentle feedback during poses. Wooden blocks can be heavier and bulkier but they deliver unmatched stability with a smooth organic feel. Choosing eco-conscious verbatim or sustainably sourced wood ensures mindful selection.
Yoga blocks come in a range of thicknesses, lengths and heights to accommodate different body types and experience levels. Standard sizes are around 4 x 6 x 9 inches but larger options are available too. More advanced practitioners and those with an expansive practice may prefer longer and wider blocks for increased support in complex balancing postures. Beginners benefit from starting with thinner, standard sized blocks to gradually build up strength and flexibility. Testing different block heights and finding the optimal size gives you the most stable base for your practice.
Texture and Grip
Having a good grip on your block prevents slips and creates stability which protects joints and prevents injury. Different material textures lend varying degrees of traction – cork has an inherently grippy surface while wood and foam blocks may be smoother. Using yoga blocks with a textured grip side guarantees steadiness regardless of perspiration or pose dynamics. Some blocks even allow you to change out the grippy surface pads. Prioritizing grip ensures your blocks provide a safe and supportive foundation.
Yoga Blocks in Asanas
Yoga blocks are extremely useful props for beginners establishing a practice. They provide support to help newcomers gain confidence in foundational poses as their flexibility and muscles develop. Blocks under hands in Downward Facing Dog relieve weight on wrists to avoid strain. Stacked blocks under hips in Bridge Pose allow beginners to achieve the shape while building strength to lift their torso. Using blocks in this way gives beginners needed assistance as they learn proper alignment and build muscle memory in essential poses.
Deepening Your Practice
As yogis advance, blocks allow them to take on more challenging variations to continue expanding their practice. Blocks under palms in Handstand prep safely lift some weight off wrists as practitioners kick up with core strength. In Standing Split, placing a block inside front leg helps hinge deeper into a full split by giving support and stability. Blocks in these kinds of poses aid ambitious yogis attempting more advanced asanas on their yoga journey.
Restorative and Gentle Yoga
Yoga blocks have comforting qualities that make them supportive tools for restorative and gentle practices as well. Placing a block under the sacrum or between thighs in Reclined Butterfly Pose allows muscles to fully soften and relax into the shape without strain. The simple addition of blocks in poses encourages passive stretching and complete stress relief. Their stable, forgiving assistance makes them ideal for therapeutic yoga too. Those recovering from injury can gently support tender areas with blocks as they regain mobility.
Tips for Effective Use
One of the greatest assets of yoga blocks is their ability to help practitioners find proper alignment. Blocks under hands in Triangle Pose can correct shoulder positioning to open chest and hips for a optimal front-to-back expansion. Stacking blocks in stages under back thigh in Pigeon Pose allows the hips to hinge square to the front avoiding injury. Experimenting with block height and placement is an excellent way to discover appropriate muscle engagement that protects joints.
Progressive Prop Use
The most successful yoga practitioners employ props like blocks in a gradual, staged manner over time as their body gains flexibility. As half splits improve, yogis can slowly remove support blocks from the floor until the pose can be achieved independently. The same goes for arm balances – steadily reducing block height beneath palms builds strength as hands lift higher from the floor. Honoring your edge while progressively removing props empowers safe, sustainable opening.
Personalizing Your Practice
Explore creative ways to personalize block use that supports your body and practice goals. Using two blocks under shoulders in Wheel Pose can relieve wrist strain for those with sensitivities. If hip flexors feel tight in King Pigeon, place a block under back thigh for a gentle passive stretch rather than forcing depth. Get acquainted with strategic props placement options and determine what feels best as you tailor blocks to your needs.
Maintenance and Care
Cleaning and Hygiene
Like yoga mats, shared studio props benefit from regular cleaning to prevent spread of bacteria and viruses. Cork and wood blocks can be easily sanitized with antibacterial sprays between classes. For foam blocks, monitor for breakdown and wash with mild detergent when needed, allowing time to fully air dry to prevent mold. Maintaining clean gear keeps the yoga community healthy.
Proper storage helps yoga blocks stand the test of time. Cork dries out and cracks when not stored correctly, so keep blocks in cloth bags or ensure studio cork blocks aren’t left out between uses. Avoid placing heavy items on foam blocks that can indent their structure. Utilize caddies, shelves and creative storage hacks to keep studio blocks organized and prolong product lifespan.
Yoga blocks are fundamental tools that belong in every yogi’s prop kit to amplify alignment, stability and range of motion. Selecting the optimal size, material and texture block for your needs provides a supportive foundation for advancing your practice safely. Experimenting with block placement to find supportive positions, progressively reducing use as the body adapts, and customizing configurations allows blocks to grow in tandem with your practice. Maintaining these useful props properly keeps them in peak condition for all your evolving yoga adventures.
This comprehensive guide covers selecting the ideal yoga block based on material, size and grip, utilizing blocks effectively to open the body and build strength through all levels from beginners to advanced, proper alignment and personalization tips, plus cleaning and storage recommendations. Exploring varied block uses encourages yogis to enrich their practice and prevent injury while deepening flexibility on their unique yoga path.
What size yoga block is best for beginners?
Standard 4 x 6 x 9 inch yoga blocks offer the most versatility for beginners. Thinner options are also available to gradually increase height as needed.
Can I wash my yoga blocks?
Cork and wood blocks should only be spot cleaned. Foam blocks can be washed with mild soap and water periodically, allowing ample time to completely air dry.
What are the grippy sides of yoga blocks made of?
The textured grippy portion of yoga blocks features durable tactile rubber or EVA foam materials to prevent slips. This allows stability during sweaty practices and precarious balances.
How can I safely clean shared studio yoga blocks?
Frequently wipe cork and wood studio blocks with antibacterial spray. Monitor foam blocks for breakdown, washing gently with detergent if necessary between classes and allowing thorough drying time to prevent mold.