Yoga is rapidly taking over the world as one of the ancient practices recognized for its potency in physical and mental well-being. Science has also proved it is a journey of self-discovery, a path to inner peace, and a way to strengthen the body. Also, a recent national survey by Statista shows that roughly 34.4 million adults in the US participate in yoga.
There are so many yoga poses and stretches available. However, sometimes, as a seasoned yogi or a beginner, you might find some poses and stretches challenging and downright intimidating. This is where yoga blocks come to the rescue.
Yoga blocks are the unsung heroes of the yoga world that offer support, stability, and a bridge to better flexibility and alignment. They are rectangular-shaped props or tools that help a yogi to make poses more accessible, act as support, and build strength.
Note: Yoga blocks aren’t just for beginners! Experienced yogis can also benefit from incorporating a block into their practice. Overall, yoga blocks are yogis’ successful helpers.
Therefore, if you have a yoga block and are finding it challenging to use it to get your poses or stretches, you have come to the right place. This is the practical guide you need to let you know how to use yoga blocks and have the best experience. Let’s explore how this can be done.
How To Use Your Yoga Block
The first step to knowing how to use a yoga block is knowing what it is used for and the benefits, types, sizes, and qualities you should look out for in it. This basic knowledge of what they are is a leap to effectively deploying the block in your yoga practice.
What Do You Use A Yoga Block For?
Let’s look at the primary purposes of yoga blocks:
- Support for poses
If you want to create a stable foundation that will help you maintain alignment and balance, the yoga block is one prop that should accompany you to every section.
For example, in a Triangle pose (Trikonasana) and some other types of yoga, without a block, you may find it difficult to touch the ground with your hands while keeping your legs straight, leading to a loss of balance. But when you use a yoga block on the floor beside your front foot, you can easily rest your hand on the back as you reach down. This supports you and allows you to maintain the correct alignment without strains.
- Deepen your Stretches
Yoga blocks can intensify stretches by bringing the ground closer to you. Let’s take an example of the butterfly pose (Baddha Konasana); when doing this, you might find it challenging to lean forward and bring your chest closer to your feet while sitting with the soles of your feet together, but with yoga blocks are placed under your knees, your hips will be slightly elevated.
This tilts your pelvis forward, allowing you to lean further into the stretch and experience a deeper opening in the hips and groin.
- Improve Flexibility
Yoga blocks will assist in gradually improving your flexibility by providing a tool to ease into stretches.
For instance, you may find it frustrating and have poor form if you can’t reach your toes while keeping your legs straight in a seated forward fold (Paschimottanasana). However, with the help of a yoga block placed under your feet, your flexibility can gradually improve.
- Alleviate discomfort
Yoga blocks can be used to reduce discomfort, particularly in poses that place strain on your body.
Recommended Types And Sizes Of Yoga Blocks
Different types and sizes of blocks serve diverse purposes depending on your experience level, body type, and personal preferences. Choosing the right yoga block is essential to getting the best out of your exercise.
Types of Yoga Blocks
Yoga blocks are made from materials such as Foam, coak, wood, etc., but the recommended blocks for beginners are foam and cork blocks.
- Foam blocks are softer, lightweight, and comfortable to use because they provide a bit of allowance when you press into them. They are more gentle on the body.
- Cork Blocks are firmer and more durable than foam blocks; more experienced yogis often prefer them because of their solid support.
Sizes of Yoga Blocks
Yoga blocks come in different sizes, but the standard size is 9 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 4 inches tall (9 x 6 x 4). However, there are larger and smaller options.
- The standard size is versatile and suitable for most practitioners because it offers adequate support without being too bulky.
- Some yogis prefer larger blocks for specific poses like Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) and Fish Pose (Matsyasana) or for more extended supports.
- Smaller blocks are also helpful, especially for people with smaller hands or those who need less height for certain poses.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Using Yoga Blocks
Now that you know the right size and type available for you, it’s time to know how to use a foam block during yoga as a beginner or the other types of block as an intermediate. Follow these steps accordingly:
- Always start your yoga session with a brief warm-up, like gentle stretches and deep breaths, to prepare your body and put you in the right mindset
- Use Yoga blocks to support your hip when doing postures that require sitting.
- Put your yoga block between your thighs when the pose involves standing.
- Rest your bottom hand on a block in front of your feet, or put the yoga block under your hand to support your upper body to deepen stretches.
- Stack two yoga blocks horizontally and place your bottom hand on them while you balance on one foot; if you want to achieve balance and stability,
- Put a block under your forehead to make restorative poses like the Child pose (Balasana) more comfortable and therapeutic.
- Most importantly, pay attention to your body sensations as you use yoga blocks in your practice.
- Be mindful.
- Listen to your body and adjust the blocks as needed for your comfort.
Following these instructions will help you get the best out of yoga blocks.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Yoga Block
While yoga blocks are beneficial, you should watch out for these common mistakes that can jeopardize the effectiveness of the blocks.
- Using blocks that are too high
- Neglecting block placement
- Using blocks unevenly
- Placing blocks too close
- Forcing poses
- Skipping warm-up
- Skipping professional guidance
Important Tips for Using Yoga Blocks Effectively
Yoga blocks can improve your exercise, but using them effectively requires key insights and strategies. These tips will help you make the most of your yoga blocks:
- Prioritize Proper Alignment
When using yoga blocks, ensure they support your alignment rather than compromise it. For instance, in a standing forward fold, place the blocks at a height that allows you to keep your spine straight and engage your core.
- Start With A Stable Foundation
Before trying advanced poses with yoga blocks, focus on simple postures like seated and gentle backbends. This will help you become familiar with how the blocks affect your body and balance.
- Gradually Decrease Block Usage
While yoga blocks provide support, the aim is to reduce your reliance on them. You can gradually lower the heights or reduce usage as you gain flexibility and strength.
- Experiment with different block heights
- Maintain block hygiene
- Combine blocks and wall support
- Breathe mindfully
- Seek guidance
- Focus on safety
Incorporating yoga blocks into your practice, whether or not you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, will have an overall effect in enhancing flexibility and alignment. When you choose the right blocks and follow the proper techniques on how to use a yoga block, you can unlock their full potential.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Point Of Yoga Blocks?
Yoga blocks help you to improve alignment, deepen stretches, and make poses accessible to practitioners of all levels.
Should Beginners Use Yoga Blocks?
Absolutely! Yoga blocks are beneficial for beginners. Using blocks encourages beginners to build strength and flexibility gradually and helps them reduce the risk of injury, thereby developing a practical and exciting yoga experience.
How Do You Use Yoga Blocks For Flexibility?
Incorporate them into stretches. For example, in seated forward bends, you can place the blocks in front of you to reach further while keeping your back straight. In splits, you can use them under your hands for support. These props make it easier to get deeper stretches safely.
How Do You Use Yoga Blocks For Downward Dogs?
Place your hands on the blocks, maintaining a firm grip. It’s beneficial if wrist discomfort or limited flexibility is a concern.