How To Use A Yoga Block & 7 Poses To Try

How To Use A Yoga Block & 7 Poses To Try

clock-circular-outlinePosted 10 Aug 2023

Yoga blocks can be an extremely useful tool as you begin your yoga journey or if you’re aiming to further deepen your practice. They can help you try new poses without the risk of hurting yourself. In fact, you could say that these props are essential to your practice, and almost always, good to have to-hand.

Many yoga teachers will use yoga blocks (also known as yoga bricks) in their flow to help you intensify a stretch, or as a tool to support you - taking some of the weight, and alleviating the pressure or intensity that you might find during your stretching poses mid-flow.

You may have seen yoga blocks used in classes but never really knew how or what they are used for. So in this article we’ll explore the benefits of yoga blocks, the different types you might find, and 7 poses you can modify - using blocks.

What Are Yoga Blocks For?

Yoga blocks are a versatile tool that can be used in a variety of ways in your practice. Blocks are used to modify poses and are helpful for beginners who may not have the flexibility or strength to perform certain poses on their own. Using the blocks to support various parts of the body, such as hands, feet, hips, and back, can help to achieve proper alignment and form during your yoga practice.

That being said… they’re not just for beginners, or those who struggle with flexibility. Yoga blocks can also be a useful tool to use during restorative practices to achieve a deeper stretch. It doesn't matter whether you're a beginner or an expert in yoga, yoga blocks can do a lot of good for your body, and they can be used in many ways to strengthen, stretch, and support. Here’s a few of the benefits…

Build confidence in poses

‘Walk, don’t run’, is the saying we want to keep in mind here. Rather than pushing your body into an advanced pose (and potentially hurting yourself), if you can’t quite get yourself into a certain position, then use yoga blocks to support yourself. Yoga blocks help you perform moves correctly so that over time you’ll build confidence in the pose and find that one day you can push the yoga blocks to the side and get your hands flat on the floor.

Support and prevent injury

It’s not every day we’re supporting our entire body weight in challenging poses, and for many beginners, this can be a challenging aspect of yoga. Yoga blocks can help provide support to vulnerable areas of the body, such as the wrists. For instance in down dog, placing yoga blocks beneath your hands will take some pressure off your wrists as it allows you to shift some of your weight backwards and off your hands.

Bring the floor closer to you

You don’t have to be flexible to start yoga, which is unfortunately a myth that is often perpetuated. Flexibility comes over time and practice, and the ethos of yoga is not about pushing yourself beyond your capabilities. Yoga blocks can make certain poses more accessible by bringing the ground closer you, making it easier to perform standing forward fold positions where you might not be able to reach the floor with your hands.

Deepen poses and increase range of motion

Yoga blocks are beneficial to use when certain positions are difficult to move into, but you still want to deepen the stretch. They can be positioned in ways that allow you to sink deeper into postures and achieve a more intense stretch. You'll find yoga blocks are often used in restorative practices to encourage full surrender into the poses.

Improve balance and flexibility

Many poses in yoga can have you wobbling a fair deal, especially unilateral movements that have you lifting one arm or leg off the ground. In many of these postures, you’ll find it easier to balance with the yoga block creating less distance between you and the floor. On the flip side, balancing on such a small surface area can also help to improve your balance over time.


The Different Types Of Yoga Blocks

Once upon a time, during the yoga boom of the 70’s, wooden yoga blocks were the go-to prop. Heavy and easy to slip on when sweaty, you’ll be happy to know that wooden yoga blocks have largely been scrapped for more lightweight and practical materials.

The two main types of yoga blocks you’ll commonly see now are foam blocks and cork blocks. Besides the aesthetic difference, the two foam blocks have a number of characteristics and benefits that are worth knowing before purchasing.

Foam Blocks

Foam blocks are a practical option for carrying to the gym or studio as they are made from soft and lightweight materials. Because of this, you’ll find that they’re more comfortable for supporting sensitive areas of the body and using for restorative poses. However, as they’re so lightweight, they may not be stable enough for poses that require you to lean your full bodyweight on the blocks.

Cork Blocks

Cork blocks are heavier than foam blocks and provide a more sturdy option which can be especially useful for providing stability and grip support for the wrists during standing poses. More often than not, cork blocks are also eco-friendly, and due a little more durable than foam blocks.


7 Poses To Try With A Yoga Block

When you’re practicing vinyasa flows or other yoga sequences, you might want to reach for yoga blocks for poses that challenge your balance and flexibility. The use of props can be very helpful when it comes to modifying poses find challenging to get the proper alignment. You don't need to be in a yoga class to utilise the benefits of blocks, you can practice many poses at home; here's 7 yoga poses you can try out yourself using a yoga block and how they can help.

1. Standing Forward Fold

It's easy to collapse your spine when bending into a forward fold, and doing so might allow you to reach your toes, but it won’t stretch your hamstrings effectively. Instead, place your yoga blocks a comfortable distance away from your feet and bend at the hips, reaching your hands onto the blocks in front of your rather than rounding towards the floor,

2. Pigeon

You may find your hips are often lifted too high in pigeon pose, which can cause tensions in the lower back and knees. Use your yoga blocks as a shortcut to the floor when entering a pigeon pose. Modify the pose by placing your yoga block under the hip of your bent leg so that your hips are square and your body can sink into the pose.

3. Bridge

One restorative yoga pose that utilises yoga blocks is a supportive bridge. Start lying on your back, with your knees bent and place a block underneath you right at the base of the spine. Start at the lowest height, and adjust higher if a deeper stretch is wanted. This pose can help to relieve tension in the back while also stretching your neck, chest and spine.

4. Triangle

If you can't reach the floor in triangle pose and find yourself grabbing on to your ankle or shin, use a yoga block instead. The likely culprit here are tight hamstrings, but you don't need to touch the floor to get a good stretch, your body should be completely linear. So, place a yoga block near the heel of your front foot, reach your arms up and float your front arm down to the block. Lift your back arm towards the hand and you'll feel a good stretch in your hamstrings.

5. Half Moon

Half moon is a great pose for practicing your balance and grounding. To modify a half moon you can use the block to balance on. Place the yoga block in line with your front foot from a triangle position, placing your hand on the block and shifting your weight to the front leg. Raise the back leg slowly and keep your top hand on your hip or pointing towards the sky.

6. Lizard

Lizard pose is a great hip-opening pose, but it can be difficult to get into. Use two yoga blocks as shortcuts to the floor by placing them inside your front front and placing your hands or forearms on the block to feel the stretch.

7. Yogi Squat

Tight hips or poor ankle mobility might prevent you from getting deeper into a yogi squat. Sitting on a yoga block will provide extra support in this pose and help with your balance. This will take some pressure off the knees and allow you to keep a straight back, lift your chest and feel a good stretch in the hips, inner thighs and lower back.

Looking for a yoga flow you can fit into your lunch break? We’ve got you covered. Take a look at this 10-minute calming sequence you can enjoy the next time you’re feeling stressed or need a well deserved moment for yourself during the day.

GymsharkBy Gymshark

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