Yoga is beneficial for both your body and mind. From better posture, to gaining flexibility and strength, there are many reasons to start practicing yoga (1). To reap the full benefits of yoga, props such as yoga blocks can be very helpful, especially for beginners. Yoga blocks serve many purposes, but the overarching goal is to provide support so that you can get the most out of your practice.
Types Of Yoga Blocks For Beginners
There are two types of yoga blocks that are commonly used by beginners:
- Standard blocks: These are the most commonly used type of block and are rectangular in shape. They are typically made from foam or cork and measure about 9x6x4 inches.
- Wedge blocks: As the name suggests, these blocks are wedge-shaped and are typically used to support the hips or lower back in certain poses. They are usually made from foam and measure about 9x6x4 inches.
Is It Good To Use Yoga Blocks?
Here are some reasons why you should use yoga blocks in your practice:
1. Yoga Blocks Can Help You Achieve Proper Alignment
One of the most important aspects of yoga is aligning your body correctly in each pose. This not only helps to prevent injuries, but also ensures that you are getting the most out of the pose.
Yoga blocks can be used to help you achieve proper alignment by providing support and stability where you need it (2).
2. They Provide Support
Yoga blocks can also be used for support in restorative and Yin yoga poses. If you are feeling tired or need a break, yoga blocks can help prop up your body so that you can still maintain the pose without using as much effort (2).
3. They Increase Your Range Of Motion
Using yoga blocks can also help you go deeper into a pose and increase your range of motion. This is especially helpful for those who are tight in certain areas or working on advanced poses (2).
4. Yoga Blocks Can Help You Deepen Your Stretches
If you find yourself struggling to reach the floor in forward bends or to open up your chest in backends, yoga blocks can help you go deeper into the pose. By using blocks, you can rest your hands or feet on them to help lengthen your spine and deepen your stretch (2).
5. Yoga Blocks Can Help You Build Strength
Incorporating yoga blocks into your practice can also help you build strength. By using them to support your weight in poses like warrior III or handstand, you can work on building upper body and core strength (2).
6. Yoga Blocks Can Help You Find Balance
If you are working on challenging balance poses, yoga blocks can be a great tool to help you stay stable. Place them under your hands or feet to help you find your center of gravity and stay in the pose (2).
7. They Make Yoga Accessible To All
Yoga blocks can help make yoga accessible to everyone. If you are new to yoga or have any injuries or limitations, these handy props can help make yoga poses more accessible and comfortable. No matter what your level, yoga blocks can help you get the most out of your practice.
What Exercises Can You Do With A Yoga Block?
Yoga blocks are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of ways to support your practice. Here are just a few examples of exercises that can be done with a yoga block:
- Supporting the head and neck in a supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
- Adding height to reach the floor in Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
- Opening the chest and shoulders in Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
- Stretching the hamstrings in Half Camel Pose (Ardha Ustrasana)
- Resting the head on a block in Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Supporting the hips in Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)
- Strengthening the arms and shoulders in Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
- Challenging balance in Half Camel Pose with a block
- Modifying Camel Pose with a block
- Doing a supported backbend with a block in Camel Pose variation
- Practicing Headstand (Sirsasana) with a block for beginners
- Using two yoga blocks under your hands for support in Warrior III Pose (Virabhadrasana III)
- Doing a supported inversion with your legs up the wall and a block under your hips
- Putting a yoga block under your low back for support in fish pose (matsyasana)
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Safety Tips For Using Yoga Blocks
Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when using yoga blocks:
- Place your yoga block on a firm, stable surface. Avoid placing it on a soft surface such as a carpet or towel.
- Do not place your yoga block too close to the edge of a mat or platform.
- When using a yoga block for support in poses such as Triangle Pose or Half Camel Pose, be sure to keep your fingers pointing in the same direction as your toes. This will help to avoid hyperextension of the joints.
- In poses such as Warrior III Pose or Crescent Moon Pose, be sure to keep your knees aligned over your ankles. Placing a yoga block under your back leg can help with this alignment.
- Use caution when placing a yoga block on your stomach in poses such as Cobra Pose or Camel Pose. Be sure to keep your navel pulled in and up to avoid strain on the low back.
The Bottom Line
Yoga blocks can be a great way to improve your yoga practice. By providing support and stability, they can help you achieve proper alignment in many poses. They can also help you to avoid injuries.
When using yoga blocks, be sure to keep safety in mind by placing them on a firm surface and avoiding hyperextension of the joints. With proper use, yoga blocks can help you take your practice to the next level.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- The Benefits of Yoga (n.d., osteopathic.org)
- How to Use Blocks to Enhance Your Yoga Poses (2018, acefitness.org)