Whether you’re new to yoga or have years of experience, yoga blocks are helpful tools and can be used in endless ways to enhance your practice. In this guide, we look at some of the key benefits to be gained by practicing with blocks and provide a few examples of poses where a block can make all the difference.
1. Bring the ground closer
If you’re unable to reach the floor in certain poses a block can be a useful way to create length and bring the ground closer to you. Doing so will enable you to experience the full benefit of the pose, without straining your body or compromising your alignment.
Example 1: Forward-fold
When you forward-fold your back should remain flat. However, if your hamstrings are tight and you’re struggling to reach the ground this can cause your spine to curve. By adding a block to support your hands, you can keep a straight back whilst enjoying a full stretch in the hamstrings.
Example 2: Triangle Pose
Yoga blocks can also be a useful addition to Triangle Pose. In this position, your lower hand should be resting on the floor with your other hand stretching upwards. Your upper body should remain in one pane, not hunched forward. Again, this can be challenging if you’re struggling to reach the mat, as your body will naturally want to lean forwards. To make things easier, try using a block to support your bottom hand.
2. Release tension
Some poses are more intense than others, however, you should be able to relax in each posture without experiencing discomfort or pain. If you’re finding a posture too intense, blocks can be a great way to modify poses and make them more accessible.
Example 1: Hero Pose
Hero Pose is a good example of a more intense posture that can be easily modified with the use of a block. Often individuals struggle to hold the pose due to tightness in the ankles and quadriceps, however placing a block underneath your seat reduces the intensity of the stretch, allowing you to remain in the pose longer.
Example 2: Easy Pose Sukhasana
Despite its name, Easy Pose can be quite demanding for individuals with tight hips. However, this seated posture can be easily modified by positioning a block under the seat bones to elevate the hips and create more space.
3. Get deeper into poses
Using yoga blocks can also help you achieve a more intense stretch by allowing you to sink deeper into postures. You’ll find restorative practices often incorporate blocks to encourage the body to fully surrender into poses.
Example 1: Fish Pose
When practicing Fish Pose, using a block to support your back will help you achieve a greater opening in the chest and shoulders. The block should rest in between your shoulder blades so your weight is completely supported, allowing you to sink deeper into the backbend.
Example 2: Bridge Pose
Placing a block under your pelvis in Bridge Pose helps to support your hips, so you can completely relax into the pose. In turn, this will help to open the chest and create a deeper, more restorative experience.
4. Avoid injury
Using blocks reduces pressure on your muscles and joints, helping to avoid stress injuries. And by using blocks to modify the more difficult postures, you’re less likely to sustain an injury by forcing your body into a pose that isn’t accessible to you.
Example: Pidgeon Pose
If you have tight hips, Pigeon Pose can put your front knee in a vulnerable position. Once the weight of your torso is applied over the knee this adds even more strain and if you’re not careful, it can result in injury. To avoid this, simply place a block under your hip and this will reduce the pressure on your knee joint.
Example 2: Camel Pose
Camel Pose provides a great backbend and heart-opening stretch, but attempting this posture with limited spinal flexibility can cause damage to the lower spine. If you’re experiencing discomfort in Camel, placing blocks on either side of your legs is a great way to protect your lower back and reduce the risk of injury.
5. Build Confidence
As you progress further on your yoga journey, finding the confidence to try out more advanced postures can be difficult. However, blocks can be used to support you wherever required, giving you the confidence to take your practice to a new level.
Example 1: Crow Pose
Crow is a challenging pose to master as it requires you to balance your whole body weight using just your upper body. To make matters worse, if you lose your balance you’ll likely fall face-first on the floor. But by using a block to support your head and feet, you can get comfortable balancing your weight, without fear of falling over and injuring yourself.
Example 2: Headstand (Sirsasana)
You can even use yoga blocks to help practice your headstands. Simply line the blocks against a wall with the bottom block standing on its narrow end facing the wall and the other two blocks laid flat over the top. There should be a small gap between the wall and the bottom block to allow your hands to pass through. You can then use the blocks to support your upper back as you come into your headstand.
Try CorkYogis Eco-Friendly Yoga Blocks
So we’ve discussed the benefits of using yoga blocks and looked at different ways to incorporate them into your practice. Now, it’s time to try them out yourself.
At CorkYogis, our yoga blocks are made from sustainably sourced cork and are 100% eco-friendly. Despite their lightweight feel, our cork yoga blocks are surprisingly firm, providing more stability than foam alternatives.
What’s more, when you purchase one of our cork yoga blocks we donate 10% of our profits to Destiny Reflection, a Kolkata based charity that supports survivors of sex slavery and human trafficking.