Part of the beauty of yoga comes from the fact that the possibilities are endless. Every day, practitioners and professionals discover different ways to enjoy the practice.
Even as beginners, you are not limited to a set routine for your practice – unless of course you have chosen to stick with something like Bikram Yoga – you are free to explore and try out other variations of yoga that would suit your style, or going with the flow and how your body feels on the day.
To help support you, no matter what school of Yoga you choose, whether traditional mat based practices or even Aerial Yoga, you can incorporate additional tools into your routine.
Straps, ropes, yoga swings, yoga wheels are all quite common tools that help you deepen and enrich your yoga practice, but by far the most used are Yoga Blocks. If you’ve been doing yoga for a while now, you are probably not new to using them.
In this article, we’ll talk about how yoga blocks can assist you with your Asana and to have an enriched routine.
What are Yoga Blocks?
Yoga blocks are basically rectangular-shaped, sturdy blocks that are used during yoga and made from materials such as foam, cork, or even wood. Since these are very straightforward props, you will be able to find them anywhere.
You can easily find a yoga block that will fit your practice and suit your preferences.
Essentially, yoga blocks are used to aid yogis in their yoga practice. It helps in stabilizing the poses which in turn improves the execution. These are a good addition to your routine especially when you’re trying new things out or transitioning to a more complex flow.
Yoga blocks allow you to adjust your body in a way that will be easier for you to follow certain poses.
Benefits of using Yoga Blocks
Let’s explore some of the benefits of yoga blocks!
Yoga blocks allow you to safely deepen into poses
Perhaps this is one of the most known benefits of yoga blocks. For beginners, yoga blocks allow them to work on a pose without forcing their body into it. It is totally normal for amateurs to still have a limited range of motion or not be flexible enough. Yoga blocks will do the adjusting for them.
In the same way, for experienced yogis, there might be a bit of a learning curve when trying out a more complicated routine. Though you might have developed flexibility, your body might need some getting used to.
As you practice and get accustomed to the pose or routine, you can utilize yoga blocks until you’re more comfortable doing the pose.
Yoga blocks can also avoid injuries
In line with our previous point, yoga blocks also help in avoiding injuries. Our muscles could tense up in the middle of the flow, especially if we have the wrong form or we just reached our physical capacity.
Without a tool like a yoga block to support you, you might completely strain yourself thus resulting in more serious injuries. You should always try to look out for areas such as your back and knees since these are the ones that can be affected by intense pressure.
If you have an existing problem or condition, it’s better to check with your physical therapist or doctor first to ensure that you will have a safe experience and you won’t do further damage to your body.
Yoga blocks help you work on your flexibility
Yoga blocks have been helpful in improving our flexibility. Not everyone can be experienced enough to do standing and lunging positions such as Warrior III, Standing Forward Fold, and other balancing type poses perfectly.
For beginners and those who are transitioning, yoga blocks can aid them to work on the pose better.
For standing positions, that will require bending and reaching the mat, they can put the yoga blocks under them instead of fully stretching out just to touch the mat. You are free to do the variations first or alter your practice according to your physical needs that’s why having those blocks can really be helpful for you.
You should try to get used to doing these poses with the blocks first. Have your body adjust and develop more range of motion and flexibility, and as you get consistent and comfortable, you can remove the yoga blocks and see your improvements.
Additionally, yoga blocks can also be a good addition to seated positions such as splits, seated forward pose, and child’s pose. Some of these positions would require you to have your face touch the mat and if you are unable to do so, just incorporate the yoga blocks to act as your support.
Yoga blocks are good for stress and tension relief
Yoga blocks are also a key prop for restorative yoga. These blocks help open up your chest, neck, back and hips, to allow your body to fully melt into the position thus releasing any tension and stress build-up.
The blocks are often used for the back and spinal area as they mostly do wonders for practitioners working on this specific part.
Even if you’re not a practitioner and just want to alleviate your back pain after sitting in front of the computer all day, a yoga block can also help you achieve relaxation. You may spend a few minutes of your day stretching your body with the help of yoga blocks and you will achieve results almost immediately.
Yoga blocks also help develop body awareness and confidence
Since yoga blocks play a part in ensuring that you have proper form, these tools also help you be more aware of your body and overall physical state. The use of blocks actually encourages you to think about what your body can endure at the moment and work around that.
By having support such as this, you will be able to figure out your next goal and how you can help your body achieve that.
Furthermore, as you progress from a basic to a more complex pose, you’ll have much more confidence in yourself and your body. Seeing your progress is a good way to establish a good relationship with your body perception and at the same time, boost your confidence.
How to Incorporate Yoga Blocks Into Your Routine
In most yoga studios, they use yoga blocks to assist the students in executing poses. If they need a little bit of support or they’re avoiding straining their muscles, they use yoga blocks to encourage deeper movement.
They are great for beginners and the well versed alike, helping at every step along your progression. You can easily add yoga blocks to your kit at home.
Seated Forward Fold Pose
- This position begins with you on the mat while both of your legs are in front of you and stretched out.
- Your feet should be flexed. Toes are pointing upwards.
- Your back should be straight and you should feel your spine lengthen.
- Ideally, to execute the pose, you have to fold your body from your hips and touch your toes. For more advanced practitioners, you can have your upper body fully bent and close to your legs.
- You should not be rounding your spine, instead, you are supposed to be hinging from your hips.
- If you are unable to do so, get a yoga block and sit on it so you are elevated. In this way, you’ll be able to stretch your legs and hamstrings, making it easier for you to fold your body.
- To get into the bridge pose, you have to lie on your back.
- Your knees should be bent and at least hip-width apart. The feet should be firmly placed on the mat.
- Move your feet closer to your buttocks. Once comfortable, slowly raise your hips, making sure to lift from the pubic bone to avoid straining your back.
- It is important that your knees stay firm throughout the pose to protect your lower back.
- If you are unable to do so, get your block and place it parallel to your inner thighs. Then, squeeze the block lightly and perform the bridge pose. This stabilizes your knees which in turn helps your lower back.
- Alternatively, if you have trouble lifting from your hips, you may place two yoga blocks under your sacrum. This ensures that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine. Doing this also decompresses your back and hips.
Reclined Bound Angle Pose
- This position also starts with you sitting straight with your legs in front, fully extended.
- Then, you’ll slowly fold your knees and bring your feet closer to your hips. The soles of your feet should be touching each other.
- Ideally, the knees should be close to, if not touching, the floor. But if you are a beginner, your knees will be off the floor which might be a bit uncomfortable for you.
- To help you ease into the position, you can get two yoga blocks and place them under your knees.
- This will help open up your hips and release any tension from your inner thighs. As you get more consistent and comfortable with the position, you may try moving the blocks further until you are able to execute the pose without them.
- The triangle pose starts with you standing up and both of your feet on the ground. Then, start turning your right foot to the right side. Extend your right leg while maintaining a good gap between your left leg. Your right toe should be pointing forward and your left toe at a 45-degree angle.
- Tilt your body forward and keep your hips squeezed in. Start lengthening your torso as you fold towards your right leg.
- Your right arm should be extended and placed on or near your right foot. Your left arm should also be extended but this time pointing to the ceiling. Your left wrist should be aligned with your shoulders.
- If you can’t reach your toes or the mat, you can use your block to support your right hand. You can just place it beside your right foot, in the vertical position so you are provided with extra height, and rest your right hand on top of it.
- You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings and that’s normal. Do not over-extend yourself.
- Do the same to the other side.
- The half-moon pose is one of the trickiest poses in yoga. However, you can easily learn it with patience and practice.
- To start, you should be on your feet. Then, slowly move them apart. They should also have a good gap between them.
- Then slowly bend your right knee and start shifting your weight to this as you lift your left leg. This should be parallel to the floor.
- If you feel like you’re going to lose your balance, use the block to act as your support as you fully lift your leg. Place your right hand on it and stabilize yourself.
- Once you have gained stability, you may now raise your left arm above your head.
- You may do the same to the other side as well.
Warrior III pose
- The Warrior III pose is another pose tricky similar to the half-moon pose. You need to start with the standing position.
- Then, slowly fold your torso and raise your right foot backward.
- To ensure your stability, you may use two blocks to assist you. Make sure that they are parallel to each other so you can comfortably rest your hands on them.
- Then, as you start getting better at establishing your balance, you may adjust the height accordingly until you are fully comfortable without them.
Working Out With Yoga Blocks
There are many different ways you can add yoga blocks into your routine, especially if you’re a beginner or you’re transitioning into a more complex workout. These blocks have several benefits that can help you improve and develop your practice.
Not only are they useful in deepening your poses, but they are also a good tool to release tension in your body.
If you want a change of scenery without deviating much from your yoga routine, you can try Aerial Yoga, Yoga Kurunta (Rope Wall Yoga), or Aerial Pilates. These are some of the variations that will surely take your workouts to the next level.
Besides immersing yourself in another yoga practice, in the end, these blocks are not only a random accessory but a great addition to your yoga routine, regardless of what style of yoga you practice. Try them now and see the difference!