If you are new to the world of blocks and wondering what are yoga blocks used for and how can these blocks help you in your yoga sessions? You are on the right page.
Here we talk about all the usages and benefits of different kind of blocks in a simple FAQs format.
- What is a Yoga Block?
- What Is The Use of Yoga Blocks?
- Which Yoga Block Should You Go For?
What is a Yoga Block?
A yoga block is a rectangular block of piece which is usually made of cork, foam or wood. It is used as a ‘prop’ or a support system while practicing yoga.
They are available in three different levels- low, medium and high- and they are used to fit according to the specific pose you are going to perform. In a broader spectrum we can simply put that blocks are used mainly to facilitate a pose with use of one single block or stacking them up together.
Many people often think that blocks are used by beginners only. But that is not at all true. These blocks can be used by anyone- be it a beginner or a pro-yogi!
Well, the reality is, if you know how to use yoga blocks properly, then that’s what makes you an advanced yogi!
Out of many other ‘props’ that yoga uses, blocks are most commonly used. It is usually used as an extension of the arm but can also be used as a support provider to the back, waist, hips and head to enhance the body to perform a complicated pose.
What Is The Use of Yoga Blocks?
Yoga blocks are quite a fascinating thing to use and are been used in various ways by different Yogis.
Now let us try and understand in details the exact use of blocks and yoga. These are used for three main reasons:
1. An Extension To Your Arm- To Bring the Ground Closer To You
This is the primary reason for which blocks are used in yoga practice. There are certain poses in yoga which demand your hands to touch the ground or the mat.
Often times, our body is not ready to cope up with the difficulty of the complicated pose and hence does not act in a very flexible manner and we fail to touch the ground.And that is when yoga blocks come of use.
They help us to reach the floor allowing us to perform any difficult or complicated pose without straining our hands. However, bringing the ground closer to us with the help of blocks does not mean that we are not doing the pose. It means that we just cannot yet.
So, for occasions like this it is better to use a yoga block to bring the ground closer to you and prevent your hands (or other body parts) from straining in order to build that flexibility. In fact, using a block for situations like this helps the yoga practitioner to achieve a correct alignment, which in turn helps them with the benefits of a particular pose.
On the other hand, if we choose not to use the block we will not only fail in receiving the benefit of the pose but we also might end up hurting ourselves. With the help of the block, we can glide into any position smoothly and easily and as our flexibility starts building and evolving we can even try removing the blocks.
And while we talk about the purpose of using blocks, we must remember that yoga blocks also help us to breathe better. This is because using blocks does not put a strain on our body parts.
Master yoga practitioners often recommend the use of yoga blocks because of the space they provide. We often find yogis who can easily reach their hands to the ground use blocks for various complicated poses because it gives their torso the space and help them move with ease overall.
Yoga poses which usually demand the use of blocks are: low lunge, side angle, triangle, half-moon and even a downward dog pose.
2. Help us Stay Near the Ground- To Accomplish Deeper Stretches
There are a few special yoga poses which are meant to be held longer for greater benefits. These poses are usually practiced towards the end which facilitates deeper openings of the muscle tissues by further relaxing the overworked body, mind and soul.
These kind of deeper stretches allow certain muscle tissues to open while simultaneously allowing the body to ground down.
These stretches ensure that the muscles which are not being facilitated must relax to its maximum potential. These stretches prevent your muscles from straining and benefit you by releasing all the unnecessary knotting and holdings of your body and your muscles. So, during these deep stretches it is good to fill up the gap between your body and the mat with the help of yoga blocks.
Placing a block in correct positions when your hand does not reach or touch the ground during these stretching exercises is a good idea as it does not put pressure on your muscle tissues. Blocks can be used for almost all yoga poses to fill up the space between the body and the mat allowing your body to relax completely.
3. Enhancing Strength- Allowing you to Build Strength
Apart from the two reasons mentioned above, yoga blocks help you to build your body strength in general. For example, you can put a block between your legs and hold one in your hand for a considerable period of time.
This will help you build resistance during your strength training by enhancing your exercise session satisfying. However, for a purpose like this you must use blocks which are made of cork or wood and not the ones which are made of foam as they are light and will not serve you your purpose.
Simply put, holding heavy weight blocks mean holding more resistance and building more strength.
Which Yoga Block Should You Go For?
There are hundreds and thousands of varieties of blocks that are available in the market. Some of them are made of foam and cork while some are made of wood.
The foam is the lightest one which should be used by beginner practitioners till the time you have developed enough strength and resistance to use the wood ones.
The wooden blocks are the heaviest and are usually used by seasoned yoga practitioners.
Do not forget to check out our post on What Are Yoga Blocks Made Of? In case you are interested to know in more details.
The foam ones are great for travelling around with. They are so light in weight you can easily carry them in your gym bag on your way to your yoga studio.
However, they do not last you forever as the wear and tear start to show when they are used on a regular basis. These ones are good when you are just starting off with your yoga sessions.
Bamboo Wood Blocks
The ones made of wood (specifically bamboo wood) are perfect for all the pro yoga practitioners and these are ranged at a higher price.
The advantage of using wood blocks is that they are heavier which helps in enhancing your strength and they are also very durable. They will last you for a longer period of time in spite of regular use.
Blocks Made of Cork
The ones which are made of cork are priced at even a higher range than wood. This is because cork is a natural product which makes it even more durable and long lasting than the wood ones.
They are solid but not very heavy. They give solid support and foundation and are extremely slip-resistance. However, they cannot be traveled with in our yoga bag.
So with all these purposes listed down, we can easily fathom how purposeful yoga blocks are. They help you solve all your stretching and flexibility issues which all yoga-practitioners face at some point in their practice. They correct your body posture and alignment helping you to find the central gravity point of your body.
There are various other uses of the these blocks but these are the most common and the primary ones. So, grab a few blocks the next time you set out to practice and try a variety of poses with them.
They will surely make your poses better which will further encourage you to practice this form of exercise. You are surely going to feel better, feel at ease and also not feel constricted during the complicated poses.
After all yoga is all about that!
If you are already using one, this article will be helpful to you. How To Clean Yoga Blocks?