Practicing yoga does more than improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. Its benefits extend beyond your physical well-being thanks to its ability to lift your mood and improve your mental health.
Yoga blocks are ideal for anyone, even beginners. As you become more adept at doing your yoga exercises, you may realize that you need more than a high-quality mat and comfortable clothes for your yoga journey. For example, accessories like yoga blocks and straps can help you improve and enhance your stretching and poses.
If you are all new at this, you may ask, “What are yoga blocks for?” Yoga blocks have several benefits and uses worth knowing about to help you improve your yoga workout experience.
You can use yoga blocks in numerous ways. For example, place them under your hands in forward folds, under your bottom for support in seated poses, under your shoulder blades in restorative poses, or between your thighs for added engagement during poses. Most importantly, they provide support during challenging postures, ensuring better alignment.
1. Enhance Your Yoga Practice
However, what are yoga blocks for? Their uses include extending your arms or supporting your back, head, or hips. Materials used for yoga blocks include foam, rubber, cork, and wood.
Overall, yoga blocks make it more comfortable to practice yoga. They benefit beginners, people prone to or recovering from injuries, or those with certain physical limitations. However, advanced practitioners also use them to enhance their practice.
2. Benefits of Using Yoga Blocks
Yoga blocks offer many benefits because they help supplement motion, correct alignment, support the muscles, and help you hold positions. Let’s break these down:
With yoga blocks, you can make your stretching safer because the yoga blocks allow you to achieve the correct alignment. As you become more flexible, you can deepen your stretches with time. Even with simple poses like Sukhasana, yoga blocks help to create space to increase the benefits. Placing a block under the hips creates length in the spine because of the increased height.
Yoga blocks also encourage the correct alignment, ensuring you use the correct tension for muscle engagement. The result – improved muscle strength and endurance.
Better Support and Balance
Challenging poses like Ardha Chandrasana cause strain on one part of the body (in this case, the shoulders), making it more difficult to concentrate on the correct alignment. Using a yoga block provides support and balance where needed, giving you the grounding required to go into your pose correctly.
People with injuries or physical limitations can use blocks to modify poses, making yoga goals and practicing certain poses more accessible. They also help reduce the risk of injury by using the blocks to create more height or support where needed. For example, someone can place blocks under their hands to “raise” the ground, allowing more space in Parsvottasana (pyramid pose).
3. Explore Different Yoga Poses
Now that you know “what are yoga blocks for,” it’s easier to learn more about how to explore different yoga poses.
You can use yoga blocks to do several exercises like stretches. Read more on stretching various body parts with yoga blocks in this article by WebMD.
You can use yoga blocks in several poses, including:
Balasana (Child’s Pose) – You can place one block under your forehead and another under the tailbone. If you are more advanced and want to deepen the posture, rest each of your forearms or elbows on a block.
Eka Pada Kapotasana (Pidgeon Pose) – Place the yoga block under your hip on your crossed leg to raise it and help you sink deeper into the stretch. The yoga block makes the pose more comfortable for people with hip problems.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) – The upper body strength required makes this a challenging pose. You can use the yoga blocks under your palms to take the pressure off your wrists and shift your weight back to your heels. Deepen the posture by using the blocks under your feet.
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold) – People with limitations often find this calming exercise difficult. Yoga blocks used at the appropriate height to rest your fingertips make it easier, and you can bend your knees as much as you like. You can deepen the pose by placing each foot on a yoga block.
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose) – Use the yoga block to achieve your desired height by resting your weight on the block under your sacrum. You can deepen the posture by slowly straightening one leg at a time. You can also deepen the posture even more by bringing the knee of each leg to your chest.
4. Achieve Proper Alignment
Some people may say that you cheat if you use yoga blocks. However, that’s untrue. Yoga blocks are an excellent tool to help you achieve proper alignment in poses. Some examples of using yoga blocks to achieve the appropriate alignment and form include:
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) – Place a block between your thighs to help activate the muscles of your inner thighs
Bakasana (Crow pose) – Hold a block between the elbows to ensure you engage the chest and triceps.
Utrasana (Camel Pose) – Place a block between your thighs to help your knees from spreading outward.
Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) – Use a block to prevent reaching too far forward on your shin and to keep your arm straight during the Triangle Pose.
5. Deepen Your Stretches
Incorporate yoga blocks into your practice to deepen your stretches and postures. For example, you can deepen Anjaneyasana (Crescent Lunge) by placing a block underneath your front foot in this or the Low Lunge.
Use yoga blocks to deepen Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero’s Pose) by placing a block at its biggest height between your shoulder blades. Like this, you create a heart opener. If your neck is strong enough, let it hang. Otherwise, place a block to support your head.
Another way to deepen Supta Virasan is to clasp a block with both hands at its widest position. Slowly move the block above your head, bringing the biceps to your ears, always keeping your shoulder blades on the ground. Using controlled and slow breaths, repeat ten times.
6. Support and Stability in Yoga
Use yoga blocks to support and stabilize poses requiring larger motion ranges than you have mastered. For example, if you struggle to reach your toes in Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold), use a block to support your hands as you deepen the stretch to avoid straining your back.
Similarly, if you can’t maintain your balance while doing Ardha Chandrasana (half-moon pose), use a yoga block under your bottom hand for support.
Staying stable during poses helps you prevent injury. With time, you will become more adept and probably stop using your yoga blocks less for some poses, but you can also use them to deepen others.
7. Improve Flexibility and Strength
When explaining “what are yoga blocks for,” we cannot ignore their importance in improving flexibility and strength. Yoga blocks improve your flexibility and strength by allowing you to practice deeper stretches. Flexibility allows you to move through the motions efficiently and without injuries.
For example, place a block under your shoulder blades in a Matsyasana (Supported Fish Pose) to open up your chest and increase flexibility.
Use your yoga blocks to make exercise more effortless when you need a more laid-back routine or to deepen your poses when you feel like challenging yourself more.
8. Enhance Mind-Body Connection
Yoga is the perfect exercise routine to enhance your mind-body connection. It strengthens your awareness of the signals between the mind and body, allowing you to focus more consciously on better managing both through lifestyle.
Use your yoga blocks throughout your routine as you warm up and exercise. Besides their ability to build strength and flexibility and support you during stretches, yoga blocks also help enhance your mental focus.
The result is a more mindful approach that helps you maintain the proper technique and prevent injuries. Ultimately, yoga blocks enhance your yoga experience, allowing you to build physical and mental strength. Therefore, those who think they are crutches or shortcuts to yoga have the wrong impression.
What are yoga blocks for? Use yoga blocks as props to enhance your yoga experience by supporting your hands, bringing the floor closer, or stabilizing your pose balance. You can also use them to improve your alignment and deepen your stretches. You can apply their use in several ways, whether you are a beginner or more advanced, to ensure a better posture and enhance your mind-body connection.