When it comes to yoga practice, the use of certain props such as yoga blocks put both veteran and novice yogis on the same plane.
This is so because many yoga poses can be a bit nerve wracking or even dicey to carry out, especially when done without the right yoga prop.
So, for life-saving yoga props like the yoga blocks, they can help you to gain more stability and control over your body without waving all over your yoga mat.
Perhaps you are wondering how to use this all important props, this post provides a detailed guide on 15 ways to use yoga blocks during your yoga routine. Come along as we walk you through this in simplicity.
What Are Yoga Blocks?
Yoga blocks are tools, or props that assist yoga practice in three main ways: by facilitating entry to on-demand yoga poses, providing support, and providing an additional challenge to help build strength.
They are rectangular, roughly 30 cm by 20 cm in dimension, made of a variety of materials such as cork blocks, wood blocks, and foam blocks, and are in different inches of thickness.
Yoga blocks were first used to practice yoga in the 1970s when B. K. S. Iyengar made them popular.
Then yoga blocks were virtually usually constructed of wood- wood blocks. Nowadays, we have cork blocks and foam blocks used to practice yoga.
We've compiled a useful list of Best Yoga Blocks for Beginners, see it here!
What are yoga blocks used for?
Here are 15 ways to use yoga blocks to advance your yoga exercises.
1. Supported Chest Opener
This is a suitable position that uses yoga blocks for expanding breath-controlling practices that are helpful to heart-opening yoga practices like Fish Pose (Matsyasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), and Bow Pose (Dhanurasana).
The support of the yoga blocks on yoga blankets allows yogis to completely unwind during this particular pose which helps the pectoralis minor and muscles release tenacious postural stress.
This enables thoracic spine extension and gives us a wider range of motion for heart-openers. You need at least two blocks to achieve the chest opener.
2. Puppy Pose
Puppy Pose is a lovely way to use a yoga block underneath your elbows to bend your elbows to stretch your triceps and create space for your chest to melt below your arms.
It is a helpful counter pose for poses that involve arms overhead like Upper Plank Pose (Purvottanasana).
The addition of a yoga block underneath the elbows makes you feel more comfortable to stretch more and ensures the positioning of your upper arms is shoulder blades width apart.
3. Yoga Bicycles
Yoga bicycles are excellent ways to use yoga blocks for strong abdominals and tight hip flexors. The yoga blocks are a great addition to strength on the chest and inner thighs during this position.
Maintaining two blocks in position also improves concentration and upper body and lower body coordination.
It serves as an effective warm-up for exercises that focus on twists, backbends, and balance.
4. Upper Body Strength
Yoga blocks are used to avoid struggles associated with arms being overhead during upper body strength exercises.
You squeeze a yoga block between your hands when your arms are overhead to strengthen the pectoralis major in your chest, the triceps, and biceps in your upper arms, and the serratus anterior over your side ribs.
5. Handstand Hops
Practicing handstand hops, especially in the middle of a room can feel terrifying for some yogis.
For more flexible yogis, it might be fear to simply overbalance and slump into a backbend during the handstand.
However, this is overcome when you use yoga blocks for Handstand. Even the difficult stance in Handstand hops may seem more doable with the simple addition of a yoga block.
The block is used to pin one leg to your chest to provide a counterweight for the raising leg and is compelled to use your core muscles to prevent toppling over and entering a backbend.
6. Neck Release
Neck release, also known as myofascial release, is a helpful technique for preparing for poses that require strong neck flexion like Shoulder-stand (Salamba Sarvangasana), Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), and Plow Pose (Halasana).
Neck release employs the use of the edge of a yoga block to apply pressure that eases neck tension in the semispinalis capitis and splenius capitis muscles.
With the added support provided by yoga blocks, you have control over the level of pressure applied to the neck and control over your body at that exact position.
7. Supported bridge pose
Yoga blocks are used to provide support in a supported bridge pose. The supported bridge pose is a superb restorative posture with several advantages, including the ability to lessen lower back discomfort and calm the nervous system.
You may need one or two yoga blocks for this pose, and you should try to find the height that feels most comfortable for you.
Do not place the block underneath your lower back, but beneath your sacrum, place the block. Spend a few minutes in this position of relaxation.
8. Sun Salutation
Sun Salutation, known as Surya Namaskar in yoga practice, is a yoga pose that highlights thigh muscles, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
It involves a standing pose that works on your outer right hip (gluteus medius muscles) and deep core to create standing leg stability.
Yoga poses like Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana), Standing Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana), Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), and Cobra (Bhujangasana) involve Sun Salutation.
Holding a yoga block between your inner thighs allow you to more clearly feel the support and stability you can obtain from engaging the adductors as you perform Sun Salutations, especially during the difficult transitions.
9. Seated Forward Fold
In a seated forward fold, the collapse of the shoulder blades and chest, and rounding of the spine are common mistakes that can raise fear in yogis.
However, trying these seated and reclined poses when you use yoga blocks helps to easily straighten the spine.
Sitting on the block helps to inhale to lengthen the spine without causing harm to the lower back.
Although the seated forward fold works better with yoga blankets, using a yoga block is also quite encouraging.
10. Psoas Release
This is a typical deeper stretch exercise for your hip flexors. The psoas release is a counter pose to yoga practices that involve heavy forward bends and a sitting pose.
The psoas is from the spine at the ribcage’s bottom that allows the relaxation of your lower back instead of arching your back or trying to get a deeper stretch over the front of your hips.
Yoga blocks are yoga props that help to gradually release deep tension out of the psoas for more tight hips extension.
If you use a yoga block, it allows you to stay in a strong stretch like Crescent Lunge or Low Lunge for longer periods to relax the psoas and release psoas tension.
11. Step Through
Step through or step forward is one of the most challenging practices in a Lunge or Downward Facing Dog Pose.
This is because it involves swinging your front legs straight in a momentum that tends to lower the hips and result in insufficient space for the lower front leg to meet through the hands during the step forward.
The yoga blocks serve as a potential strong physical obstacle that compensates for the lack of space and therefore generates enough space under your ribcage for the shinbone of the front foot.
You place the block underneath your hands to maintain buoyancy in your left foot when swamping the left leg to the right leg.
12. Stability Work
Stability work is a balanced work that can be rather challenging though crucial to make stability muscles work better and harder.
These balance poses require some level of standing poses, and kneeling poses on a yoga mat.
Therefore, yoga blocks are mounted on the yoga mat to create a balance to stand on or kneel on the unsteady or steady ground to ensure your proprioception is improved.
13. Dead Bug
Dead Bug is a core muscle-centric exercise that targets the midsection of your body during its move.
When you squeeze one block between your elbow and knee for this pose, you feel comfortable doing the exercise and your midsection hand works harder and better during this core-centric exercise.
14. Bird Dog
Bird Dog is a kneeling balance pose that causes stability challenges to the hands and left knees bent.
However, the use of yoga blocks under your knee and your support hands during kneeling can offer support for your front foot and hand that target core muscles for stability.
15. Tricep Push-Up
Tricep Push-Up is a high plank position that is challenging without the use of yoga blocks.
Yoga blocks are used to master the perfect triceps push-up exercises as they help to keep your body in the right position during this exercise.
With a yoga block placed right at the top of each middle finger, the plank position is achievable.
What poses to use yoga blocks?
Using a yoga block makes difficult yoga poses far more accessible and manageable because the blocks help with posture and proper muscular function.
Here are 20 yoga poses in yoga practices that you need to use yoga blocks for.
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
- Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
- Crow Pose (Bakasana)
- Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
- Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
- Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
- Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
- Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
- Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
- Upward Plank Pose (Purvottanasana)
- Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
- Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)
- Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
- Shoulder standing pose (Salamba Sarvangasana)
- Plow Pose (Halasana)
- Cobra (Bhujangasana)
- Reclined Hero Pose (Supta Viranasa)
- Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
How many yoga blocks do you need?
On average, a person often just requires two yoga blocks or yoga bricks during the early stages of their yoga practice.
As a result, if you now own or intend to acquire a yoga studio and want to buy yoga blocks for your yoga studio, you should think about buying two blocks for each client.
For instance, as a yoga teacher, you would need to buy (2 X 10 = 20) yoga blocks if you were expecting ten students.
However, it is recommended that you are aware that yoga blocks are available in various sizes for various students and various kinds of yoga practices.
So keep that in mind when you wish to buy yoga blocks for your yoga sessions.
Which yoga blocks are best for you?
To choose a yoga block that is best for you to practice yoga, you must first consider the kinds of yoga practice you want to engage in, and your body size.
So if you own a yoga studio, it's crucial to cater to all different types of people. Yoga blocks are chosen depending on the material they are made from and their sizes.
There are four types of yoga blocks based on the material they are made from. We have Cork blocks, Foam blocks, Wooden blocks, and Bamboo blocks.
However, of all these four types of yoga blocks available, the foam yoga blocks are the most ideal for beginners or early stages of yoga practice and also for leisure yoga practices.
If you need more strength and stability during your yoga poses, then you should go for the cork yoga blocks or wooden yoga blocks.
Generally, Soft foam blocks are more commonly used than cork blocks or wooden blocks because they bring more comfort and balance
To meet the demands of people of various heights and weights, yoga blocks are typically offered in three main sizes. They are the 3-inch yoga block, 4-inch yoga block, and 5-inch yoga block.
For instance, yogis with smaller heights should choose 3″ or 4″ blocks while the with 5″ blocks are perfect for bigger and taller yogis.
Very strenuous yoga poses such as wide-legged forward bend require the 5-inch yoga block while leisure yoga poses can use 3″ or 4″ yoga blocks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do yoga blocks really help?
For sure, yoga blocks are very important and they provide so much help and support during your practice as a yogi.
With yoga blocks, you tend to get easy access to more yoga poses since they provide you with more length, right support and alignment.
Are yoga blocks cheating?
Using a yoga block is not cheating in any way! Yoga blocks are only designed to help all classes of yoga practitioners improve their overall performance, especially as they advance to challenging poses.
How many yoga blocks are needed for yoga practice?
In most cases, having at least two yoga blocks around you will always serve you right for almost any kind of pose you may want to carry out.
Take Home - 15 Ways To Use Yoga Blocks
Yoga blocks provide the basis for an easy advancement into more challenging yoga poses.
Generally speaking, yoga blocks can be used as a support for various yoga poses such as bird dog, dead bug, bridge pose, and even when trying to open up the chest.
Most preferably, going for at least two yoga blocks made of the right material and size will make your yoga classes less stressful.
So, get some yoga blocks around your yoga space and ace your poses without hassles.