There is more to yoga than a mat and some poses. Many workouts also feature props such as blocks, bolsters and blankets. A yoga block can be placed under your feet, hands or buttock to provide extra support. In even the most difficult pose, a block can help stabilize your body and promote comfort and safety.
Yoga Block Basics
A yoga block is a rectangular tool typically made of foam, cork, wood or bamboo. They are lightweight and comfortable. Historically, yoga practice didn’t require extra props but over time, practitioners have learned the block can further their practice. The block is designed to support your body to help you better release muscular tension. A block can be arranged in three different heights -- depending on which side is flat on the floor -- and you can use more than one block at a time. Placing a block vertically makes it taller, while placing it horizontally gives you a wider, studier base.
Adding a block to every pose doesn’t always enhance your practice. To ensure its usefulness, ask yourself what type of extra support the block provides. If you are in a resting position and part of your body needs extra support, add in the block. When you are struggling to hold a pose, adding the block may help. As you advance in your practice, change the way you use the block to lessen your reliance. If you started with the block vertically, push yourself farther by arranging it horizontally.
The ways in which you can add a block into your practice are nearly endless. In a seated pose, such as Lotus pose, sitting on the blocks may allow your hips to open more. This helps you get a deeper stretch through your spine. In standing poses, such as Triangle and Half Moon, place the block under your hands. You can choose whether you want to use the block at its highest or shortest height, depending on how much assistance you need. The lift helps you extend the pose more fully.
Germs lurk throughout a yoga studio. The warm, humid conditions are ideal breeding grounds for bacteria. Clean your yoga block with an antiseptic cleaner at least once a week. Pushing your body to twist, bend or turn too far can injure your muscles and ligaments. Even with the block, listen to your own body and if you feel pain, stop doing a pose.
Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.