What Are Yoga Blocks Good For?
Yoga blocks are useful in everyone's practice, whether you are just getting started or are a little more advanced. Walk with me through a few poses in which blocks can help extend flexibility, correct pose alignment and deepen your stretch!
For those looking to get their hands to the ground, blocks are great tools for slowing working your body into a more flexible state. Bringing the floor to your hands in poses like the extended triangle or half moon not only supports the body in proper spinal alignment, but also doesn’t force the strain of reaching down past your comfort level.
CORRECT POSE ALIGNMENT
Actions towards extending flexibility also assist in proper pose alignment by making sure the spine is straight instead of rounded. It’s more important to keep the body in the right formation to get the most out of each pose versus rounding the back in order to touch the floor.
Using yoga blocks in seated poses like Hero or Lotus are also great to elevate the hips and support the knees. No need to strain the body in yoga, your practice is meant to create relief.
To correct your alignment in Bridge, try placing a block in between your ankles or thighs (or both). This will help your hips space evenly when lifting upwards.
DEEPEN YOUR STRETCH
Getting the most out of your practice overtime involves deepening your flexibility in order to reach more advanced poses and inversions. Blocks are great in helping to prepare and help the body get into those harder poses by providing support; Allowing the body to get used to bending different ways.
For example, to prepare the body for backbends, using blocks to assist in proper pose alignment during Bridge will help the body remember the formation when extended backwards. As well as Bridge, using blocks to help open the chest and embrace the natural arch in your back will also assist when creating that arch in a Backbend. For this, place one block along the spine (aligned horizontally on the skinny edge) and the other under the neck to support the head (lay on top of the block as it stands tallest vertically). This pose is great for relieving stress and tension, while also opening the chest and increasing air flow to and from the lungs.
Another inversion blocks can be used to prep the body for are shoulder stands, which lead to head/handstands and then even poses such as Scorpion! Placing a block under the butt brings the floor closer, making it easier to practice lifting up and off to connect with the sky.
To increase your stretch, blocks are great to use in addition to poses already mastered, like downward facing dog or upward facing dog. Placing one under each hand (flat to ground), your body can lengthen a bit deeper in downward facing dog, as well as allow your body to lift higher in upward facing dog. In these poses, blocks are used to stretch muscles not reached normally, as your body is already familiar with the flexibility achieved in your normal practice.
Yoga Blocks can be used in a variety of different ways, such as training your body for the splits or getting a workout in for your abdominal muscles. You can activate certain parts of the body by placing blocks in the right targeted areas. For abs, try placing a block in between your thighs during crunches, or practice maneuvering your legs up and over blocks while in the straddle position. Blocks have so many purposes in your practice and it’s important to know how and when to use them for the greatest advantage.