What is a Yoga Block?
You may have seen your favorite yogi in a pose with one of these blocks placed underneath one of his or her hands or feet. But exactly what are yoga blocks and how do they benefit your yoga practice? You may have also seen them in the cardio area at the gym – these are called exercise blocks, though those are often shorter in length.
An Extension To Your Arm- To Bring the Ground Closer To You
Yoga blocks, and their close relative, yoga bricks, are among the most versatile yoga props.
Yoga blocks are used to support your body in several ways. Yoga blocks can be used to help with proper alignment to make the pose more effective and to protect your body from injury.
Because yoga blocks are essentially a sort of extension of your arms, they can be used to help you to stretch further or to get more out of an already lengthened pose.
This makes it possible to stretch into certain standing poses, like Virabhadrasana II, which might otherwise be impossible.
In addition to their versatility, a yoga block also offers a small amount of support to your body when used in the right way. This can be a great option for students who are still learning the skill and flourishes of balancing in a pose. You can use the yoga block in the proper position until you're more comfortable with maintaining the pose without it.
Even if you've been doing yoga for a long time, a yoga block can help you to stimulate a pose in new ways and to learn more about your limits and abilities. For instance, you may find that you cannot balance in your typical Tree Pose, Urdhva Vrksasana, when you put an extra yoga block under one foot for support.
Help us Stay Near the Ground- To Accomplish Deeper Stretches
Bodhi Yoga blocks are the best choice for beginner students just getting going in yoga. They help increase flexibility and help the student make correct alignment in the asanas (poses). They are also a great tool for intermediate and professional students, who are working up to more demanding asanas that may be difficult to accomplish.
Yoga blocks are also referred to as “legs,” so you know what to ask for at the store. Both wood and foam blocks are available.
Benefits of Yoga Blocks are:
Legs for yoga help keep you grounded during your practice. With the help of the ground, their stability gives yoga students a broader foundation for their asanas, which allows them to fully extend their bodies and achieve deeper poses.
Legs can help strengthen athletes, which also helps with core and leg strengthening. Many professional athletes and bodybuilders incorporate yoga into their training. They find it can help with flexibility, range of motion, and muscle tension, all important parts of their training.
Legs help “open up your hips,” which can release stress and strain. For people with tight hips, this can help make your practice a lot better, and your hips will start to release pieces of that strain. It can also help you relax and improve your posture.
Enhancing Strength- Allowing you to Build Strength
Why would you want to do a Warrior 2 pose or a standing forward bend using the body instead of yoga blocks? Yoga blocks or yoga bricks are simply synthetic wood with a soft covering that allows you to enhance the reach of your poses.
Do you need them in order to do yoga? No.
Will they enhance your practice? Again, no, but they can make things easier. Many people train traditionally, that is to say without any props. A prop is anything that helps a pose come into form; this includes using your hands or a yoga block.
Using yoga blocks or bricks in your practice can help you learn and master pose or asanas that would be difficult otherwise. They eliminate the imbalance or the strength discrepancy between the sides of your body. They also can create more balance in your practice, providing you with support that you may be or feel without the extra support a prop can offer.
If you want to work on balance, and you are finding it difficult to do so, then props can be used to help you achieve this.
The place where your energy is directed in a Warrior pose doesn't only rely on your armpits. It's your alignment, root and concentration that matters. Yoga props allow you to find your balance and focus all in one sweep. This can help you learn more about your body's potential without being hampered by any misconceptions you have.
Which Yoga Block Should You Go For?
If you are a beginner, you might want to start with the regular foam blocks. They tend to be in most studios and come in a variety of colors.
The life span of yoga foam blocks is about 10 years, so chances are you will have them for quite a while before they need to be replaced. You can also buy them very inexpensively from any of the major online yoga supply dealers. The downside is that if you drop the blocks, or they get chewed on by your dog, they can break apart into little pieces that can be a pain to clean up.
If your pregnant, the extra padding that comes with the pregnancy blocks is a pretty nice addition. For travel, the ones that pop open and fold flat are great. If you are looking for a splash of color or you want to distinguish blocks used for one purpose from those used for another, there are many options available both in foam and cork.
Yoga blocks come in many colors and many shapes. I chose to stock up on the basic thumb tip foam blocks as I have a toddler who likes to chew on things and foam is not good to gnaw on. Those foam blocks have lasted me almost 5 years. Not all yoga blocks are created equal. You can find very durable cork blocks however foam is typically cheaper.
A foam block has a similar feel to a nerf block. They are a little firmer and bulkier than a nerf block, but are also generally more durable. You will get a solid base against the floor for standing poses.
If you want to keep your hands to the mat, you can also use the foam block for pushups.
These blocks are good for travel as they don’t take up much space.
Bamboo Wood Blocks
Wooden blocks are often the least expensive out of all the different types of blocks you can buy and are made from real wood.
They are a good alternative to string blocks as they are slightly more stable. Though the small surface area can make it hard for newbie yogis to balance on.
Wooden blocks work well with poses where you are on your knees as they have a slight curve at the top that matches the right knee shape.
Blocks Made of Cork
A wood-splitting cork, which comes in many styles and variations, is the most common yoga block. Cork yoga blocks are better for new students, because they are lightweight and easy to stabilize. The downside is that they are a little too light and tend to move around too much during any position that has weight supported by the wrists and hands.
A wooden yoga block is typically created from Basswood, which is a lightweight, soft wood alternative to hardwoods like Oak or Maple. The benefits to this kind of block is that it is made from natural, lightweight wood, they are also pretty inexpensive, and easy to grip and balance on the body.
The downside to wooden blocks is that they are susceptible to moisture, which can cause the wood to break apart. A good alternative to wooden is a natural rubber, which never dries out, isn’t susceptible to insects and has the ideal density to comply with how the human body’s tissues and muscles react to weight on the body. Exercises with high impact activities using this block will likely cause it to lose shape and need replacing.
Blocks are simple pieces of foam that are readily available. They come in different shapes, sizes, and thicknesses. There are also different textures and sheen of the foam on blocks.
They come in different sizes. Some people use them as place-mats for meditation, for placing under the hands when first starting out on the floor, to use while doing partner yoga, and for dipping and surfing.
How many yoga blocks you need really depends on what you plan to use them for. They also come in different textures and colors. The texture and color are completely a matter of taste or preference.
They are extremely light in weight. Many people have more than one or two yoga blocks. If you are feeling creative, you can also go around with paint, paper, and a marker and create your own designs on the yoga blocks.
Most yoga block sets come with four blocks. If you have a bigger idea in mind you can also buy blocks individually and in any shape or size. You can paint and decorate them in any way you like.
Yoga blocks are a very affordable gift. But it is also a gift that will be used for years to come. It is a great gift for both beginners and advanced users. A former yoga teacher I knew used hers for years and years.
They are true friends that will not go out of style.