Yoga blocks are a great support mechanism for any yogi. Unlike the popular belief in yoga classes that only beginners use yoga blocks, this is far from the truth. Even the most seasoned yogi will use a block for a variety of purposes.
Traditionally, the yoga block was made out of solid wood. And we can trace its origins to the yogic works of B.K.S Iyengar who invented Iyengar Yoga. He used different props such as yoga blocks, bricks, straps, etc to assist his own yoga students in their practice. Since wood was not a travel friendly option, these props are now produced in cork and foam.
What is a Yoga Block?
A yoga block is a piece of cork or foam (or wood), that is about 9″W x 6″H x 4″D. They are usually less than 0.5lbs in weight. It is used as a prop in yoga practices to help students with their practice.
What is the Difference Between a Yoga Block and a Yoga Brick?
Yoga blocks and bricks look the same (to me). However, the biggest differences are in their size and dimension, and also their purposes. Yoga bricks are fuller, bigger and denser than yoga blocks. Yoga blocks have a wider “flat” surface than a brick.
While yoga blocks are used for providing support, additional height, seated posture support of the knees and butt, shoulder stands, etc., yoga bricks are helpful to for forward floor bends, child’s pose, easy pose etc.
If you are not sure of what to use, consult a yoga teacher who will provide easy guidance.
Why Use a Yoga Block?
Yoga students may use it to help with their flexibility, easing into a new yoga pose, extended stability in a certain pose, or deepening flexibility overall. But the most important of these is providing support for your muscles and joints during the practice. A common recurring theme I’ve heard in yoga classes is that yoga blocks and bricks is that they reduce the distance between you and the floor! 🙂
The Benefits of Using Yoga Blocks
The major benefit of using a yoga block is that you are supporting your body by easing it into poses. Yoga is not easy. And if you are not very flexible, trying to get into even the simplest of poses will cause stress of your joints and muscles. Giving your body an assist with a yoga block will help tremendously.
When used correctly, the blocks will help with your extensions, alignment, flexibility, and most importantly preventing any muscle strains, sprains, tears, or overall body injuries.
Are All Yoga Blocks the Same?
Nope! If you can believe it, there are a wide range of factors that go into types of yoga block. However, what should matter to you is what you purpose of using a block is going to be.
Yoga Blocks for Beginners
If you are a beginner, you probably need 2 blocks that are sturdy and a little heavy. Get one that is cork based or even some eco-friendly options have heavy, sturdy, firm to the grip options.
Cork vs Foam Blocks
Cork yoga blocks tend to be sturdy but also hard-ish. However, if you are just starting your yoga practice and you want a yoga block to help your balance, I do recommend the sturdy option. Sometimes, you may feel like your cork block feels like a brick. That just means its not the right block for you. Venture into yoga studios and sporting goods good to feel them out before you purchase.
This is a good cork block option to start with.
Foam blocks are a little more malleable and squishy. These are good for those who just need a little bit of support without relying fully on the block. As you become more seasoned in your practice, switch to this option for a little support. These are also more comfortable to use compared to the cork.
How Many Yoga Blocks to Buy?
It is recommended to buy 2 yoga blocks when you first begin. This is because you will need support on both sides of your body, or also support with different areas in a single pose. Over time when you are flexible and sturdy, you may require just 1 block. Most places will sell you yoga blocks in pairs too.
Yoga blocks do not show a sign of weakness. In fact, in my option they are a sign that we all should take the support we need to become better people. Whether that be in life or with the use of a yoga block to improve our yogic practice.
As with anything you use, consult you health advisor before use.
Featured photo courtesy of unsplash.com