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What are the benefits of yoga blocks and how to use them?

practicing with yoga blocks
practicing with yoga blocks

In the world of yoga, props are valuable allies on the journey to deeper stretches, improved alignment, and enhanced flexibility. Among these props, yoga blocks stand out as versatile tools that can transform your practice, regardless of whether you're a seasoned yogi or just starting your journey.

The blocks come in different sizes so you can customize their use to meet your needs. They can be either wood, foam yoga blocks, or cork blocks. For novices in particular, they offer stability and support that makes difficult poses more manageable, but they are also beneficial to more experienced yogis. Let's explore the benefits of yoga blocks and provide insights on how to integrate them into your practice for maximum impact.

Benefits of Yoga Blocks

1. Enhanced Alignment

Pose alignment that is proper guarantees that you will avoid injury in addition to getting the most out of the pose. Blocks help improve posture and form during practice by assisting with alignment for optimal results. A block can be a helpful tool to create length and bring the ground closer to you if you can't reach the floor in some yoga poses. By doing this, you may fully benefit from the posture without putting undue effort on your body or jeopardizing your alignment.

This is especially beneficial for poses where the floor may feel out of reach or for individuals with limited flexibility. Standing on one leg with your hand on a block while performing balance poses like Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana) adds added stability and lessens the chance of swaying or falling. This support helps you to put less emphasis on balancing and more on alignment and form.

2. Increased Stability

For balancing poses or challenging standing postures, yoga blocks provide a stable foundation. Placing yoga blocks strategically under hands, feet, or even sitting bones can assist in creating a stable foundation, allowing practitioners to deepen stretches, maintain balance, and prevent unnecessary strain. Whether utilized in standing poses, seated stretches, or restorative postures, yoga blocks empower individuals of all levels to customize their practice, making it accessible and beneficial for each unique body.

Crow pose is hard to learn because you have to use only your upper body to balance your weight. To make matters worse, you will probably fall face-first onto the floor if you lose your balance. To balance your weight easily and safely, use a block to support your head and feet. Taking this action will prevent you from tripping or getting hurt.

3. Improved Flexibility

The blocks serve as extensions of the arms or the ground, enabling practitioners to maintain proper alignment while gradually progressing in their flexibility journey. Whether utilized in forward bends, seated postures, or balancing poses, incorporating yoga blocks encourages a gradual and controlled approach to stretching, reducing the risk of overextension and injury.

Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose) engages every part of your body. In this pose, by using a block, you can achieve the benefits of both well-grounded hands and a long, continuous line in your body without compromising the depth or comfort of your breathing. You can also expand your Trikonasana (triangle pose), which releases your breath and energises your body, by placing a yoga block beneath your hand on the outside of your front foot.

4. Gentle Support for Injuries

Individuals recovering from injuries or dealing with physical limitations can benefit greatly from the use of yoga blocks. Blocks help practitioners modify poses and adapt their practice to suit their needs, aiding in rehabilitation. They offer height and support, allowing practitioners to modify the distance between the ground and their bodies.

5. Deepening Relaxation

Yoga blocks are an essential tool for promoting relaxation during restorative or yin yoga practices. You can use blocks under certain body parts, such as the back or hips. This helps to gently open and support a relaxing and refreshing experience. Yoga blocks help improve your balance while you breathe deeply and stay calm.

Some poses can open your chest and shoulders, such as child's pose and fish pose. Starting from the front of your mat, place a block under each elbow to begin using your blocks in child's pose. As for Matsyasana (fish pose), to support your head without requiring you to stretch your neck excessively, place one block at its highest height beneath your head. A second block should be placed at a reasonable height to support or separate your shoulder blades.

Yoga blocks can also be used to add a backbend shape to this hip stretch and increase opening in the shoulders and chest for reclined bound angle pose. In this pose, place one block under the shoulder blades (vertically or horizontally, depending on your preference) and rest your head on the mat, pillow or second block.

How to Use Yoga Blocks

1. Height Modification

Place yoga blocks under your hands or feet to modify the height of your position. For instance, in Downward-Facing Dog, beginners can use blocks to ease strain on the wrists by placing their hands on the elevated surface.

The Extended Side Angle pose is especially beneficial as it tones the legs, lengthens the side body, opens the hips, and stretches the spine. Place your hand on any height block if you are unable to readily touch the floor with the fingertips of your lower hand.

2. Support in Sitting Poses

In seated poses like Sukhasana (Easy Pose) or Padmasana (Lotus Pose), use blocks under the hips to elevate and ease pressure on the knees, providing a more comfortable and sustainable sitting position.

3. Extension Aid in Forward Bends

In Uttanasana, put your hands on blocks to keep your back flat and stretch slowly. This is especially helpful for people with tight hamstrings.

4. Stability in Balancing Poses

For challenging balancing poses like Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose), place a block under your hand for added stability. This helps you focus on the pose's alignment and prevent wobbling.

5. Backbend Support

Use blocks under your hands or between your shoulder blades in heart-opening poses - like Ustrasana (Camel Pose) or Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose) - to support and control your backbend.

Stretching your hips and glutes using the pigeon pose is beneficial. This pose is important for people with back pain. It is especially beneficial for those who sit a lot at work. Additionally, it is good for athletes who want to prevent injuries. To support the weight of each leg, place a block in the medium or low position beneath each thigh.

In conclusion

Yoga blocks are not just accessories; they are catalysts for transformation in your practice. Whether you're a beginner looking for support or an experienced yogi seeking to deepen your practice, incorporating yoga blocks can unlock new dimensions of alignment, stability, and flexibility.

By understanding the benefits of yoga blocks and exploring their versatile applications, you empower yourself to tailor your practice to your unique needs, fostering a more enriching and sustainable journey on the mat. Embrace the potential of yoga blocks, and let them guide you toward a practice that is both empowering and transformative.

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