Can’t touch your toes when you bend over? Grab a block to “raise the floor”!
Is it hard to step your foot forward from kneeling? Grab two blocks to give you extra space!
When I’m teaching yoga, I always encourage the use of blocks (and usually, the bigger the better!).
Blocks are really just a helpful prop with lots of different uses. They can “raise the floor” up to your hand while in a yoga pose. And this allows you to:
~Deepen your stretches and poses
~Let the intended muscles stretch and open up more in a yoga pose
~Reduce injuries like muscle strains from going past your “edge”
~Decrease the amount of energy required to get into a yoga pose
~Provide a comfortable seat for meditation because your hips are above your knees
Blocks come in all different sizes and colors and either foam or cork. Most are foam – made from EVA foam – but cork blocks are gaining popularity. Foam blocks will need to be replaced every so often, like when you feel them get a little softer. They work better when they are firm.
Yoga blocks are very versatile because you can use them in 3 different positions – vertical, horizontal or flat – which gives you 3 different heights. This gives you lots of options with just one size block.
If you begin searching to buy yoga blocks, the cheapest ones you’ll find are the small size blocks – usually 3”x6”x9”, and quite often what you find in gyms. Personally, I only use this size block for extra support in restorative poses. I feel like they are very unstable if you try to use them in a standing pose like Triangle. I prefer the bigger size 4”x6”x9”, because that extra inch makes you feel much more supported.
Also, most times it is more helpful to have 2 blocks during your practice, so the products reviewed below are all 2 packs.
Following are some reviews to help you determine what size yoga block would be best for your practice and your body, with the pros and cons for them and also a link to them on Amazon to purchase them.
Small Foam Blocks – 3” x 6” x 9”
Cons: These blocks are wobbly when you use them for standing poses or when you are leaning on them. Although your core should be doing the work, and not the block, you do need to gain that strength, and I don’t feel that these are the safest option for beginners. They only “raise the floor” 9”, which may still not be enough for a beginner or a person who is very stiff.
Medium Foam Blocks – 4” x 6’ x 9”
Pros: It’s only 1” difference from the blocks above, but these feel so much more sturdy. They still are comfortable to grip, and are safer for people improving their core strength. They are also the suggested size for propping up your bolster in restorative poses.
Cons: Again, with their 9” height, beginners may still find these to not “raise the floor” enough to work on certain poses.
Superblock Foam Blocks – 6.5” x 9.25” x 13.5”
Pros: Definitely my FAVORITE blocks! These blocks are super sturdy when you lean on them and the extra 4.5” of height is so helpful! They also seem to hold up for longer than the smaller blocks, which tend to soften up over time.
Cons: These cost about 3x the price of the smaller blocks. (But I assure you, they are well worth it!) They also do take up a bit more room for storage purposes.
Cork Blocks only come in small or medium sized, but both are considered more eco-friendly, non-toxic, non-slip, odor resistant and moisture proof! These sometimes feel a little heavier and sturdier than the foam blocks. I see these used more in hot yoga studios because of the moisture proof qualities, but they are an excellent option for someone avoiding manmade materials. They are more expensive than the foam blocks, but better for Mother Earth!
Yoga Blocks Aren’t Just for Beginners
I’ve come across lots of people who think that using a yoga block in a pose somehow means that you are not as GOOD or advanced at yoga as someone who doesn’t use one. And then I see them straining to reach to the floor, and crunching their body together in the areas that the pose is intending to be stretching out! Using a block has nothing to do with how GOOD you are, it’s a useful tool to take your practice a little deeper.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about the use of blocks or if you’d like to share how you use them!