There are many uses of yoga blocks since they help maintain anatomical integrity while doing different poses. For yoga to be truly effective, you have to maintain correct posture and balance so that you reap the most benefits. Yoga blocks are essentially aiding devices that make it easier to assume a pose and hold it. For example, placing your hand on the block during standing poses like Parsvakonasana (Side Angle) or Trikonasana (Triangle) can make your movements more graceful and free instead of uncomfortable and strained.
Yoga blocks also help you pose properly through practice. This can help you breathe freely, which increases a steady mind and body. They are also really important for Restorative Yoga like Supta Baddhakonasana yoga. For example, the yoga block needs to be placed near the head-end of the yoga bolster. This orients the bolster in the right slant, which allows a more relaxed and neutral spine.
Furthermore, these brick-shaped instruments work to improve your alignment while you practice yoga using them. For experienced practitioners, they provide the ability to stretch more and also protect them from injuries and pulls.
The number of blocks depends mostly on personal preferences. Nowadays, most yoga block manufacturers sell a set of two blocks or offer a discount when you get a pair.
Two yoga blocks can make your yoga routine more versatile. You can do a lot more asana, especially when using stacked blocks. If you stack them in a row, especially foam blocks, you won’t need to invest in a yoga bolster. They work well with chest-opening exercises and relaxing poses.
If you do decide to use only one, you can always keep the other one stashed somewhere for another day. This is why it is mostly advised to purchase two blocks.
You should definitely use yoga blocks if you see some lying around or if your instructor offers you some. You don’t have to be suffering from an injury or be a beginner to benefit from blocks.
Using blocks can be great if you feel that your body lacks flexibility or isn’t ready for full poses. In case you face difficulty breathing properly during a difficult asana, blocks can help you relax your muscle. Even if you need just a little extra support for balance or are having a hard day, yoga blocks can really help.
However, it is important not to get too stuck on yoga blocks throughout the session. You may need to change the height after you get supple and strong. Eventually, you should also get rid of the block completely in some poses after you have had enough practice.
Types of Yoga Blocks
There are three main types of yoga blocks that most manufacturers make – cork, wood, and foam.
Cork Yoga Blocks
Cork blocks are made from the bark of the Cork Oak tree. They are recyclable, stable, solid, and impermeable. Since cork trees continue to grow even after the bark has been harvested, they are the most eco-friendly option for you. The surface of the cork has natural friction, which makes it easier for you to remain stable when you use these blocks. This stability is why they have become so popular over the years.
Cork yoga blocks are also affordable since cork is a cheap product. The suppleness of the material is also pretty decent and they are slightly heavier than foam blocks. They are available in many colors, which means you can choose one according to your personal preferences.
They are non-slip, even when they are wet. Moreover, they are easily stackable and allow comfortable grip. However, cork blocks are not as smooth as the wooden blocks since they have a somewhat flaky texture. Due to their porous surface, cork yoga blocks are really hard to clean. They can absorb sweat and moisture when you exercise, which can impact the integrity of the block. Cheaper cork blocks are prone to crumbling around the corners.
Wooden yoga blocks are classic blocks that were used long before cork or foam blocks were made. However, they are expensive, which is why they need to be chosen with some care. Wooden blocks are thick and heavy, which means that they won’t slip when you are using them. However, they are not too supple and are quite heavy so carrying them around may seem like a hassle.
One of the first yoga blocks were made of birch, bamboo or pine. Wooden blocks are the most durable item that you can buy, which makes them the most long-lasting as well. There are often lifetime guarantees on yoga blocks since they really don’t receive much wear and tear even after years of use. The most popular wood that is used for the blocks is bamboo. This is because it is sustainable, making them the best choice for eco-friendly manufacturers and practitioners.
Wooden yoga blocks are really great for balancing and strength building exercises. They look pleasant and are easy to clean. However, keep in mind that these yoga blocks may be hard on the spine and are, therefore, not really meant for backbends or restorative yoga. Be extra careful if you have sweaty hands because the surface can easily become slippery when wet.
Foam yoga blocks are popular because they are light and easy to carry. They can take in a lot of pressure without getting deformed or damaged in any way. They work really well for beginners since they provide support during asana. Moreover, they are really attractive since they are available in all sorts of bright neon colors. They are comfortable to use and excellent for both sitting and standing positions.
They are also pretty affordable, especially compared to the wooden blocks. Foam blocks are squishier and softer than cork or wood, which makes them the gentlest material for restorative poses; they are light on the pelvis and spine. They are also easy to carry around and clean. Furthermore, foam blocks aren’t slippery which makes them perfect for even the most difficult poses.
However, many yogis still avoid them. This is because they can be rather flimsy and may collapse when you put your body weight on them. The material can also get dented or scratched easily, which makes them good for short-term use only. Furthermore, foam isn’t an eco-friendly material, which is why many sustainable practitioners don’t use them.
Yoga Block Sizes
Yoga blocks are generally available in three main sizes to accommodate the needs of people with different weight and heights. It is important to accommodate every type of individual; hence, here are the three main sizes of yoga blocks available in the market.
3-inch blocks come at a size of 3″ x 6″ x 9″. They are designed for people with smaller frames since 4-inch blocks may be too wide for them. If you are using spaces between the things, as you do in the Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and Utkatasana (Fierce Pose), then you will definitely need a smaller block.
These yoga blocks come in handy during restorative yoga since height plays a major role in how the practice session is customized. These blocks are also the most economical since larger sizes are more expensive.
Blocks of 4 inches are standard sizes that come in all sorts of materials including bamboo, cork, and recyclable foam. They are used universally by the average sized practitioner and are found in every studio.
The oversized 5″ x 12″ x 6.75″ blocks are perfect for tall and bigger practitioners. Some people are too tall for standard sizes. The 5-inch yoga block is best for them. However, keep in mind that these blocks are not restricted to tall people only since yogis practicing high levels of flexibility may also find them highly beneficial.
The 5-inch blocks can promote deep breathing in poses like Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend) and encourage a neutral spine. They are also pretty stable and tend not to slip when you are practicing.
Yoga blocks can really help you maintain good posture while you are practicing yoga. This is really important since it can help you breathe and stay balanced even during the most difficult poses. Get the perfect sized yoga block made from a suitable material today and see how it can make a difference for you while practicing!