Yoga is a holistic practice that can help you find more alignment in your life.
Although it is often presented as if it were, yoga is much more than a physical practice; it’s a journey of self-discovery, growth, and transformation.
One of the most valuable tools in your self-advocacy arsenal is the yoga block.
Whether you’re quite new to yoga or have been practicing for a while, there is a chance you’ve seen yoga blocks and other props before… But have you ever used them? What is a yoga block for?
Using props like blocks in your asana practice challenges the notion that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to yoga and encourages you to take ownership of your practice.
In a world that often imposes rigid standards and expectations, self-advocacy in yoga is a radical act of self-love and empowerment, reminding us that we are the experts of our bodies, and it’s essential to honor our individual needs and wants.
In this article, we’ll explore what a yoga block is for, and also share some tips on how to use them effectively and why they are integral to your journey of self-empowerment in yoga.
In this article, we will share with you,
- Why use props in your practice?
- What is a yoga block for? 6 benefits
- How to use a yoga block: 8 yoga poses with blocks
Why use props in your practice?
Before we delve into the world of yoga blocks, it’s crucial to understand the role of props in general and how they help make the practice more accessible for more people.Yoga props serve as allies on your mat, empowering you to make your practice truly your own and adapt it to what you need at any given time.
Props provide vital support, ensuring that your practice is adaptable and ultimately safe. This is particularly important and beneficial for individuals with diverse bodies, abilities, and restrictions, but it can apply to us all.
Yoga props such as blocks, straps, bolsters, and blankets are not shortcuts or only for “when you really need them”; they are tools that encourage you to be self-aware, compassionate, and mindful in your physical yoga practice.
They help you:
- Improve alignment and posture.
- Provide support for beginners and those with limited flexibility.
- Prevent injuries by reducing strain.
- Deepen stretches and poses.
- Facilitate relaxation and restorative poses.
- Make yoga accessible to people with physical limitations.
By embracing these props, you are not just enhancing your physical practice but also asserting your right to a yoga journey that is uniquely tailored to your body and needs.
What is a yoga block for? 6 benefits
Blocks hold a significant role in the physical practice of yoga.
One of the first styles that included and promoted the use of blocks and other props as a means to make the practice more accessible was Iyengar yoga, and since then, the use of props has extended into many of the yoga styles practiced across the globe today.
They are essential tools that can elevate your yoga practice in numerous ways.
In this section, we’ll delve into six key benefits of incorporating yoga blocks into your practice.
Here are 6 of the main benefits of bringing yoga blocks into your practice:
- Alignment and Support:
Yoga blocks are your guide, helping you find better alignment in poses, not to make the posture look a particular way, but to access it in your own way, reduce strain, allowing you to be in the posture with more freedom as well as to prevent injury.
- Balance and Stability:
Balancing poses like Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose), for example, can be challenging for many. Yoga blocks become your stabilizers. Using these props will allow you to focus on your form and reduce the fear, and the slight possibility, of toppling over. This not only enhances your physical balance but also cultivates mental and emotional steadiness.
- Deepening Stretches:
A certain degree of flexibility is required to access some yoga shapes, and blocks are great allies when you are working on deepening stretches or increasing your flexibility. Using blocks and other props helps you gradually expand your range of motion while maintaining control and safety.
- Modifications for Beginners:
Yoga blocks are bridges to accessibility, especially for beginners or those with limited mobility or even a less flexible body. They make poses more approachable, enabling individuals to develop their practice at their own pace. As you progress, you may choose to explore the same postures without blocks, or you may continue to practice with them; they’re just different options.
- For Restorative Yoga:
Yoga blocks play a crucial role in restorative yoga, fostering relaxation and rejuvenation. By strategically positioning blocks, poses can become exceptionally comfortable and soothing, creating an environment for deep relaxation.
- Therapeutic Benefits:
Yoga blocks and props are therapeutic tools, providing gentle support for healing and recovery. They can relieve back pain and other discomforts by making poses more accessible and beneficial for specific needs. This therapeutic application extends the reach of yoga practice, making it inclusive and beneficial for many more folks.
Incorporating yoga blocks into your practice opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to explore a wider range of yoga asanas and practices.
From enhancing alignment to fostering self-empowerment, these versatile props are essential tools on your yoga journey.
How to use a yoga block: 8 yoga poses with blocks
Now that you understand what a yoga block is for, let’s explore some of the most popular yoga postures and how you can create some variations with the use of these versatile props, making the postures more accessible to your needs.
1# Seated Postures With Blocks
Here are some yoga asanas to practice seated, and that can be enhanced with the use of blocks:
- Sukhasana (Easy pose): One of the most basic postures in yoga, can be quite uncomfortable if you have tight hips, groins, or lower back. Consider either sitting on a block to elevate your hips, or perhaps use two blocks, one under each knee, to ease the sensation in the groins and hips.
- Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend): In this seated pose, position a block under your sitting bones. It tilts your pelvis forward, which aids in achieving a deeper stretch without compromising your lower back.
- Vajrasana (Thunderbolt pose): The use of a yoga block in this posture can really help you find more ease. Try placing the prop between your heels and sitting on it, instead of sitting on the heels, putting less strain on the ankles and knees.
- Navasana (boat pose): If you want to build more strength in the legs, and particularly fire up your quads, try placing a block right between your thighs and squeezing it when practicing boat pose.
2# Standing Postures with Blocks
- Parsvottanasana (Pyramid Pose): When practicing pyramid pose, it can be very helpful to use your blocks and frame your front foot with them, bringing the hands down to the blocks instead of trying to reach all the way down to the floor.
- Garudasana (Eagle Pose): Eagle pose often challenges the balance of the practitioner, so when first learning the posture or if you feel a bit unsteady, consider placing your free foot on your block.
- Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose): This fun balancing posture can be made more accessible for folks when using a block a few centimeters in front of your standing leg, and placing your hand on it.
- Utkatasana (chair pose): If you want to strengthen your legs more, and work on creating more quad engagement, try practicing chair pose with a block between your knees or thighs, improving your alignment and building leg stability and strength.
3# Supine Postures With Yoga Blocks
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge pose): To give your lower back a little passive massage, or simply take ut some intensity from the posture, place a block on any setting right below your tailbone when accessing this bridge pose.
- Supta Badha Konasana (reclined bound angle pose): to support the hips, use your blocks on the outside of the knees so that you can relax a little bit more in this asana.
- Viparita Karani (Waterfall pose): Another variation that releases tension in the lower back, is practicing Viparita Karani with a block under your tailbone, to give you a deeper sense of inversion.
- Halasana (Plow Pose): if your feet don’t reach the floor when you are doing Halasana, use a block or two right behind your head, and let your feet land on the prop for more comfort.
A yoga block is a powerful tool for self-advocacy and for taking care of yourself in your yoga practice.
This prop is breaking the myth of one-size-fits-all yoga and reminding us to honor our unique needs.
Bringing props like blocks into your practice will help you find more space to fine-tune your ability to listen to your body, adapt your practice to your specific needs, and make choices that prioritize your well-being.
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