Practical Uses and Benefits Of Yoga Blocks
One of the practical uses of the yoga block is to provide support during balance positions. For instance, if you are struggling to balance on your own in Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana), placing a cork yoga block under your lower hand can help stabilize your posture. Additionally, when attempting more advanced postures like Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana), yoga props can replace wall support, allowing you to practice safely and build strength.
These props also have therapeutic benefits that aid in muscle recovery. After an intense workout or as part of your regular practice routine, using sustainable yoga blocks can help ease tension in certain muscles and improve flexibility. For example, placing a block under your hips in Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) can provide additional support while helping open up tight hip muscles.
Another analogy for the practical benefits of using yoga blocks while doing yoga is that they serve as an extension of your body. When working on stretching certain areas, such as opening up the chest or lengthening the spine during seated forward folds, the use of cork blocks can assist in deepening the stretch by creating space between parts of the body that may feel compressed.
It is important to remember that yoga is a personal journey and everyone’s body is different. Using props can help achieve proper alignment and ensure safety during practice. As such, it is recommended that yogis use a block as needed to enhance their practice and improve their overall alignment.
Posture Support and Muscle Therapy
Yoga blocks offer tremendous practical uses and benefits, from posture support and muscle therapy to stress relief and injury prevention. A prime example of this is using yoga blocks as a prop to safely deepen your backbends. For instance, if you are trying to come into Full Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), but struggle with keeping your arms straight, placing two yoga blocks under both hands can aid in pain relief by helping you maintain correct form as you lift up. This kind of intentional, training-like approach eases stress on your joints and muscles.
Furthermore, practising yoga over time can cause repetitive strain on certain muscles and create imbalances in the body. This can result in injuries due to the constant stress on specific muscles. Using a yoga block allows for targeted muscle therapy by providing support where it is needed most, facilitating relief from pain. This strategy is evident in exercises that involve a lot of movement, like Boat Pose (Navasana). Here, a block placed between the thighs helps activate inner thigh muscles, which stabilise the hips and lower back.
When selecting the right yoga block, consider your body size and yoga practice. Cork blocks vary in size, from 4 inches to 9 inches in height. Those who are taller or possess a longer torso might find a larger yoga block more supportive, ensuring their safety during movement.
Choosing the Right Yoga Props
The density of the cork is a factor to consider. Some blocks are softer and more pliable, while others are firmer, providing more support. Softer blocks can be beneficial for those new to yoga or those needing extra cushion for relief from pain, while firmer blocks are suitable for those seeking more stable support during training.
For instance, I recently used a softer cork yoga block in a restorative yoga class and found it provided considerable support during poses like supported fish pose and pigeon pose. However, when I used a firmer cork block during a more advanced vinyasa flow class, it helped me maintain proper alignment, allowing for a smooth and pain-free movement during poses like triangle pose and half moon pose.
Considering the block's weight is also crucial. While cork blocks are usually lighter than those constructed from wood or foam, there can be weight differences among brands and models. Opting for a lighter block is ideal for those frequently on the move or who require mobility during their yoga session.
However, some yogis prefer heavier yoga blocks, finding that additional weight offers enhanced stability during certain poses, another key component to preventing stress and injury from improper body positioning or movement during practices. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and what feels best for your body.
It is also worth considering the price point of different cork blocks. While cork blocks tend to be more expensive than foam blocks, they are also more durable and sustainable in the long run. It's important to invest in high-quality materials that will last and benefit both your practice and the environment.
Ultimately, choosing the right yoga block comes down to a combination of factors - size, density, weight, and price point. Take some time to explore different options and find what works best for your body. With the eco-friendly benefits and practical uses of blocks during yoga, it's worth investing in a high-quality option that will support your yoga for years to come.