"I’m strong, I don’t need a block.” That was my perception of blocks when I first started my yoga practice, I looked at props as a hindrance and a sign of weakness.
Fast forward 9 years, blocks are now my best friend. Yoga blocks have helped me advance my practice and they can for you too, here’s why:
1. BLOCKS CAN HELP US ACCESS A DEEPER STRETCH
We all know we spend a lot of our time on devices, hunching and crunching forward into our joints. Below is an example of how you can use a block to release upper body tension.
The yoga block in the picture is helping me:
● Expand the torso and ribcage
● Open the chest, shoulders and abdominals
● Creates space for deeper breathing to occur
● Releasing upper and middle thoracic
When we step onto our mat, we want to support our bodies when practicing and this is why a block can be our best friend.
You can further advance in your physical practice when using a prop as it gives our joints the space they need to delve deeper into the full expression of the pose.
2. BRING THE FLOOR CLOSER TO YOU
When we use a block we shorten the distance between you and the floor, bringing the floor closer to you.
Camel isn’t always achievable; especially if you have short arms or a very tight lower back. Why not try out my handy tip by bringing the floor closer to you. The prop can be placed at different heights.
3. SITTING WITH A BLOCK
Limit the amount of strain you put on your muscles, joints, and bones when seated.
Kneeling isn't as easy as it may look. When we put a block underneath the sit bones the floor gets elevated which can then alleviate pressure off the knees and other joints.
This can also be a fabulous tool when we sit cross-legged. Try a block next time you’re sitting and notice the difference.
4. TAKE AWAY UNNECESSARY COMPRESSION
When we enter into compression, we will not be able to go further or deeper into a pose as we have hit our limit and this can feel uncomfortable in the body.
In this photo, my knees are lifting high in a butterfly shape.
I struggle to hold it for a lengthy period without blocks.
Placing a block or two can take away unnecessary pressure and make the shape easier to hold.
5. ASSISTING WITH CORRECT ALIGNMENT
We don’t want to sacrifice the integrity of our joints for the glory of the pose. Why not use a block to help you hold the shape correctly.
As you can see in the first photo, I’m not holding the correct alignment of the pose. In the second photo, there is a beautiful lengthening happening which allows my torso to rotate, my shoulders to be aligned and my breathing to be easier.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my tips today! Next time you step on your mat grab a block. Don’t have one? Get yours here.