What Are Yoga Blocks For

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Yoga blocks are simple yet versatile props used to enhance your yoga practice. These sturdy rectangles, typically made of foam, cork, or wood, provide support, improve alignment, and help you safely deepen stretches. While they may seem unassuming, yoga blocks offer a wealth of benefits for practitioners of all levels.

One of the primary advantages of using yoga blocks is improved alignment. By providing an extension of the floor, blocks allow you to achieve proper form in poses that may otherwise be inaccessible due to tightness or lack of flexibility. This not only helps you experience the postures more fully but also reduces the risk of strain or injury from overextending.

In addition to alignment, yoga blocks are invaluable for deepening stretches and expanding your range of motion. Whether you’re working on hamstring flexibility in a forward fold or opening up the hips in a low lunge, blocks can bridge the gap between your current abilities and the full expression of the pose. This gradual approach to deepening stretches is safer and more sustainable than forcing your body into positions it’s not ready for.

Yoga blocks also play a vital role in restorative yoga practices. By providing support and elevation, they allow you to completely relax into poses without straining or overexerting. This can be particularly beneficial for those recovering from injury, dealing with chronic pain, or seeking a more gentle, rejuvenating practice.

With their versatility and accessibility, yoga blocks are an excellent investment for anyone looking to enhance their yoga journey, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced practitioner seeking to refine your practice.

Enhancing Alignment and Stability

One of the primary benefits of using yoga blocks is improved alignment and stability in your yoga practice. Proper alignment is crucial for avoiding injury and getting the most out of each pose. Blocks can help ensure your body is in the correct position, even if flexibility or strength is currently limited.

In poses like Warrior I and II, placing a block underneath your front hand can prevent you from overarching your back or hunching your shoulders. This allows you to ground down through your front heel and create more space across your chest. Similarly, in Downward Facing Dog, using blocks under your hands brings the floor closer, letting you straighten your arms and lengthen your spine.

Blocks also provide a stable base for balance poses like Tree Pose and Half Moon Pose. Placing a block next to your standing foot gives you something to lightly grip, making it easier to find your center of gravity. This extra support boosts confidence in challenging balancing asanas and helps avoid falls or injury.

For poses requiring you to be on one leg like Standing Splits, a block can be a useful tool. Using it to support your back leg takes strain off your hamstrings, allowing you to work on opening your hips and strengthening your standing leg without compromising alignment.

Deepening Flexibility

Yoga blocks are invaluable tools for enhancing flexibility and deepening stretches. By providing an adjustable level of support, they allow you to modify poses according to your current range of motion and gradually work towards greater mobility.

One of the primary areas where blocks can facilitate increased flexibility is in stretches targeting the hamstrings. In seated forward folds, such as Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), placing blocks under your hands or forehead enables you to maintain proper spinal alignment while folding deeper into the pose. This modification prevents rounding of the back and allows for a more intense yet safe hamstring stretch.

Blocks can also be instrumental in opening up the hips, an area that tends to be tight for many practitioners. In poses like Badha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) or Upavista Konasana (Seated Wide-Legged Forward Bend), positioning blocks under your knees or thighs provides the necessary support to maintain proper form and sink deeper into the stretch, gradually increasing hip mobility.

For those seeking to improve spinal flexibility and back mobility, blocks can be used in backbends like Ustrasana (Camel Pose) or Dhanurasana (Bow Pose). By placing blocks on either side of your body, you can use them as support for your hands, allowing you to safely and comfortably arch back without straining or risking injury.

Furthermore, blocks can be employed in various twisting poses to facilitate deeper rotations and spinal decompression. In poses like Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated Spinal Twist), using a block as a prop between your knees or under your hand can help you twist further while maintaining proper alignment.

Remember, the key to using blocks for deepening flexibility is to listen to your body and adjust the height or position of the blocks as needed. They provide a means to work within your current range of motion while gradually and safely expanding your flexibility over time.

Supporting Restorative Yoga

Yoga blocks are invaluable props for restorative yoga, a practice that emphasizes deep relaxation through supported poses. In restorative yoga, the body is propped up using various aids like blocks, blankets, and bolsters, allowing the muscles to fully release tension. Blocks play a key role in providing the ideal support and alignment needed to completely let go.

One of the primary benefits of using blocks in restorative poses is that they allow you to melt into the pose without strain. For example, in a reclined bound angle pose, placing blocks under the thighs eliminates any pulling sensation in the inner thighs and groin area. The blocks lift the thighs just enough to create space and release the muscles.

Similarly, in a supported child’s pose, a block placed under the forehead acts as a headrest, permitting the neck and shoulders to completely relax. Without the block, the neck may feel crunched or strained. Blocks make poses like legs-up-the-wall, supported backbend, and seated forward fold much more accessible and comfortable.

Beyond providing physical support, blocks help quiet the mind by removing any sense of effort or struggle in the pose. When the body is propped up perfectly, the breath deepens, and the mind can settle into stillness more easily. This profound state of relaxation triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress hormones, and promoting healing.

Restorative yoga with props like blocks is an antidote to our fast-paced, over-worked lifestyles. It allows for true rest and rejuvenation on all levels – physical, mental, and emotional. With the support of blocks, even beginners can experience the profound benefits of this calming practice.

Choosing the Right Yoga Block

Selecting the right yoga block is essential to ensure proper support, comfort, and longevity during your practice. The three main factors to consider are material, size, and shape.


Yoga blocks are typically made from one of three materials: foam, cork, or wood.

  • Foam Blocks: Lightweight and affordable, foam blocks are a great option for beginners or those on a budget. They provide a firm yet slightly yielding surface, making them comfortable to use. However, foam blocks may wear down more quickly over time.
  • Cork Blocks: Cork is a popular choice for its durability, firmness, and natural antimicrobial properties. Cork blocks are more expensive than foam but offer excellent grip and stability. They are also eco-friendly and sustainable.
  • Wood Blocks: Wooden blocks are the most expensive but also the most durable option. They provide a solid, uncompromising surface that is ideal for advanced practitioners or those seeking maximum stability. Wood blocks can be made from various types of wood, such as bamboo or maple.


Yoga blocks come in two standard sizes:

  • Standard Blocks: Measuring approximately 9 inches x 6 inches x 4 inches, standard blocks are the most common size and suitable for most practitioners.
  • Mini Blocks: Smaller in size, typically around 6 inches x 4 inches x 3 inches, mini blocks offer more precision and are great for targeted support or those with smaller hands.


While the classic rectangular shape is the most common, yoga blocks also come in various other shapes:

  • Rectangular Blocks: The traditional shape, rectangular blocks offer a stable and versatile surface.
  • Curved Blocks: With a gentle curve on one side, these blocks can provide more ergonomic support for certain poses or body parts.
  • Ramp Blocks: Featuring a slanted or ramped surface, these blocks can assist in gradual stretching or support for specific poses.

When selecting a yoga block, consider your level of practice, physical needs, and personal preferences. Beginners may benefit from the cushioning of foam blocks, while advanced practitioners might prefer the stability of cork or wood. Smaller or larger hands may dictate the size, and specific poses or goals could influence the desired shape. Ultimately, the right yoga block should provide the support and comfort you need to deepen your practice safely and effectively.

Using Blocks in Common Poses

Yoga blocks can be incredibly useful props to incorporate into a wide variety of yoga poses. Here are some examples of how to use blocks to enhance your practice in common asanas:

Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Place a block on its highest height between your feet. On an exhale, hinge at the hips to fold forward, using the block for support. You can hold onto the block or let your head rest on it to relieve tension in the neck and back.

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Kneel on the mat and place two blocks on their highest setting about a foot in front of your knees. Lean back, reaching for the blocks and allowing your head to drop back between the shoulder blades. The blocks provide support and allow for a deeper backbend.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Lie on your back and place a block under your sacrum for support. Keep your knees bent and feet on the floor as you press into your feet to lift your hips up into Bridge Pose. The block helps those with limited flexibility go deeper into the backbend.

Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Step one foot forward between your hands in a lunge position. Place blocks under your hands or elevate your back knee onto a block for extra support and better alignment in this hip opener.

Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

Stand on one leg and use a block for support at your ankle, calf or inner thigh as you bring the other foot to root down on the block. This helps improve balance and stability.

Supported Backbend

Lie over a block set to its highest height, allowing your back to bend over the curved surface. This gentle backbend can help open up the front of the body.

Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

In a seated forward fold, use blocks under your hands or have blocks supporting your knees or feet, enabling you to fold deeper with a straighter spine.

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

Bring your outer hip to the floor with your bent leg in front of you. Use one or two blocks under your hip or shin to ease tension and allow you to settle deeper into this hip opener.

Incorporating yoga blocks allows you to experience poses in a new way by providing support, improving alignment and helping you advance your practice safely. Get creative and keep exploring all the ways blocks can enhance your yoga journey!

Sample Sequences with Blocks

Beginner Sequence

Start in a comfortable seated position with your yoga block nearby. Begin with some gentle neck rolls and shoulder shrugs to warm up the body. Transition to Cat/Cow poses on your hands and knees, placing your blocks under your hands to provide extra support if needed.

Move into Tabletop position and perform a few rounds of Knee-to-Nose to awaken the core. From here, step your feet back to Plank pose, lowering down onto your blocks for a modified Chaturanga if regular push-ups feel too intense.

Walk your feet forward to Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold) and use your blocks under your hands to bring the floor closer, allowing your spine to lengthen. Rise up to Ardha Uttanasana (Half-Way Lift) and place your blocks under your heels for added stability.

Finish in Mountain pose, using your blocks for balance assistance in Tree pose if needed. Repeat the sequence a few times at your own pace, modifying with the blocks as required.

Intermediate Sequence

Begin standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), taking a few grounding breaths. Step back to Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) with your blocks positioned under your front foot and back knee for support. Add a twist here by placing your front hand on the block.

From Low Lunge, move through Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank Pose) and Upward-Facing Dog, using your blocks under your thighs in Up Dog if needed. Press back to Downward-Facing Dog, walking your feet towards your hands and placing your blocks on either side to use as hand supports.

Step forward to Warrior I with your blocks under your front foot to help ground and stabilize your stance. Open into Warrior II, again using the blocks for the front foot. Finish with Triangle pose, bringing your bottom hand to the block.

Take a seated forward fold before repeating the sequence on the other side. Use the blocks to modify any poses as needed based on your flexibility and balance.

Summary and Tips

Yoga blocks are a versatile and invaluable tool for enhancing your yoga practice, regardless of your experience level. By providing support, stability, and alignment assistance, blocks can help you deepen stretches, improve balance, and prevent injury. They are particularly useful for restorative yoga, allowing you to fully relax and release tension in poses.

As you continue to explore the world of yoga blocks, don’t be afraid to experiment with different sizes, shapes, and materials to find what works best for your body and practice. Remember, the right block can make a significant difference in your comfort and ability to achieve proper alignment.

Incorporating blocks into your routine can open up a world of new possibilities, allowing you to progress safely and confidently in your yoga journey. Start by trying them in familiar poses and gradually incorporate them into more challenging asanas. With time and practice, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of how blocks can elevate your practice and help you achieve your goals.

Above all, approach the use of yoga blocks with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Embrace the support they offer, and trust that they are a valuable tool for enhancing your overall yoga experience.


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