B.K.S. Iyengar, the late yoga master, popularized props. Iyengar used props to help support the body and allow for a more accurate pose expression. The block or brick is a popular prop in yoga classes. Yoga blocks can be used as an extension to the hands but are also useful for supporting the head, hips, and back. They are also helpful in enhancing alignment. You can borrow blocks from most yoga studios, but buying your own may be worth buying. You can practice at home with your blocks, which are more hygienic than those you borrow. Consider the size, material, price, and quantity when purchasing a yoga mat.
Are yoga blocks necessary
No, blocks are not required for yoga. Yoga instructors often suggest or insist on using one to two blocks in their classes. Yoga blocks are most useful for beginners and people with physical limitations. However, more advanced practitioners may use props to learn challenging poses. Advanced yogis with specific body proportions, making certain poses difficult, may also need blocks to access them.
Yoga props are often seen as crutches or something only beginners should use. Practitioners also avoid them because they feel heavy and can disrupt the flow of a class. You can use blocks in many ways to expand and deepen your yoga practice. Using yoga blocks in your yoga practice can:
Add length to your legs to make asanas easier.
Create more balance with standing poses.
Reduce overreaching by reducing strain and stretching.
Encourage correct alignment and a better understanding of asanas.
Add support for you to relax into the asana.
Add more difficulty to the basic asanas by deepening the muscle activation.
Yoga block dimensions
B.K.S Iyengar has stated that the ideal size of a yoga mat is 9 x 4.5 x 3.25 inches. Yoga blocks are typically 4” by 6” by 9”, but some are larger or smaller. The size of your hands and your level of flexibility will determine whether you choose a bigger or smaller block. You might consider a smaller block if you have small, flexible hands. If you have large hands but less flexibility, you might want to choose a larger size block. Smaller or half-sized blocks are also useful when you want a height between two and three blocks.
Yoga block shapes
The shape of the traditional yoga block is a brick. There are also blocks with different dimensions than the standard size of 4” by 6” by 9”, as well as shapes. The most comfortable blocks for back-bending poses are those that have a rounded or curvy shape.
Choose between wood, foam, or cork blocks
Originally, yoga blocks were made from wood. But now they are also available in foam and cork. The materials used will affect their weight, durability, and sweat absorption. They can also change the rigidity, affordability, and cost. The type of yoga classes you attend, your budget, and your personal preferences will determine the right yoga block for you.
Wood yoga blocks
Hollow wood yoga blocks can be made from bamboo, birch, or maple. The harder woods are more durable, while the softer woods are lighter. Wooden blocks can be heavy and hard (about 1.5 to 2.5 pounds), but they are durable, aesthetically pleasing, and last a lifetime. Wooden blocks have a few downsides. They are expensive, slippery when wet, slide on hardwood floors, and don’t always stack well. The wood blocks are also uncomfortable for restorative yoga or resting your weight. You can alleviate this by adding padding to the top of the wood blocks.
Cork yoga blocks
Cork Yoga Blocks are more environmentally friendly than wooden blocks (depending on how wood and cork are harvested). Also, cork blocks weigh between one and two pounds less and are softer. Cork blocks are easy to stack and store, but they can absorb sweat, moisture, and odors, which could cause them to eventually smell bad and crumble or dent as they wear. Cork blocks require frequent cleaning and do not last as long.
Foam yoga blocks
Foam Yoga Blocks are lighter (weighing between 3 to 12 ounces) and softer than wood and cork. They are also less expensive. They are most commonly found in yoga studios because of their affordability, durability, and ease of use. Foam blocks work best in restorative classes or to support your weight when doing yoga poses. Foam blocks can be easily damaged and worn out. They are also not as environmentally friendly as wood or cork. They can feel flimsy and less stable when used to support active poses.
How many blocks of yoga do you need to practice
You will likely only need one yoga block, but you may regret not purchasing two. Two blocks are advantageous. You will also have a matching pair without worrying about the brand, size, and color. You may find that holding a block or stacking blocks in each hand will provide more support, allowing you to try a greater variety of poses. Even though buying two blocks all at once is more expensive, there are sets of two blocks that can be cheaper than purchasing two separate blocks. You may have to pay extra shipping fees if you decide to buy a second block. You can gift the second block to a yogi.
Yoga Blocks: Where to Buy
Hugger Mugger was one of the first companies that produce yoga mats and props. Other large companies continue to innovate and develop better shapes and materials to improve functionality. You will need to purchase your blocks from a yoga supply company if you want a shape or size that is not standard. Yoga is so popular that you can now find mats and props at big box stores such as Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Walmart. Amazon.com offers a large selection of blocks in all price ranges. A premium block from a yoga supply company specializing in this type of equipment will last longer. Beginners who are unsure about their commitment level may be better served by buying a basic block.