Some people see yoga tools, such as yoga blocks, as a way of cheating your yoga practice. These could be a crutch that keep you from truly challenging yourself or progressing in your practice. But in reality, these tools are not something holding you back; instead, there is a definite purpose for yoga tools, including yoga blocks. Yoga blocks can actually help you enhance your poses and take your practice to a new level.
Ensuring Correct Form in Yoga Poses
When youíre beginning yoga and progressing with your ability, some poses can be difficult for you to achieve if certain muscles are tight or for other reasons. By using a block, you can prevent an injury from pushing your body harder than itís ready to go and by using the correct form.
Blocks can help you achieve the proper way of performing a pose until your body gains the flexibility and strength to perform the pose without the block. Here are some examples of how to use a block to achieve proper form:
Standing Forward Bend: Say that your hamstrings are very tight so theyíre holding you back from reaching the floor in Standing Forward Bend. In this case, you could put the block on the floor and reach for that instead of the floor, whether you use this support at first or forever. By using the block, you can get into a proper position of bending forward at the hips.
Easy Pose: In Easy Pose or another simple seated position, sitting on a block can help you have a straighter back and can also improve the position of your hips.
Seated Forward Bend: Sit on the block so you can bend better in Seated Forward Bend. This method helps if you have tight hamstrings that are getting in the way of achieving this position.
- Wide-Legged Forward Bend: Rest your head on a block when you bend forward in Wide-Legged Forward Bend. The block can help you achieve the correct form and can make the pose more restful.
In some cases, you might never want to stop using the block because itís not a matter of improving your ability. For instance, a block could help if your arms are naturally too short to reach the floor or you have an issue with a certain part of your body that is benefited by some support.
Using the Block to Open Your Body
Itís also possible to use blocks to open and stretch parts of your body, which will only help your practice move forward. Blocks are extremely beneficial for tight hips, which are common, and tight hips can affect the entire body and many yoga poses in a negative way.
Blocks can help you achieve poses that are difficult if not impossible with tight hips, and can work on opening the hips. Some ways to use blocks for the hips include:
Sit on the block in poses like Bound Angle Pose and Hero Pose to open your hips and keep the rest of your legs from overcompensating for tight hips
Put blocks under your knees in Bound Angle Pose to support the legs while opening the hips and making the pose more comfortable to sit in for a longer period of time
- Add a block under your hips during Bridge Pose
Blocks also help open your shoulders and chest. A great way to do this is to lie on the floor and put one block under the part of your back beneath your chest with your head against the floor or another block under your head. Just lie in this position for a few minutes to open and stretch this part of the body that is often hunched forward.
A yoga block can help improve your overall posture and provide opening, stretching and strengthening to various parts of your body. Using a yoga block isn't cheating! By using the blocks, you can progress with your yoga practice and notice improvements in your body that transform your everyday life.