How to use yoga blocks
One of the most powerful tool for you yoga practice
My favorite function of the yoga block is the magical ability to be able to "raise" the floor.
It seems incredible but in fact it is so. Let's think about how many times we have tried to touch our toes, arriving only "halfway" with our fingers. The back starts to ache, the ligaments behind the knees make themselves felt blocking us inexorably, but here is how by magic two bricks that we put in front of the toes come to our aid and as if by magic we can rest the palms of the hands right on their surface.
In this way we can concentrate better on perfecting the posture without suffering or worse hurting ourselves.
When you are in the middle of a yoga posture and are fumbling for a hold or struggling to "hold a position", you probably need a yoga block. Yoga blocks are supports used as an aid in achieving certain positions.
In all schools that follow the method of B.K.S. Iyengar is common to find them together with bolster, chairs, straps and numerous others "props”.
Today they are also used transversely in other yoga styles due to the many advantages they bring to the practice. One of these is undoubtedly the confidence they give us in achieving the asanas especially if we are a beginner and we don't want to strain the ligaments too much or strain the back.
But even for more expert levels, if used regularly they help to achieve greater flexibility.
THE YOGA BLOCK AS A THRUSTING TOOL, SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA
A classic posture supported with blocks is that of the bridge, setu bandha sarvangasana.
In this case the brick acts as a lever allowing us to stretch upwards, a bit like the jack when you change the wheel of the car!
Here's how it's done:
- Lie on your back with the block by your side.
- Bend your knees and place your feet hip-width apart on the ground.
- Lift your hips, belly, and chest off the ground.
- Place the block at an appropriate level, low, medium or high, under your sacrum.
- Rest your sacrum on the block.
- Join your arms under your back and open your chest by relaxing your shoulder blades down.
Remember that it is much more common to get hurt when getting out of a position than when doing it, because it is done with less attention!
To exit safely, therefore, press on your feet, raise your hips, slide the block outwards, then rest your back and butt with control towards the floor.
Venice Lido, example of Setu Banda Sarvangasana
THE YOGA BLOCK AS EXTENSION OF THE LIMBS, TRIKONASANA
When doing the triangle pose, if you can't reach the floor, instead of holding onto your ankle or shin, use a block.
The reason you can't reach the floor is that you have tense tendons. The triangle position is a great pose to improve your alignment, but it gets very challenging if you are not fit enough *.
When you use a block in Trikonasana, you are giving more stability so that you can focus on lifting through the chest, stretching through the fingertips, and tucking in the front leg.
HOW TO DO TRIKONASANA WITH A YOGA BLOCK:
- Start in the Mountain position and spread your feet.
- Turn your left toes to the left 90 degrees and keep your right toes pointing forward
- Place a yoga block next to the left foot, near the heel.
- Extend your arms up, and gently float your left arm down to rest it on the block.
- Lift your chest and extend your right arm towards the sky.
- Open your palm wide and let your gaze follow you.
- Adjust the height of the block according to your needs so that it is aligned.
Venice Lido, an example of Trikonasana
THE BRICK TO TRAIN ABDOMINALS AND STRENGTH IN THE ARMS, CHATURANGA
One last exercise that I really like and is a very original way of using yoga blocks, is in the Chaturanga position.
Sometimes we forget that Chaturanga Dandasana is a real pose, not just a transitional action typical of dynamic yoga such as Vinyasa.
Chaturanga is a very intense pose for arms and abs and with a couple of blocks you can train it like this:
- Place two yoga blocks at their maximum height at shoulder distance.
- Putting your hands behind the blocks, step back into the plank (or modified plank with the knees down if too intense) with the shoulders above the wrists.
- Move your shoulders forward and rest on the bricks that serve as support.
Practice as much as you can until you feel ready to try without blocks, but always in safety and respecting the times of your body!
Venice Lido, an example of Chaturanga
HOW MANY DO YOU NEED?
If you have decided to take advantage of the benefits of yoga blocks, I definitely recommend get two of them directly.
Although it is true some positions such as Trikonasana they only require one but most asanas require both, generally placed symmetrically to strengthen and aid flexibility.
The yoga brick was the first product we made precisely because I consider it extremely useful and important, an inseparable companion in my practice.
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