In addition to earning money and running about all day to get a better life, there is something else which we should all concentrate on, and that is fitness. There is an age-old proverb- “health is wealth”. The statement cannot be highlighted enough! It is indeed impossible to do anything, or achieve any goal if one does keep proper health.
Good health is not only about healthy eating. It involves exercise and of course, Yoga. Originated in India, Yoga is a very useful form of exercise that can enrich both the mind and body. While most of the poses can be done without any external help, Yoga bricks can come in handy at times.
But what are Yoga bricks? How can you use them? Are they useful at all? Through this blog, we will address all these questions and much more! So, let’s get started.
What is a yoga block?
A yoga block or a yoga brick is a brick-sized slab made out of a firm yet comfortable material. Generally, yoga blocks are made out of rubber, foam, and cork.
Introduced by B. K. S. Iyengar, the founder of Iyengar Yoga, these yoga props can be very useful while doing the various Yoga poses.
Different types of Yoga blocks:
Many different types of yoga blocks can be used for doing various poses. They include the following :
Yoga foam block
Foam yoga blocks are very lightweight and can withstand a lot of pressure without changing its shape or getting deformed.
These types of blocks are ideal for beginners who are looking for support while doing the various Yoga poses. Foam Yoga blocks are available in beautiful bright shades and look highly attractive.
These are excellent to be used in a comfortable standing and sitting position.
Wooden yoga blocks
Wooden yoga blocks were the original blocks before foam and cork blocks came up. However, unlike the other varieties, wooden yoga bricks are quite expensive, and thus one must consider a few things before buying them.
Additionally, wooden blocks are quite hard and thick and might not be ideal for beginners who are just getting started. Yoga blocks made out of bamboo are quite heavy and moving them from one place to another can get quite difficult
Cork yoga blocks
Many people feel that foam yoga bricks fail to provide enough grip. Such people can opt for cork Yoga bricks. The suppleness and support of these Yoga blocks are better than the foam bricks.
However, they are a little heavier than foam bricks. Do not be under the impression that these are dull to look at! They are available in beautiful shades and look very pleasing.
Yoga block sizes
Standard yoga block size depends much on the manufacturer. However, yoga block dimensions are relatively the same. When positioned on the ground with its largest surface facing the floor, a standard yoga brick is 9 inches in length and 5 to 6 inches in breadth.
However, for individuals with small body frames and smaller hands, there are smaller blocks available that can come in handy.
How to use yoga blocks?
Many people fail to understand what are yoga blocks. There are many uses of these amazing props. Let’s take a look at a few:
Adequate support to knees and thighs:
One way to use the yoga blocks is by sitting on either one or two of your legs. For instance, in the Pigeon or Horse pose. While doing such poses any people feel tightness around the hips. Yoga blocks can help during this time.
If one of two blocks are placed on the hips, it reduces the chance of any massive injury. If one feels any tension on the knees during seated position, then to yoga blocks can come in handy.
Some flexible people find no difficulty in touching their feet during a forward bending position. Sometimes, some can even bend their hands around the legs with absolutely no problem.
If that be the case, then yoga blocks can be used to add extra length and challenge oneself into doing better. Usually, the broader side of blocks adds extra length. One can use varying dimensions between 6 to 9 inches.
Usually, beginners find it difficult and off-balance while trying the various hands to floor poses.
Even seasoned practitioners have a few of the center days where they fail to establish their balance.
For such days, a yoga block can be used as a shortcut to the floor. Yoga bricks make such poses easy for all.
Sometimes yoga bricks are placed between the thighs to make sure that there is an ideal angle between the legs and that they are aligned correctly.
This especially applies to the Wheel Pose or the Bridge pose. Even for basic poses like Downward Facing Dog or Plank Pose, these blocks can come in handy.
Yoga blocks exercises:
It is now understood that a lot of things can actually be done with yoga blocks, and thus they are one of the most useful accessories which aid yoga practitioners.
Of course one can do a lot of exercises using these. Yoga with blocks are very useful, and if you are planning to do them, then these are a few, you can give a try:
Boat pose and extended legs:
Holding a seated position on the ground lift your legs 90 degrees at a parallel angle from the ground. Hold the hands and extend your arms outwards and lean forward.
This works great to pump up your system and is an excellent leg burner.
To do this pose, get into a lunge position. Extend your arms above your head and hold a yoga brick.
Once you are set, jump up and land back in the same position. Repeat the cycle.
Yoga for abs:
Though this also works well with a medicine ball, a yoga block will give you a better grip. To get started, lay on your back and extend your arms overhead.
Crunch your legs and upper body so that they meet somewhere in the center. Once done, bring down the block straight in between the legs and move back again. Repeat this for 25 times. Then say hello to some hot abs!
Begin by sitting in a boat pose with your legs bent at 90 degrees parallel to the ground.
Hold two yoga blocks in front of you and try to maintain your leg position. Once set, twist the upper body to the left and then to the right. Try this for 30 times.
Twisted side blocks:
Begin with a side plank position on your right elbow and the legs straightened out together.
Then place the yoga block on the left hand.
Lift your left arm skywards and then rotate your torso towards the ground. Bring down the yoga block for another twist.
Yoga blocks purpose: Yoga block poses
Yoga blocks are not the only props that can be used to enhance one’s capability as a yoga practitioner. There are quite a few other props as well. However, yoga blocks are one of the most effective accessories and are popularly found in all yoga classes.
As mentioned earlier, these blocks are available in a variety of materials and help support a lot of warm-up yoga poses and other advanced poses.
- It is possible to do the following using yoga blocks:
- It supports a wide range of motion which cuts out the distance between the yoga practitioner and the floor.
- Yoga blocks help in making the correct posture alignment.
- Yoga blocks help beginners to correct their postures and are also effective for those suffering from any injury.
- Yoga bricks help one to understand how a specific link between the support muscles can be established in a given pose.
- Generally, yoga bricks are used in almost every position (high-mid or low) to make way for more support.
- It is wrong to assume that only beginners find it challenging to balance the various yoga poses. In many cases, seasoned practitioners to find it extremely difficult to try out a few poses. Yoga bricks can come in handy at such times. While beginners stumble with poses like the trikonasana, advanced practitioners falter with the revolved triangle pose.
- However, there are a few things that one must follow when they start using this block. One must never rest or sink their hands directly in the yoga blocks. One must try to keep their figures straight and try to use the hand like a suction. This helps to engage the muscles in both hands, thereby making it easy for both the beginner and seasoned yogis to try the different poses with ease.
Yoga warm-up poses:
Before beginning right away with the yoga bricks and blocks, it’s important to prepare your body and mind for the upcoming exercise.
You must have noticed that when your yoga class begins, the students gather around and do simple stretches on their own. Some of the students do a few freehand exercises alone as a part of their warm-up yoga poses or yoga stretches for the upper back. So why should you leave it out?
If you don’t want to try out the hard ones, you can go with the soft ones which just relax you and loosen your muscles for the exercise. Here are a few that you can try:
Start by lying down on your back. Bend your knees and prepare yourself for a few pelvic thrusts.
Lower your back gently on the floor, tilt your pelvis near your face and then release it yet again.
Though it does not sound like a tough exercise, it’s pretty useful and can help ease the stiffness in the body.
To do this stretching exercise, lie on your back and cross your right ankle or left ankle on the opposite knee and assume the eye of the needle pose.
Since you are right about to get started, keep the other foot on the floor. This goes especially for those who have tight hips.
If you want a more significant stretch, then pull your knees closer to the body. If your hips are stiff, start easy and then pick your speed when you feel comfortable.
This is a very easy exercise where all you have to do is lift your legs perpendicular to the floor, one at a time. You can even do with two legs up as well.
Keep your lower back fixed to the ground and your pelvis neutral. Aim one leg right off the floor while keeping the sole of the other leg stretched out. Many might find it challenging to keep the legs stretched out. It’s okay to keep it bent if the exercise pulls on your muscles too much.
So, there you go people! Here is all that you need to know about yoga blocks uses. Now all you need to do is buy the ones that best suit your needs and get exercising!