By Sara Fruman
You walk into yoga class. The instructor calls out, “Option to grab a yoga block,” and receives smirks from much of the room. Real yogis don’t need blocks, right?
Well, it might be time to readjust your mat and your mindset. Yoga blocks can actually challenge your practice by allowing you to tackle more difficult postures. They can also help with alignment and proper muscle engagement.
So, grab a yoga block and give these eight yoga poses a try:
1. Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Place a yoga block between your inner thighs to energize them and advance the posture. Or, if you have difficulty lifting your pelvis, place a block under your sacrum for support.
2. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
As with Bridge Pose, place a block between your inner thighs to engage them and take pressure off of your lower back.
3. Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)
Place your hand on a yoga block rather than directly on the mat to encourage extension in both side bodies. This will allow you to focus on externally rotating your inner thigh rather than on maintaining your balance.
4. Full Splits (Hanumanasana)
Most students cannot physiologically get their pelvis and inner thighs on the floor, at least not to start! When beginning the pose, try placing a block below your pelvis. You might even want to use two blocks, placing them under the inner thighs.
5. Revolved Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana)
Revolved Triangle is a significant twist, and you may find it challenging to ground your back foot while squaring your hips and lifting an arm. Placing a block to the inside of your foot elevates the lower hand, making it easier to maintain proper alignment.
6. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Fish Pose involves lying on your back while getting the crown of your head to the ground and then lifting the lower and mid-spine while keeping the sacrum on the ground. Placing a block under your back makes the pose more comfortable, meaning you’ll be able to stay in it for longer periods of time.
7. Crow Pose
Crow Pose can be intimidating, especially for beginners. It seems impossible — like levitating! Prepare for the pose by squatting on a block so your feet are already a few inches off the floor.
8. Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana)
In Forearm Stand, there’s a tendency for your forearms to splay out, making the pose nearly impossible. Using the yoga block solves this problem. Place the block between your thumbs and forefingers, making sure that it’s horizontal, so that your hands are about shoulder-distance apart.
You’ll find that using a block makes these challenging poses substantially more accessible. How do you use blocks in your yoga practice?