Perhaps you cringe when you hear the teacher announce to
grab a block for practice. Maybe you
feel you don’t need the block. Maybe it
makes you feel badly about your practice.
Maybe you just don’t understand the fuss because you will get your fingers to the
mat. No matter what.
Like most yoga props, blocks can greatly enhance your
practice in many ways. Blocks (and other
props) when used properly (pun intended!) can make poses more accessible, increase comfort in the poses, or make your poses safer and better
supported- which allows for a deeper relaxation and release of tension from the
body and allows the mind to draw deeper within (Pratyahara).
Here, I’ve laid out my favorite uses for blocks in beginner yoga
postures. Sometimes the effect of the
prop is unbelievable and you may find yourself wondering why you resisted. Or maybe you find you truly dislike it (and that is okay). Either way, see what light the block can shine into
Standing Forward Bend
Standing with feet together or hip width apart, draw navel inward and up, soften your knees and fold forward with a long spine. Allow your hands to rest on a block. Keeping the length in the back of your body, and your sitting bones lifted upward. Adjust the height of the block as needed. Allow several breaths here, as comfort allows. Draw in awareness with each breath.
Standing Forward Bend with Extension
From your forward bend, inhale and lengthen your spine and gaze forward. Feel free to adjust the height of your block or draw a deeper bend into your knees. Keep the navel drawing inward and up to support the low back. Exhale back to forward bend. Repeat a few times, as comfort allows. To move out of the pose, inhale soften the knees and gently rise up to standing. Exhale at center.
Lay on your back, knees bent and feet about hip distance apart on the mat. Draw the shoulders beneath you and with the inhale begin to gently lift the hips from the mat. Guide the block (on its lowest height) beneath the hips so your pelvis and sacrum are sweetly supported. Keep the navel drawing inward and the ankles, knees, and hips in line with each other. Breathe. To come out, gently lift the hips, remove the block, and slowly place the back body on the mat. Allow the knees to fall toward each other in restful awareness for 4 breaths.
Remember, the block is a tool, a helpful friend. It brings the floor closer, supports the body steadily, and creates a sense of ease in postures that may feel tense or out of reach. Embrace the block and feel your practice grow in new ways.