Adding yoga blocks to your yoga gear is a great way to invest in your practice while also taking care of your self! I am excited to share reasons for investing in blocks, clever and unique uses for yoga blocks, as well as, where you can find the right blocks for you.
With the start of the COVID19 pandemic, many yoga studios suspended the use of shared props or tools during class.
These tools can include blocks, blankets, bolsters, straps, chairs, and more. This meant that students could bring their own props to yoga class, but most studios generally could not provide props. Knowing that many students may not have their own props, I modified my yoga teaching style and even some of the poses I taught so that they could be practiced with or without the use of props and tools.
Almost 2 years later, a conversation with a fellow yoga teacher got me thinking differently. She shared that she brought her own props to class to demonstrate yoga poses. She also encourages students to bring their own props to class as frames this as an investment in their individual practice.
This conversation made me realize that I agree, investing in your practice is worthwhile and it’s something that I encourage yogis to prioritize.
As a yoga practitioner, think of all the ways you may already be investing in your yoga practice. Have you purchased class or membership packages at your favorite studio? How much time and energy are you investing in attending yoga classes? Have you invested in a good quality yoga mat and comfortable yoga clothes? These are all worthy investments because they enable you to continue your practice. So much has changed in the past couple of years. It’s time to think consciously about what it means to truly invest in your yoga practice.
While many students bring their props to practice, I’ve noticed that most come with only their yoga mat. While there is nothing wrong with that, investing in yoga props can not only enhance your practice, they can also come in handy in unexpected ways. In this post, I will explore different ways to invest in your practice with blocks, my favorite props!
While there are many different types of blocks,
I am going to focus on what I have noticed are the most commonly used blocks at most yoga studios.
These are 5-inch foam blocks. I love foam blocks because they are firm yet soft. They also offer stabilizing support without applying too much pressure on the body.
Many yogis know how useful blocks are for yoga practice. Blocks offer support and access to yoga poses that may not be accessible otherwise. They can also offer restoration for the body in yoga poses such as supported fish pose and supported bridge pose. But did you know that blocks offer many uses off the mat as well? Here are some unexpected uses for blocks that will make you wonder how you ever lived without them.
- Movie Night! I love getting cozy at night and watching a movie with my family. There are several ways blocks come in handy here.
- Supported Fish Pose at home: When my shoulders, neck or upper back feel sore, I love to set up a supportive fish pose in the living room while watching TV with the family. Using two blocks, set the first block medium height. The second one will be vertical. Lie back so the bottom of the first block is just about underneath your shoulder blades. Rest your head on the second block. Take your time to adjust the blocks so that you feel comfortable. Stay as long as you like.
- Supported Bridge Pose at home: Just like supported fish pose, when my low back feels tight or sore, I set up a supported bridge pose using 1 block at any height to help me find some relief. Using one block, set it up at any height you desire. If unsure, start with low or medium height. Lie back so that your tailbone, or sacrum, rests on the block. Avoid resting your lumbar spine on the block but feel free to adjust so that you feel comfortable. Stay as long as you like.
- Projector Stand: If you are using a projector to broadcast your movie, stacking a few blocks on top of one another makes a great stand.
- Work It: Many of us who traditionally worked in an office setting are now working from home and that changes a lot of things. Here are a few ways that blocks can help with this!
- Laptop stand: Currently, I am participating in a 300-hour YTT and we spend much of the time sitting on the floor. I bring my laptop to take notes. I find using two blocks stacked on top of each other makes a perfect stand for my laptop.
- Desk stand: If you need your desk to be higher up, you can place a block flat underneath each leg of the desk to help you keep a healthier posture while working.
- Foot Rest: If you sit at a desk and need to create a more comfortable and sustainable sitting position, consider placing blocks under your desk as foot rests.
- Self Care: Using blocks in yoga practice is a form of self-care. Supported bridge and supported fish pose are examples of restorative postures. But, it doesn’t stop there!
- Self Massage: Blocks can also be used for self massage! A block is a great platform for a head & neck massage. Laying down on the floor with your knees bent, you can place the block on its lowest setting, horizontally under your head, on your occipital bone, the lowest part of your skull on the back of your head. Experiment with moving your head slowly side to side, gently shaking your head “yes” and “no” and feel free to explore the sensations.
- Prop tip! If you want to integrate an additional prop, you can try using therapy balls to deepen the neck/head massage. Set your block flat on the ground and, keeping the therapy balls in their tote bags, place them on the block. Next, lie back with your knees bent. Then, bring your head to the block and, using your legs, gently roll up and down the mat, allowing the balls to massage your neck and occipital bone. You can find therapy balls in many yoga studios or simply search for “Therapy Balls” online.
Foam blocks are quite accessible for purchase as they range in price and quality and with all their great uses, it’s hard to think of a reason not to own a pair. You can find yoga blocks at most department stores or home goods stores. Also, most yoga studios sell blocks in their retail boutique. Two of my favorite places to purchase blocks are Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga and Pier to Point Yoga and Wellness Center.
There are a range of block options out there. Some are made from foam, while others are made from cork or solid wood. While these varying styles come with varying prices, consider buying used blocks or bartering with a friend.
Some sustainable and budget friendly places to buy used blocks:
- Facebook Marketplace: https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/sandiego/yoga-blocks/
- OfferUp Local Pickup
- Your local thrift store or sports resale store like Play It Again Sports (La Mesa and Pacific Beach Locations)
- Ask your favorite studio, they might be upgrading their in-studio props and selling or donating their blocks!
I hope this information will inspire you to invest in your practice with a set of blocks that works for your practice.
Can you think of any clever uses for blocks? Do you have a favorite place to buy blocks that we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments!
Meet SDYN Contributor, Yesica Rodriguez! Yesica is a San Diego-based yoga teacher and journalist. Yesica teaches many styles but specializes in supporting pregnant women through yoga. She also is a musician and incorporates her musical talents in her offerings.
Check out Yesica’s offerings: www.yesyogalove.com
- Mondays, 10:00am Gentle Yoga Pilgrimage of the Heart. $25 dollar drop-in or 2 weeks for $25
- Wednesdays, 12:00pm All Levels Yoga at Pilgrimage of the Heart
Starting in May
- Wednesdays 5:30pm Prenatal Yoga at Pilgrimage of the Heart (5 class series, register at www.yesyogalove.com)
- October 2022 Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training at Pier to Point Wellness (register at www.yesyogalove.com/teacher-training)
Yesica is also available for private and semi-private yoga classes! Sign up on her website: www.yesyogalove.com