Blocks seem to be quite misunderstood. I walk around in classes that I teach seeing people with just 1 fingertip on the ground, wobbling back and forth, or hunched over just to try to hold the pose without a block.
Why make yourself struggle so much?
If only your finger tips reach the ground, you’re not really getting into the pose. That’s OK that you can’t place your hand flat on the floor, you just need to take advantage of props (the block). Maybe the pose is new to you, maybe your muscles are tight today, maybe your arm isn’t as long as the person next to you. There could be a number of reasons. It’s OK.
That’s when the block comes in handy. It brings the floor up to you! All of a sudden, the pose is easier, you can put your hand flat on the block, your shoulders open up, and you feel good in the pose.
Blocks have 3 different heights, so there is a place that will work for you. Maybe you start with the tall side, then after a while of practicing there, you switch to the medium side, and eventually get to the short side. Which ever side works for you today is the side to use. Each pose is different, so play around with which side to use and where to place the block.
The block isn’t a sign of weakness, it isn’t just for beginners, it’s just there when you need it. It can get you deeper into the pose, make the pose more accessible, and help you discover new places to take your practice.
Just to review, when to use a block:
- When only your finger tips reach the ground
- When you need a little more balance
- When you want a deeper stretch
What are some good poses to use the block in?
- Triangle – Place your block outside your front leg. You can twist open more, stack your shoulders and hips better.
- Seated forward fold – Can you reach your toes no problem? Place a block in front of your feet and stretch a few inches more.
- Half Moon (vinyasa style) – Place your block under your hand to find more stability, open your hips more, go deeper.
- Twisted Triangle – Helps to flatten your back and twist deeper when placed under your hand.
- Half Pigeon – Place under your hip of forward leg if your hips don’t touch the ground. This helps your hips stay square and helps you stay longer in pose, while still getting a great stretch.
So the next time you enter class, don’t be afraid to grab a block!
Blocks are friends, not enemies.