Yoga props – there’s quite a bit to choose from and they can be quite confusing too.
Depending on the style of yoga that’s practiced and the studio it’s practiced in, some people might not utilize any props.
And that’s okay.
But what everyone should know is: how to use these tools.
Just like any prop in the world, a yoga prop’s purpose is to help aid in the process, making the asana more attainable and ultimately more enjoyable.
If I had to choose one prop for the rest of my yoga life (a bit dramatic), it would definitely be a YOGA BLOCK.
Without a doubt, a block is one of the most helpful and easy to work with props. Here’s some of the many benefits of these lightweight, inexpensive, rectangular shaped things.
- As said above: lightweight and inexpensive.
- Can be purchased at many major retailers: Target, Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls
- Can be incorporated into almost any posture.
- Helps bring the floor up to you.
- Aids in creating extension and length.
Below are 8 ways to use this awesome prop.
The options are literally endless so please use this to inspire your personal practice and don’t forget to grab a block next time!
1. Supine Heart Opener
This is a great position to start or end a practice or to do after a day’s work of computering. I computer all damn day at my job so this posture is super helpful to open the chest, let the shoulders relax, and reverse a day’s worth of hunching forward.
How to use:
- As the picture shows above, this posture requires two blocks or something to prop the head up.
- Place the block horizontally underneath the back – lining the block up with your would be bra strap. Sorry boys, use your imagination for where that might be.
- Rest the head either on a block, pillow, or anything that’s supportive.
- Let shoulders completely melt down towards the ground and keep palms facing up.
- Legs can be straight out or in supta baddha konasana position (soles of the feet together & knees out wide).
- Stay here as long as your heart desires.
2. Downward Facing Dog
(Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward facing dog is one the fundamental postures of any yoga practice. It’s taught and practiced in every style and serves many important purposes. Read more about this posture – here. If alignment or placement of the hands is a concern of yours, a block is here to save the day!
How to use:
- Place block between hands on the shortest height.
- The thumb and pointer finger will be framing the block, making an L shape with your hands.
- Perform downward facing dog as normal but keep the hands connected to the block.
- Notice if this feels different from your typical pattern or if it helps engage any additional muscles.
For me, the block helps engage my upper arms and lats. It’s a big adjustment and something I need to work on more regularly.
3. Hero Pose
Oh this posture, it’s always a struggle for me. As someone who has sensitive knees, I ALWAYS place a block underneath my bum in this pose. It will immediately take pressure off the knees, help lengthen the spine, and it’s just so much more comfortable. Trust me on this one!
How to use:
- Find a comfortable seat on the ground.
- Fold knees underneath the body and send the booty back over the heels.
- Place the block right underneath the booty and in between the feet. I prefer the block on the second height for this posture but it can easily be on the shortest height. Your call.
- Sit up tall – keep length in the spine, gently engage the core to support the low back, keep length in the back of the neck, slightly tuck the chin, and then SMILE!
- If practicing meditation, this a great position. Bring hands down to the thighs if staying for a long period of time.
4. Pyramid Pose
Pyramid pose is such a serious stretch, you will feel it immediately! If working towards flexibility in the legs and hips, a block will become your best friend here. The key to this posture is allowing the head and neck to completely relax while the legs and outer hips are releasing (or trying to release).
How to use:
- This is one of those instances where the block is bringing the floor up to you. Take advantage of it!
- Place the block in front of whichever foot is forward and on whatever height is necessary to reach it.
- As you stay in the posture, consider bringing the block down to a lower height or removing it all together.
- Try to stay for 5 – 10 deep breaths and continue to melt the chest down towards the front leg.
5. Revolved Triangle
Both regular and revolved triangle are awesome opportunities to incorporate the block. It’s common for yogis to think they’re getting the full stretch when in reality, a block will help find greater extension, length, and openness in the body.
How to use:
- Place the block either on the inside or outside of the foot that is forward. The outside of the foot will be a deeper stretch.
- Decide what height the block should be depending on personal flexibility.
- Plant the hand into the block and use the connection to create balance, stability, and find a deeper twisting action.
6. Half Moon
Half moon is an intermediate posture that is often seen in vinyasa/ power flow style classes. Incorporating a block into this pose will greatly help both new and seasoned practitioners.
How to use:
- Decide which height is best for your personal practice. I prefer it on the 2nd height.
- The hand should be 6 – 12 inches in front of the standing foot and slightly to corner of the mat. In this case, it would be my left hand and it’s slightly towards the left corner of the mat.
- Use the block to extend up and out of the shoulder, don’t place all of the weight into the hand. It’s there as a guide only.
- Keep lengthening both sides of the body and rotating the hips open.
- The key to half moon pose: the stronger and engaged both legs are, the easier it is to balance and open the body.
7. Forearm Balance
For yogis attempting to learn this posture, it’s incredibly important to have strength in the shoulders. You will quickly notice how easy it is to collapse in the shoulders which causes the entire body to lose alignment. Alignment is the most important component of inversions. Think of the body like Legos, each piece stacking upon one another, building a strong and stable foundation. That’s inversions – human Legos!
How to use:
- Place the block between the hands, same process as downward facing dog up above.
- The thumb and pointer fingers will wrap around the block creating an L shape.
- As you kick up, stay connected to the block the entire time. This hugging in of the block helps the elbows to stay in towards the body and keep the shoulders engaged and lifted.
8. Supported Bridge Pose
Yummmmmm. Just looking at this photo makes me feel relaxed. This posture + the block = absolute heaven. It’s so incredibly supportive, you’ll never want to do a full bridge pose again. Well maybe not never, but this variation will have you thinking twice.
How to use:
- Prepare for bridge pose as normal: heels in towards the booty and arms down by the side with palms facing up.
- Lift the hips towards the sky and place the block directly under the sacrum. It might take a few adjustments to find that sweet spot. Adjust away friends!
- Keep the back of the neck long and gently close the eyes.
- Let the body completely open up and relax down.
Blocks + yogi = best friends forever!
Now that you know how to use this awesome prop, please incorporate it into your practice. Regardless of whether the teacher or class style requires a block or not, take charge of your practice and body.
I know there’s many, many, many ways to use a block so please share below in the comments! I’d love to hear your personal favorites.
Hey! I’m Allie.
I’m a self-growth student, freedom-seeker, yoga teacher and the founder of a tight-knit online yoga community: the Body Mind Soul Studio. I’m here to teach you how to transform your life on-and-off-the-mat with a holistic yoga practice.
I wanna learn it all!
The Yoga Reset Guide is my FREE 7-step journey to deepen your practice and recenter your body, mind and soul. Self-paced, no equipment necessary, perfect for beginners AND veteran yogis.