Block Party: 5 Relaxing Ways to Use A Yoga Block
I walked into my first yoga class and the teacher announced everyone would need two blocks and a strap.
With no background in yoga, and not knowing a single yogi, I had no clue what I was going to do with two blocks and a strap. Nevertheless, I picked out a purple set of blocks and a green strap and sat on my mat. Staring at them. As the class went on, I realized how necessary the props were. Using them enabled me to enhance my alignment and go deeper into postures that gave me a sense of wonder in my practice.
There is a stigma that if you use props, you’re not a real yogi. I want to discredit that right now and say that yoga props are a yogi’s best friend. The best yoga teachers I’ve ever had have always taught with props, mainly blocks. I am in deep gratitude for their teachings of the proper placements and techniques. So, I’m sharing with you 5 of the most relaxing and easiest ways that you can start using a yoga block.
1. Under the shoulder blades in resting pose
Begin by sitting with your spine straight and legs extended. Place a block directly under your shoulder blades and slowly recline onto the block. Adjust the block, if necessary, to align with the base of your scapulae. There should be no kinks in the neck and you should feel an opening along the thoracic spine and chest.
2. Under the thighs in reclined bound angle pose
Lie on the mat with your knees flexed and feet on the floor. Place a block at an angle on either side of your legs at the base of your hips. Slowly let your legs fall open as you come in a supported, reclined, bound angle pose. Adjust the block if necessary to support the legs.
3. Under the hips in bridge pose
Lie on the mat with your knees flexed and feet on the floor. Grab a block, slowly lift your hips, and place the block directly under your sits bones. The block should rest at the tip of your tailbone. You can adjust the height of the block by turning it on it’s side or even standing it up if that feels good!
4. Under the hips in child’s pose
Come into child’s pose and place a block just in between your feet. Relax your hips onto the block and feel the magic.
5. Under the forehead in seated bound angle pose (butterfly pose)
Come into bound angle pose by sitting on the mat with the soles of the feet together and knees turned out as if your legs were opening like a book. Place a block behind the soles of the feet and slowly begin to fold over your legs with your forehead resting on the block. You can choose the short edge, long edge, or flat side of the block for height, depending on how deep into the pose you’d like to go.
Of course, there are a million different ways to incorporate blocks into your practice. The above block placements are meant for reaching a deeper state of relaxation and ease after completing an intense class, or simply can be done on their own with no warm up necessary. If you haven’t cozied up with a block, strap, bolster, or blanket then I challenge you to pick one up at your next yoga class and try one of these 5 placements in your next savasana.
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