How to use yoga blocks for stretching

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned yogi, one of the most popular accessories teachers and students gravitate toward is the yoga block.

Do you need them?

I would say yes. Yoga blocks are a great way to help you learn a new pose, help with proper alignment and help you with a deeper stretch.

how to use yoga blocks for stretching

Blocks have a purpose for all fitness levels.

Not everyone is flexible enough to touch their toes or bend their bodies easily. However, yoga blocks can help modify poses and reduce the distance between you and the floor. They can help you with your daily stretching.

I am not the most flexible person and yoga blocks have been my lifesaver. I bought a set of foam yoga blocks for home so I didn’t have to wait until I was at the gym or in the yoga studio.

Why should you use yoga blocks?

Yoga blocks are yoga props to help you improve your stretching and yoga practice. Here are a few things they help you with:

  • Get deeper into poses: By integrating yoga blocks into your yoga practice, it can help you with common poses and your range of motion.
  • Proper alignment: As you use your yoga blocks, your core strength and the flexibility your body needs to hold poses properly will continue to grow. You can adjust the height of the yoga block accordingly until you no longer need it.
  • Adds support: Yoga blocks are useful for improving your balance and building strength for more advanced positions.
  • Adds length: One of the most straightforward functions of the yoga block is to decrease the distance between you and the ground which wil help you modify yoga poses to match your level of flexibility.

Different types of block materials

  • Foam blocks: These are softer and lighter than cork and wood types. They might be more comfortable in some restorative poses because they are softer than other types of blocks.
  • Cork blocks: They are lightweight and more eco-friendly than wood. They also provide more stability,
  • Wooden blocks: They are usually made from bamboo. They last for a long time and are very sturdy.

How to use yoga blocks in different poses

Yoga blocks can be used in different ways. Pretty much anytime your hands are unable to touch the ground in a pose, it could be good to use yoga blocks.

How to use yoga blocks for stretching will depend on your flexibility and strength. Some poses you may need the block on its tallest side and for others you might not need it at all.

Standing poses

Standing forward fold

When you have tight hamstrings in the standing forward fold and are struggling to touch your hands to the ground, your back naturally curls which keeps you from getting the benefits of the pose. Blocks give you extra support so you can keep the spine long as you bend forward from the hips.

How to use blocks: Stand on the top of the block and let your body relax with forward bends.

Wide-legged standing forward fold

Stand with your legs further than shoulder-width apart. Bend forward letting your back relax as you reach for the ground.

How to use blocks: Use two blocks under your hands to keep the spine long as you bend forward.

Extended side angle

Place your hand on the block inside or outside the front foot.

How to use blocks: You can start with the highest setting of the block and turn it to different sides to lower it as you gain more flexibility so that eventually you might be able to place your hand on the yoga mat.

Downward facing dog

How to use blocks: Place a yoga block under each hand for this stretch. This helps release pressure from your shoulder blades and wrists, which allows you to focus on maximizing the length in your spine.

Pyramid pose

Using the blocks helps to keep the length in your upper body as you bend over the front leg.

How to use blocks: Place blocks under each hand while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. Start with the blocks at the tallest height and in time you will be able to move to lowest height.

Yogi squat

Tight hip flexors might prevent you from sitting deep into this challenging pose. You can gently push on the inside of your knees with your elbows deepening the stretch

How to use blocks: Try sitting on a block for added support.

Lunges

You can keep your hands on the blocks in different lunge pose variations – Low Lunge and High Lunge – if your hands don’t reach the floor comfortably.

How to use blocks: Place a block under each hand, at any height, to give your arms length which will allow you to lengthen your spine, lunge deeper and open your chest more.

Seated poses

Pigeon pose

How to use blocks: Place a block under your hip if it is lifted too far off the ground and prevents you from keeping hips on the same level. This will help with your tight hips which are keeping your WHAT

Seated forward bend

This pose offers a stretch to the entire back of the body. Bend at your hips, not your waist, and keep your neck aligned with your spine.

How to use blocks: Sit on the edge of a yoga block to help you with your stretch to reach your feet. A yoga strap is also a great tool to help you with this stretch.

Reclined knees to chest on block

How to use blocks: Place a yoga block under the small of your back to help you release the pressure.

Frog stretch

woman using yoga blocks in a frog variation

This is a basic stretch for your hips and inner thighs.

How to use blocks: One variation is to place a yoga block under one knee. You should feel the stretch deepen on one side. Actively press your elevated knee for 45-60 seconds and repeat with the other knee.

Stretching tips

  • Always focus on form before depth.
  • Actively stretch for 30-60 seconds in each pose. Think about which muscles you are engaging and push just a little past your level of comfort.
  • Focus on breathing. As you pay attention to your breath, you will be able to relax more.
  • You will see improvements in flexibility the more time you spend stretching each week

How many yoga blocks do I need?

The short answer is two. While many poses only require one, having an additional block is ideal for poses where your hands are on the ground (in this case your blocks), plus a second block is great for stacking.

How often do you spend stretching?

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