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  • Writer's pictureshannonkyeager

Ways to Use Blocks to Make Yoga More Accessible

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Learn how to use blocks in yoga to improve mobility, reduce tension, strengthen muscles and deepen your practice.



Whether it’s your first time on the mat or you practice yoga daily, blocks can be helpful tools to release tension, deepen postures and engage your muscles.

It’s a common assumption that blocks are best for beginners, but I’ve been practicing yoga consistently for 12 years and I consider these versatile props an essential part of my practice. They can be used to:

  • Elevate the ground when you are folding or stretching

  • Assist in proper form and alignment

  • Reduce tension in your muscles and joints, especially in your neck, wrists, hips and knees

  • Stabilize and engage the muscles in your shoulders, arms and inner thighs

  • Support a broader range of motion

  • Make poses more accessible, especially if you are recovering from an injury


Blocks (also called bricks) are made from foam, cork or wood. Foam blocks provide the most comfort and are lightweight so you can bring them with you easily. Cork blocks are heavier, which can add an extra challenge to your practice. They provide more stability and grip and they are made from natural materials. Wood blocks were one of the first types of blocks used in classes, but they are less common today.


Blocks can be placed on the low, medium or highest height depending on the posture and how your body is feeling that day. If you aren’t sure where to start, try different types of blocks. Begin on the lowest height and work your way up. There is no “one size fits all” so explore variations that allow you to find the most ease and maintain a steady flow of breath.

Are you ready to transform your yoga practice with blocks? I put together a 15-minute video with some of my favorite ways to use blocks in common yoga poses. I encourage you to approach each pose in the video with a sense of curiosity. Use it as an opportunity to play with different block positions and heights. You can adjust the blocks as needed to find what feels best for you. Make sure you are cleared by a doctor before exercising.



You can read more about the poses, suggested block placement and benefits below.


Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

  • Stand with your feet firmly rooted on the ground and toes pointing forward

  • Slide a block in between your thighs on the narrowest width and squeeze the block

  • Take another block and hold it in between your hands on the widest width

  • Inhale and lift your arms up over your head. Hug your ribs in and slide your shoulders away from your ears

  • Exhale and lower your arms so they are parallel to the floor

  • Continue to lift and lower your arms 3-5 times

  • Benefit: Activate your inner thigh muscles, engage your arm muscles and improve shoulder mobility


Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

  • Start from mountain pose (tadasana) with a block in between your thighs and a block in between your hands

  • Lift your arms up over your head. Hug your ribs in and slide your shoulders away from your ears

  • Bend your knees and sit your hips back

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Benefit: Activate your inner thigh muscles and engage your shoulders


Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

  • With a block in between your thighs, fold forward from your hips

  • Place another block on the ground and rest your hands on the block

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Benefit: Keep your leg muscles engaged and elevate the ground to ease tension in your hamstrings


Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  • Place two blocks underneath your hands on the lowest height

  • Walk your feet back and lift your hips up toward the ceiling. Stretch your spine long

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Benefit: Elevate the ground, provide cushion for your hands and reduce pressure on your wrists


Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

  • Step your right foot forward in between your hands

  • Place a block on the inside of your right foot. The block can be on the lowest, middle or highest height

  • Ground your back heel down and align the outer edge of your foot with the back side of your mat

  • Bend your right knee and align your knee over your ankle

  • Place your right hand on the block

  • Rotate open from the mid-part of your spine and lift your left arm toward the ceiling

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Repeat on the second side

  • Benefit: Elevate the ground to keep your torso aligned


Triangle (Trikonasana)

  • From side angle pose (utthita parsvakonasana) with your right leg forward, move the block to the outside of your front foot. The block can be on the lowest, middle or highest height

  • Place your right hand on the block

  • Straighten your front leg

  • Rotate open from the mid-part of your spine and lift your left arm toward the ceiling

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Repeat on the second side

  • Benefit: Elevate the ground to keep your torso aligned


Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

  • Begin on all fours in a table top position (bharmanasana) with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees

  • Move your right knee toward your right wrist

  • Lay the lower part of your leg on the mat with your right heel somewhere in front of your left hip. Find a comfortable position between a 45 degree and 90 degree angle

  • Extend your left leg straight back behind you. Rest the top of your foot on the mat

  • Slide a block underneath your right sitting bone on the lowest height

  • Lengthen through your spine and chest. Then begin to fold forward. Place another block underneath your head on the lowest, middle or highest height

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Repeat on the second side

  • Benefit: elevate the ground, level the angle of your hips, reduce pressure on the hip and knee and relax your neck


Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

  • Lay on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the ground hip width apart

  • Place a block in between your thighs on the narrowest width

  • Lift your hips up and place another block underneath your sacrum for a more restorative variation

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Benefit: Engage your inner thighs and release tension in your glutes


Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

  • Lay on your back, touch the soles of your feet together and let your knees open to the sides

  • Place a block underneath each knee

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Benefit: Release tension in your hips


I hope using blocks helps you find more comfort and space in your practice. You may even feel inspired to use blocks in other yoga poses. Leave me a comment or send me a message and let me know how blocks have helped your yoga journey.


With gratitude,

Shannon

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