Yoga blocks are the Swiss army knives of the yoga world. You can do so much with this them, that you will definitely not regret the (very small) investment. At 4 inches x 9 inches x 6 inches, they basically look like slightly bigger and very lightweight bricks. But like the most inventive tools out there, the simplicity of their design is what makes then so perfect for almost anything related to your yoga practice. Here are some ways anyone, from yoga beginners to yoga pros, can use yoga blocks.
Support Tight Hips and Knees
One way to use a yoga block is to sit on one (or two) during poses that require your sit bones to be on the mat. Examples are Hero Pose (Virasana) or Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana). Men especially have tight hips, so stacking one or two blocks on top of each other so that you don't injure yourself trying to force your sit bones down is perfectly acceptable. Even yoga teachers do this. Moreover, if you feel tension in your knees during seated poses that require your knees to touch the mat (such as Head-to-Knee Forward Bend) or even during poses where you are meant to be in a simple sitting position, yoga blocks can really help.
Help Find Your Balance in Standing Poses
Beginners can have a particularly difficult time finding their balance in standing hands-to-floor poses. Even for seasoned practitioners there are always days that feel a bit more off-kilter and uncentered than usual. Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) is a particularly difficult pose that requires you to have one arm on the ground, and one leg parallel to the mat, while opening the front side of your body, gazing at your opposite arm lifted straight up above you. Use a yoga block as a short cut to the floor. Also, if your can't get your head to touch the floor in Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana), you can put the yoga block on the floor to add height.
Add Extra Length
If you are extra flexible and can touch your toes, or even bind your hands and wrists around your feet in Seated Forward Bends (Paschimottanasanas), you can use a block to extend your reach and challenge yourself. By placing the wide side of the block against the soles of your feet, you add extra length. If even that isn't enough, you can vary the angles to the 6- or 9- inch dimensions.
To Fine Tune Your Poses
A block can be placed in between the thighs to ensure that the legs are properly aligned in poses like Bridge Pose (Setu Bandasana) or Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), where the tendency is for your legs to splay out to the sides. It can even be used in more basic poses like Plank Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana) and Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) to make sure that the legs are active at all times.
There are many more uses of a yoga block. For a lightweight rectangular cube, it is a surprisingly useful piece of yoga equipment. Beginners and pros alike can benefit from the extra help a yoga block can provide. Try it out!