Yoga blocks are the most widely-used prop in the yoga prop arsenal. They became popular in the 1960s, thanks to the prop pioneer and master yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar. Do you use a block for your yoga practice? My guess is you do or have at some point in your yoga career.
Have you noticed there is no one-size-fits all yoga block anymore?
I say anymore, because when I started practicing yoga, I only saw one kind of yoga block. It was made of blue foam and looked like the blue block in the photo above. Now, blocks come in many colors, even multi-colors. (And it seems the most popular color, at least in the studios I frequent, is purple now instead of blue.)
These days, yoga blocks come in foam, bamboo, cork, and wood. There are small blocks, large blocks, and even wedges that look like blocks that have been sliced diagonally. There are firm yoga blocks, very firm yoga blocks, and somewhat squishy blocks. I’ve even seen blocks with clever cut-out designs.
So, what’s the difference—or is there a difference—among all these yoga blocks (sometimes called bricks)? Let’s look at a few of the options.
Cork blocks are quite a bit heavier than other types, making them more durable and able to support anyone’s full weight. Because they’re heavier, cork blocks are also great if you like to sit up on a block to meditate. They’re not as easy to use if you’re using them in certain poses for alignment, though. For example, if you want to hold a block between your thighs in bridge or chair pose, a lighter block may be a better option.
As mentioned, foam blocks are easier to use for alignment in poses like bridge or chair. They’re also easier to carry around in your yoga bag, since they’re lighter. Foam blocks tend to get scuffed or scratched easily, though that’s more of a cosmetic problem than a functional one. If you prefer foam blocks, consider that some are firmer than others. A firmer block might be easier on your wrist in poses like triangle or forward bends where you place the block between your hand (or hands) and the floor. Firm blocks also give you more stability in poses like half-moon.
Big and small yoga blocks
A standard-size block is usually 4” x 6” x 9”. You may prefer larger for some poses or styles of yoga. Smaller blocks may be more comfortable for smaller people and kids. You can also use smaller blocks when you only want a slight lift (for example, as a heart opener between your shoulder blades while lying on your back).
Sometimes a full block is too much. Wedges are great props for hip support in poses like pigeon or reclined bound angle pose (supta baddha konasana).
Wood yoga blocks
I’ll admit, I’m not sure why anyone chooses wood yoga blocks, just because I’ve never used one. If you have (or do), what do you like about it?
What else do you like (or not like) about the variety of yoga blocks on the market today? Have I left out the type you use? Tell us about it in the comments!