RubmdFitnessYoga Blocks Magic: Achieve Perfect Alignment & Balance

Yoga Blocks Magic: Achieve Perfect Alignment & Balance

My purpose of writing this content is to provide a comprehensive guide on yoga blocks, which are simple yet powerful props used in yoga practice. The article aims to educate readers, both beginners and experienced yogis, about the benefits of using yoga blocks and how they can enhance their yoga practice.

Yoga blocks are a simple yet powerful yoga prop used to help improve alignment, facilitate relaxation and help deepen your poses. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced yogi, yoga blocks can enhance your practice in many ways. We’ll explore everything you need to know about yoga blocks, from what they are to how to use them effectively.

What are Yoga Blocks?

Yoga blocks are solid rectangular blocks, made from wood, cork or foam, that are positioned strategically to offer support in different yoga poses. By providing lift, yoga blocks allow you to safely stretch deeper into poses while helping reinforce proper alignment in areas that otherwise might collapse or over stretch.

Through offering stability, blocks also help practitioners relax into poses by reducing strain and tension. They come in a variety of sizes and materials to suit different needs and preferences. Standard sizes are approximately 4 inches x 6 inches x 9 inches or 3 inches x 6 inches x 9 inches. However you can also find variations like half-size or larger jumbo blocks.

Benefits of Using Yoga Blocks

There are many reasons why top instructors and yoga practitioners alike incorporate blocks into their practices:

Improves Alignment & Stability

Blocks placed under key points like the hands or feet can help square your body into optimal alignment for different poses. By highlighting imbalances, blocks reinforce correct form which protects joints from excess strain or compression. They also provide increased stability to help you stretch deeper and hold poses longer.

Allows Safe Modifications

Those with limited mobility or injury can use blocks to help reduce weight placed on sensitive areas. Blocks offer easier access modifications to make poses more achievable without sacrificing reinforcement of proper technique.

Deepens Flexibility

By decreasing tension, props help release tight areas for increased range of motion. The support of blocks can allow you to gently relax into poses, creating space to open tight joints and muscles. They are great for avoiding over-stretching by providing a foundation to micro-progressively deepen stretches over time.

Enhances Comfort

The increased stability and lift that blocks offer helps take pressure off restricted areas to feel more at ease in poses. By alleviating strain and discomfort, blocks create space to relax, breathe and focus inward.

Assists with Balance

Blocks can serve as a tactile focal point to steady you in precarious balancing postures. They are particularly useful when learning challenging arm balances like Crow Pose by helping push weight forward as a counterbalance aid.

How to Choose Yoga Blocks

With a plethora of varieties available today, choosing the right yoga block largely comes down to personal preference for material, size and shape. However, certain key factors can help determine which option best suits your practice needs:


Common yoga block materials include:

Wood Hard wood blocks with a lacquered finish provides superb stability. Best option for balance poses but can lack cushioning comfort.
Cork Lightweight cork blocks offer some cushion while remaining sturdy for good support. Tend to be softer than wood but firmer than foam.
Foam Foam is typically the most lightweight and cushioned option. Easy to compress makes them comfortable yet less stable than firmer alternatives. Best for relaxation and restorative practices.
Bamboo An eco-friendly option, bamboo blocks have similar sturdiness to wood but with a bit more give. Often come unfinished requiring an occasional rub down of protective oil.

When choosing material, firmer woods and corks work best for alignment, balance and weight-baring poses while softer foam options excel for comfort and relaxation. Bamboo strikes a nice balance in between. Those with limited mobility may opt for extra cushioning while healthy bodies do fine on sturdier supports.


Standard yoga block sizes include:

Standard 9 x 6 x 4 inches – Best for average height/build practitioners with good mobility
Half 6 x 6 x 3 inches – Ideal for smaller frames or use in tight spaces
Jumbo 9 x 8 x 4 inches – Great for larger body types that need more lift
Rectangular 9 x 6 x 6 inches – Favored for restorative poses lying lengthwise
Wedge Angled slope on one side – Useful to increase elevation in select poses

If you’re average height/build, the standard block size should meet most needs. Smaller and larger frames may opt for half or jumbo sizing respectively. Wedge and rectangular shapes allow more specialized support shape variations.

Those newer to props may want to start with one standard size foam block. As you progress in your practice, consider adding firmer blocks, half blocks or wedge shapes to allow more advanced customization.

How to Use Blocks in 7 Common Yoga Poses

Once you have your blocks, let’s explore how you can put them to use in some foundational yoga postures. The following examples showcase how blocks enhance alignment, stability and flexibility within these common positions:

1. Downward Facing Dog

Placing a block under each hand helps distribute weight to relax shoulders while pressing into palms to lengthen spine. This allows chest to passively release toward thighs while sending hips up and back to deepen the stretch.

2. Low Lunge

Positioning the back knee on a block decreases compression allowing hips to sink deeper as front thigh stretches long. The lift reinforces stacked shoulders over hips to prevent collapsing into the front knee.

3. Pigeon Pose

Place the shin of your front leg parallel onto a block while folding forward to keep hips squared as you hinge from the rear hip crease. This prevents the front hip from splaying open while enabling a deeper torso fold.

4. Bridge Pose

Supporting the sacrum with a block eliminates overarching the low back allowing you to open the chest freely while keeping naval drawn in. Hands can remain actively pressed to steadily lift the torso higher.

5. Revolved Triangle Pose

A block tucked between the bottom thigh and calf catches the back knee to reinforce external rotation. Meanwhile the front hand can press into another block on the floor maintaining space across the collar bones as the torso twists open.

6. Wide Leg Forward Fold

Feet wider than hips help open the groins while a block distributes weight between hamstrings enabling a decompression of the low spine. Placing blocks under forearms reinforces a straight back to prevent rounding.

7. Supported Fish Pose

Blocks stacked two high behind upper back allow thoracic arch as you let head release while drawing frontal ribs inward. Knees can bend to ease low back if needed while chest lifts toward the ceiling.

Playing with blocks within basic poses allows you to actively reinforce optimal alignment while encouraging targeted release and flexibility gains over time. As you discover how blocks might enhance and evolve your own regular postures, take care to listen deeply to your body, moving slowly and without pain.

Beginner Tips for Using Yoga Blocks

If you find props intimidating as a newer student, you’re not alone! Here are some useful tips for comfortably incorporating blocks as a beginner:

  • Start Simple – Choose just one single standard size foam block and explore using it to assist alignment in foundational poses at first.
  • Get Centered – Place blocks directly under the midpoint of key joints like shoulders, wrists, sacrum and sit bones to provide symmetrical centered support.
  • Tune Inward – Moving too quickly with props can distract technique. Go slow allowing blocks to highlight imbalances while you tune inward to your breath and bodily sensations.
  • Ask Questions – Don’t know how to best use a block in a particular pose? Ask your instructor for personalized recommendations to enhance your experience.
  • Only Lift As High As Needed – Find the minimum block height necessary to attain desired relief and alignment then engage muscularly through your foundation.
  • Maintain Activation – Avoid relying too heavily on props by continuing to draw strength into your core and foundation while using blocks for targeted opening.

Advanced Block Techniques & Uses

As you progress in utilizing blocks more, you’ll discover an increasing array of benefits blocks offer through specialized placement and creative applications including:

Micro-Progression SupportUse graduating layers of folding blankets on top of blocks to incrementally increase depth overtime in poses like Pigeon requiring gradual opening.
Targeted Spot ReleasePlace blocks under specific areas of discomfort like sacrum, shoulder blades or sit bones during long holds in restorative postures to alleviate strain.
Tactile Focal PointsUse blocks as balancing aids by pressing down through the palms, engaging core and gazing towards blocks to steady wobbly postures requiring concentration.
Range of Motion ExpansionStrategically support joints midrange with blocks while actively stretching periphery limbs. For example, placing wrists on blocks in backbend over a stability ball frees chest expansion.
Sturdy Foundation BuildingStack blocks in configurations for use like a bolster allowing lengthwise torso support. Or use two parallel blocks under shoulders or sacrum for solid stable platforms.

As you discover more options through getting creative, keep listening to your body carefully while incorporating blocks slowly into more challenging poses over time.

Blocks vs Alternate Yoga Props

While blocks offer huge benefits, you can also utilize other common yoga props in similar supportive ways. Let’s compare pros and cons of blocks vs some popular alternatives:

Yoga Bolsters

Sturdy cylindrical bolsters provide stable lengthwise support for backbends and supine postures. More versital overall, bolsters lack the precise adjustability of block height and easy storage though.

Yoga Straps

Offering differing tension and assisted stretching applications, straps don’t provide actual lift. Better for pulling limbs nearer their foundation vs blocks more useful for propping limbs up from underneath.


Dense supple sandbags provide both firmness and moldability for creative comfort. Quickly shift shape as needed but excess sand can leak out over time so must be handled more carefully.

Folding Blankets

Easy to stash versatile cotton blankets have similar benefits to foam blocks. Bulkier to haul around and layer though lacking blocks’ sturdy squat shape.

For most needs, blocks strike the best balance of adjustability, versatility and easy portability. But exploring how alternate props can complement blocks helps round out your toolkit enabling further customization.

Proper Block Care & Maintenance

Like any frequently handled items, yoga blocks benefit from simple occasional care for longevity:

  • Inspect Often – Periodically check all surfaces for dents, cracks, fading or damage needing monitoring. Retire blocks with considerable wear compromising integrity.
  • Clean Regularly – Give blocks a periodic wipe down with gentle soap and water using minimal liquid to prevent porous absorption issues over time. Allow thorough drying before storing.
  • Oil Wooden Blocks – Every month or two, rub a tiny coat of food grade mineral oil into your wood blocks to maintain protective seal and luster.
  • Avoid Heat/Moisture – Don’t place blocks near extreme temperature, moisture or direct sunlight which could compromise glues or warp materials.

With occasional inspection and cleaning, most quality blocks should provide years of reliable usage.

Discovering Your Ideal Blocks for Practice

With so many varieties of yoga blocks available today, the best way narrow your options is focusing on your distinct needs and preferences.

Consider your main practice goals, areas needing the most support and what feeling best facilitates your mental focus. For example, does stability help reinforce technique or is cushioning key for you to relax into poses? Do you prefer lightweight portability or densities giving confident feedback underhand?

Ask to try your teacher’s blocks or friends’ varieties to test what resonates before purchasing. And when first investing, start with one standard size higher quality block made of sturdier wood, cork or bamboo materials.

This allows evaluating if you prefer firmer vs softer props without over-committing upfront. Over time you can build up a personalized collection of blocks and block alternatives offering exact customization for your evolving practice needs.

The right blocks become natural extensions of your hands. With mindful use, blocks help facilitate the journey inward, equipping your body to open safely so your spirit may transcend limiting beliefs about possibility.


Yoga blocks are simple yet magistral tools that allow both beginners and advanced practitioners to explore poses more safely while enhancing alignment and Range of motion. Choosing blocks sized and crafted of materials suiting your needs helps tailor support. Strategic placement highlights imbalances bringing increased body awareness over time.

Allow blocks to create ease while remaining attentively active, moving slowly without pain while enabling fluid progression. Whether assisting recovery, reinforcing technique or deepening stretches blocks help remove limitations so we may discover liberation through mindful movement. When incorporated skillfully blocks help you transcend fears around capability, equipping your practice to evolve organically.

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Dr. Preeti (Fitness Geek)
Dr. Preeti (Fitness Geek)
M.Sc. - Home Science (Food & Nutrition), Therapist, Dietitian and Weight Management consultant, actively practicing for 17 years.

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