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5 Ways to Use Yoga and Pilates Blocks to Improve Your Practice
Have you ever tried using yoga and pilates blocks to enhance your yoga practice? Often overlooked and underutilized, these versatile props are easy to use and can make a big difference in your practice, particularly if you’re looking to open up your hips, improve your balance, or reduce the chance of injury while doing yoga or pilates.
Before we get to the five ways to use yoga and pilates blocks in your daily practice; let’s see if you actually need blocks for yoga and pilates.
Do you need blocks for Yoga & Pilates?
Most yoga classes at gyms, yoga studios, or fitness centers use blocks as props for poses, like Child’s Pose, Cobra, and Dancer’s Pose.
They help us align our bodies correctly for safe practice by providing a stable base for our hands or feet (or both) in certain challenging poses. But there are some misconceptions about blocks—they aren’t an easy way out of doing a challenging pose correctly, nor do they always equal safety.
When we rely on blocks instead of practicing with good alignment and focus in a pose, we end up not getting all of the benefits that using them was supposed to give us! It can be difficult to decide when it’s appropriate or necessary to use a block during your practice.
The fact is, blocks come in handy for many people, even when they’re perfectly capable of practicing a pose without them.
For example, using a block can be useful when you have an injury or specific condition that makes it difficult to execute some poses with proper alignment.
Using a block can also help new practitioners learn correct alignment in poses where it might be hard to feel exactly how your body should be positioned.
As you gain more experience with yoga and pilates, there are also certain times where you may want to use a block so you can transition into or out of certain poses more easily. So how do you know if it’s appropriate for your practice?
Here are five awesome exercises you can do with a block!
5 Exercises You Can Do With a Block
1) Down dog with blocks
Lengthen your spine, strengthen your core and take your traditional Downward Facing Dog to a new level with Yoga and Pilates Blocks.
Yoga and Pilates are two of our favorite forms of exercise that both focus on flexibility, balance, and strength.
But in some positions, it can be hard to stay in a position without having proper support or backup. Try adding blocks to certain yoga and pilates positions to help the effectiveness of your routine!
2) Block Squat
Yoga and Pilates blocks are versatile tools that can help you hone many poses. Block Squat is a yoga pose for intermediate to advanced practitioners, with a strengthening focus on building core strength and flexibility.
Sit on your block (or even use them as supports) and try to squat as low as possible, holding it for at least 15 breaths.
3) Block Child’s Pose
This restorative yoga pose will open up your hips and give you a break from holding standing poses. It’s also an excellent way to use Yoga and Pilates Blocks to improve your practice in these two disciplines.
Block Child’s Pose exercise can offer relief for tight hips, and help you feel more grounded during standing poses. Lengthen through your spine as you bend forward and breathe deeply into each side of your rib cage.
4) Block Bridge Pose
Block Bridge Pose is a good one to incorporate into your practice and also for many beginners, who are not able to perform it with perfect balance. This pose makes use of Pilates Blocks to get a great core exercise.
You can take help from yoga and pilates blocks to do Block Bridge Pose.
5) Block Triangle Pose
There are many ways to come into Triangle. Entering from Warrior II works well because your feet are already in the correct position. You shouldn’t need to widen or narrow your stance for this transition. So, from Warrior II, straighten your front leg (the right leg in this case).
Engage your right thigh muscles and draw your right femur into its socket. Extend your right hand toward the front of the room, keeping your right hip tucked.
You should lower your right hand on top of the block. Alternatively, you can place your right hand on the inside of your right foot or on your right hand. Choose the option that feels comfortable to you.
In order to reach your left fingertips up to the ceiling, keep your left shoulder rooted in its socket as you open your chest. Focus your gaze on your left fingertips by turning your head. You can also keep your head in a more neutral position if this is uncomfortable for your neck.
Deepen the crease in your right hip by continuing to draw your right thigh muscles upward. Prevent hyperextension by bending your right knee slightly. Stay in this pose for at least 5 breaths. With your left leg forward, repeat the pose.
Yoga and Pilates blocks are great tools to add variety to your practice. They can make balancing poses easier, deepen stretches, and help you work toward inversions. Be sure to give blocks a chance!