The Benefits of Using Blocks and props in Your Movement Practice
Yoga blocks, often made of foam, cork, or wood, are more than just tools for beginners or those with limited flexibility.
These versatile props can bring numerous benefits to your movement practice, no matter your level of expertise. We use them in every class in LYT and I can’t imagine a practice without having yoga blocks to enhance the experience!
Why use blocks?
For those who are new to yoga/functional training or have limited flexibility, blocks can act as an extension of the arms, making it easier to reach the floor in poses like Down Dog or bent knee standing split/standing L pose. By bridging the gap, blocks help in promoting better alignment, expansive breathing, and postural training. Yoga blocks can be used as a support system, especially in poses that require balance or strength. For instance, placing a block under the hand in Twisted Crescent, Half-Moon, or under the hips in seated twist pose can help stabilize the position, creating more space for the hips and spine, and thereby reducing strain on the joints and surrounding structures while also promoting more core activation. In LYT, we are huge believers in alignment! Alignment is not rigid or “ideal”; it is placing your bones and joints in a more optimal position to set up improved responsiveness in motor firing (how muscles activate to move, stabilize, or lengthen). Proper alignment is crucial in yoga and functional movement to prevent injuries, improve neuromuscular function, and ensure efficiency. Blocks can assist in positioning the body so that the joints and muscles work in greater harmony.
Importantly, blocks allow for more individualization. Everyone’s body is different, and sometimes a pose or movement that works for one person might not be comfortable for another. Blocks can be used to adapt poses to fit individual needs, ensuring a comfortable and effective practice. Blocks additionally help with transitions, allowing movement between poses to feel more possible and graceful without losing form.
But there is more! (that’s how awesome blocks truly are 🙂
As we experience in our LYT RESET®, blocks create a deeper connection to core! The block can be used to activate pathways into and through the core cylinder such as in bridge with a block, where the light hug of the block stimulates the hip adductors and pelvic floor connection. Utilizing a block in various ways can heighten body awareness, sparking core activity that might have been a bit more dormant without the block. The block becomes a tactile cue, reminding you to engage specific muscles or adjust certain alignments.
When I am creating a class where I want to utilize blocks, my innovation is in overdrive! Blocks provide so much variety, challenge, and support; it makes the practice exciting and vibrant, opening the door to enhanced mobility, stability, alignment, and overall progression and FUN!! Whether you are new to a movement practice or looking to upgrade your body-brain connection, yoga blocks can be transformative to your routine. Check out our LYT classes to FEEL for yourself how blocks are indeed a game-changer!