By Angela Travaglini, Owner & Instructor at Sol Yoga Studio in Conshohocken, PA
After many years of teaching power yoga in our Conshohocken yoga studio, one thing we notice is that some yogis still hesitate to use blocks. Some feel that it is a sign of weakness if they use blocks, or that they must not be doing the pose right. Some feel that blocks are for beginners.
We are here to tell you that blocks are our friends no matter how long we’ve practiced! Don’t let your ego get in the way! Blocks aren’t just for beginners. Using blocks is not a sign of weakness. They actually help us access the poses we are not able to get into. Blocks can also help you go deeper in the pose.
When yogis don’t use blocks, they often force themselves into a pose and end up holding their breath, scrunching their faces and being totally uncomfortable. This can cause the pose to become misaligned. The benefit of the pose is then lost.
Use Blocks for Standing Split or Modified Warrior 3
With blocks, we have more space and we can actually get in a pose. Take standing split or modified warrior 3 for example, blocks can help us so much! Many yogis have a hard time getting closer to the floor with their hands during standing split. They start to lose their balance, become frustrated and may give up. We see it all the time. Using blocks here makes the pose much more accessible. Instead of trying to reach the floor, which is not what yoga is about, yogis can put their hands on blocks to keep the chest lifted. This way, they can place more focus on the pose and the breath.
Use a Block for Bridge
Another great place to use the blocks is during bridge. Oftentimes, the feet are splayed out too wide when we lift our hips and press up from the ground. The feet are supposed to be hip width apart and pointing forward. The block helps us stay in the proper form. The block can be placed between the feet lengthwise or used to support the low back. When we lift up, we press our inner edges of the feet into the floor, using the block as a guide to not collapse inward.
I used to be a the person who took half moon, extended side angle, triangle and even standing forward fold without blocks. 18 years into my practice, I’ve realized that blocks are a GAME CHANGER. Poses feel better when they are used. More space is created. Breath is more fluid and peace in the pose is totally possible.
Next time you are in a power yoga class, we encourage you to use blocks. If you are not sure when or where to use them, feel free to ask before and/or after class!