The yoga block is one of the most popular accessories in a yoga class.
Yoga props were popularized by BKS Iyengar as tools to support the body and allow deeper expression in the alignment of a yoga posture.
Yoga blocks are often used as an extension of one of the hands, but are also used to support the back, head, and hips, and deepen the perception of alignment.
A yoga block is most helpful for beginning students or those who have experienced injuries or other physical limitations, but more advanced practitioners can use these props to safely learn more challenging new poses.
When buying a yoga block you will need to consider size, material, cost and quantity.
BKS Iyengar said that the ideal block is 22.8cm x 11.44cm x 7.6cm, but you will find blocks larger or smaller than this. Choosing a larger or smaller block will depend on the size of your hands and the level of your flexibility. If you have small hands and good flexibility, you should consider a size small block. If on the contrary, if you have big hands and little flexibility think about considering a big block.
Yoga blocks were originally made of wood, but now they are also made of foam and cork.
Wood blocks are often made from bamboo, birch, maple, pine, balsam, and poplar.
Hardwoods will be more durable, while softer woods will be lighter.
The wooden blocks are comparatively hard and heavy (these normally weigh between 675 grams and 1.2 kilos) but they are very strong, more aesthetic and will last forever.
The downside to wood blocks is that they are expensive, they get slippery with wet hands, they can slip when you put them on hardwood floors, and they don’t always stack properly.
Cork yoga blocks can be more environmentally friendly than wooden ones (depending on how the wood and cork are extracted) and cork blocks are softer and lighter than wooden ones (between 450 and 900 grams).
These stack and store very well, but unfortunately cork absorbs sweat and odors which can occasionally cause unpleasant odors and crack or chip over time.
Foam yoga blocks are cheaper than cork and wood and are lighter (3-10 ounces) and very soft. Due to their low cost, durability and ease of cleaning, these are the most common blocks in yoga centers.
The downside of foam blocks is that they get dirty and wear easily, and they are not eco-friendly like wood or cork blocks. Likewise, they can also feel weak or unstable when used for support.
More than one yoga block?
Most of the time you’ll only need one yoga block, but there’s a good chance you won’t regret buying two.
There are some advantages to buying two blocks instead of just one.
First, you will have a compatible set and you will not need to remember the size, brand and color later.
Second, you will find that having a block in each hand or stacked blocks will offer you more support, giving you a wider range in posture throughout your practice.
Even if you think that buying two blocks instead of just one may turn out to be more expensive, this can save you on shipping costs.