Props are my favorite! Most yoga poses can be accessible to most people with the assistance of props. Using props can not only guide you into a pose, but it can help you with your alignment in a pose. Check out below how to incorporate Blocks into your yoga practice.
1. Triangle Pose
Stand near the top of your mat, facing a short side. Place a block between your feet at its highest height. Put your hands on your hips for stability. Step back with your left leg and turn your toes out about 30 degrees. Bend your right knee a little as you reach down to the block with your right hand. Open your chest and shoulders out towards to long edge of your mat on the left side. Work towards straightening your right leg. If you’re good here - stay! If you feel balanced, raise your left hand into the air. If this feels comfortable, you can try the pose again with the block on the medium or lower height. Don’t forget to repeat the other side!
2. Pyramid Pose
Stand near the top of your mat, facing a short side. Place each block at its highest height, on either side of your feet. Put your hands on your hips for stability. Step back with your right leg and turn your toes out about 30 degrees. Bend your left knee a little as you reach down to both blocks with both hands. Work towards straightening your left leg. If you’re good here - stay! If you would like to bend further, consider lowering the blocks’ height, or reach to the mat. Do it again on your other side.
3. Side Angle Pose
Stand near the top of your mat, facing a short side. Place a block between your feet at its highest height. Put your hands on your hips for stability. Step back with your right leg and turn your toes out about 30 degrees. Bend your left knee so that it aligns over your ankle. Reach down to the block with your left hand and open your chest and shoulders to the right side of your mat. If you’re feeling good here, great! If you would like, try to extend your right arm over your head - creating a long line from your right heel to your right fingertips. Repeat on your other side.
4. Chair Pose
Using a block between your thighs in chair pose can help you with stability. By having you concentrate on holding your block in place you will be keeping your legs parallel. Begin by standing on your mat, placing a block between your thighs. Place your hands on your hips and send your hips and bum back, like you’re sitting in a chair. If you feel balanced here, send both arms up into the air, parallel to each other, aligned with your back. Helpful Tip: If you start chair pose by standing a foot or two away from a wall, when you send your hips back like you’re sitting, they will meet the wall - helping you with stability.
5. Forward Fold Poses
Place your blocks on their highest height in front of your feet. During your forward fold, place your hands onto the blocks. If you find you have bend in your elbows (see photo above), lower the height of the blocks.
With your blocks in the same position as the standing forward fold above, step your legs wider apart. Then bring your hands to the blocks in your wide-legged forward fold. You may find that you can bend a little further in a wide-legged forward fold and want to “dial down” your blocks to a lower height. Helpful Tip: I find if I lift my belly with both hands from the sides and tuck it towards the middle as I am folding into a wide-legged forward fold, I am able to fold a little farther.
When seated with wide legs, try stacking your blocks on the floor or mat in front of you to rest your forehead on while in the pose. You may find 2 blocks, as shown above, a good place to start. You can always use less blocks, or change the heights of the blocks until you find a forward fold that is comfortable for you.
6 Lotus Pose
Seated in a comfortable cross-legged position on your mat, if your knees do not touch the mat, try placing a block under them. If the block is too high, you can also use a rolled up blanket. You may find that one knee makes it to the mat, but the other doesn’t. Use the blocks where they feel right.
7. Bridge Pose
Variation 1 - From lying on the mat, bend your knees bringing your feet to the mat, as close as possible to your hips. Place a block between your thighs. Press into the mat with your feet lifting your hips off the floor. Tuck your shoulders underneath you and reach under your back with your hands, towards the other.
Variation 2 - Begin as above laying down with your feet on the mat up close to your hips. Lift your hips off the mat by pressing into the mat with your feet. Place a block on any height that is comfortable for you, under your sacrum. Release your hips and sacrum onto the block.
8. Reclined Body Twist Pose
Have 2 blocks in reaching distance, then lay on your back on the mat. Bend your knees, placing your feet on your mat. Twist from the hips, allowing your knees to fall to the right side. Here’s where the blocks come in handy. You may find that your right knee will touch the floor, but your left knee doesn’t touch your right knee - insert a block between your knees for comfort. You may find that your right knee doesn’t touch the floor - insert a block between your right knee and the floor. You may find both to be the scenario - as in the photo above - so you’ll want to place a block between both knees and one between the floor and your knee. Don’t forget to repeat on the other side.
Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions below! xo-d