If the room with my yoga equipment were on fire and I had enough time to snatch only one yoga prop (except for my fav yoga mat), I wouldn’t blink an eye. Cause I know the answer right away. I would grab a yoga block.
Yoga blocks are the staples of any studio and should become an essential part of your home training too. Read on if you’re wondering what yoga blocks do, how they can help you enhance your practice, and why they are worth saving from the fire. We have also researched and reviewed the 8 best yoga blocks suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced practitioners.
Meet our top pick – eco-friendly yoga blocks made of sustainable cork. Sold in set of 2, these affordable blocks will bring versatility and comfort to your practice. Dense material and solid anti-slip surface will provide stable support during the most challenging asanas.
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Yoga blocks are small rectangular bricks that are excellent tools for both newbies and seasoned yogis to improve their yoga practice. They became popularized in the 1970s by BKS Iyengar, one of the most famous yoga teachers in the world. Iyengar often used props such as blocks, straps, blankets to make asanas more accessible to students of different age and to help them perform posses correctly and minimize injury.
One of the primary and straightforward functions of the yoga block is to decrease the distance between you and the ground and thus to facilitate and modify yoga poses to match your level of flexibility. So for example, if you can’t touch your toes (yet!) in the Forward Fold, placing your hands on the yoga block will ease the strain on your lower back by shifting some of your body weight to your hands. With a yoga block, you will free your body from stress and pain when performing a pose you are not ready for by modifying it according to your own convenience.
Yoga blocks offer additional support for your tight hips and knees and help prevent injury. For example, sitting on the block in the Hero Pose (Virasana) will spare you the unpleasant sensation in your knees while at the same time gently stretching your thighs. By modifying the height of the block, you can slowly work towards the full asana without unnecessary strain and risk of injury.
If you can’t hold the pose for a prolonged period of time, can’t breathe properly and feel uncomfortable, then it does no good for you. Yoga blocks will come to your rescue by assisting you in developing a proper alignment. Take a Side Angle Pose (Parsvakonasana), for example. It’s an excellent full-body exercise which promotes strength, flexibility, balance, and spine lengthening. However, the full pose with one hand touching the ground and the straight top hand that is supposed to continue the line from the toes to the fingertips is hardly accessible to the majority of people. You may not have the necessary flexibility, or your body type (such as short arms or torso) may make the pose challenging. By placing your bottom hand on the yoga block, you can avoid your chest collapsing and rounding your shoulders, thus reaching the right alignment. In this case, yoga blocks will also help you understand your body and what muscles need to be engaged in a specific pose.
Yoga blocks are useful props for improving your balance and building strength for more advanced positions. A Crow Pose (Bakasana), for instance, is the basic arm balancing exercise requiring upper-body and core strength. For beginners, it can be intimidating to lift the feet and jump onto the arms even if you have enough strength. You can place the block under your feet and keep lifting one foot at the time. You can also always put the block under the forehead for additional support. This variation will help you hold the pose for a longer time.
With the help of yoga blocks, you can progress at your own pace and advance the exercise when you’re ready.
A seasoned yogi can also reap benefits by including yoga blocks into their practice. Apart from the mentioned uses, yoga blocks can make your practice more strength-demanding. You can hold it between your legs to prevent them from splaying out or in your hands during the challenging asana. The heavier the block, the more intense the practice and more added benefits for you. Blocks are also an excellent aid for deepening your stretch, making it possible for you to advance to the next level faster.
Contrary to popular belief, all yoga blocks are not the same. They vary in their shape, material, and size. These features generally determine how heavy the blocks is, whether or not it is convenient to carry it with you before or after the yoga class, and if the block will be able to hold your weight. At the same time, certain characteristics, such as density or design, may determine the primary function of the block. Some blocks are better for stretching and building flexibility whereas others are designed to practice inversions and arm-balancing poses.
A traditional yoga block has the form of a rectangular cube. However, its original appearance has evolved, and it is no longer hard to encounter yoga blocks of different shapes and according to your taste. Egg block, for example, is particularly effective for reclining postures and backbends due to the curved design. Hollow semi-circle blocks are great for arm balancing. Yoga wedges were created explicitly for the additional support for sore wrists.
You can come across blocks of different sizes, but the standard and most common yoga block dimensions are 4” x 6” x 9” and 3” x 6” x 9”. Thus, most of the yoga blocks will offer you three different heights, making them amazingly versatile (some new blocks even offer four height settings due to their innovative design). The tallest setting 9’’ works great for standing asanas such as Half-Moon Pose because it will take the pressure of the lower back and hamstrings. The lowest setting is widely used as support for the sit bones in the Hero Pose or the Pigeon Pose. You can easily modify your asanas according to your flexibility level and enjoy a smooth and seamless practice.
If you’re wondering what size of the block to choose, then you should evaluate your capabilities as well as hand size. Tall people with limited flexibility and big hands will benefit from the larger-sized blocks that will ‘raise the floor’ higher in standing asanas. People with small hands will feel more comfortable with a smaller block that will ease the grip.
Wood. The first yoga blocks were made of wood such as pine, bamboo or birch. Those yoga blocks most probably still serve some yogi now in 2018 as wooden blocks are the most durable option available on the market. Some manufacturers even provide a lifetime guarantee on their products. Nowadays wood blocks are often made from sustainable bamboo, making them the most suitable choice for eco-conscious practitioners.
Yoga blocks made of wood are incredibly sturdy and are great for building strength and balancing exercises. They also offer no-hassle cleaning and have a pleasant natural look.
On the downside, wood blocks are expensive, heavy, and difficult to transport if compared to foam and cork blocks. Wood blocks will fit right at your home or studio but are not very practical to travel with. They are generally hard on the spine and not the best option for the restorative yoga and backbends. The smooth surface can get slippery if your hands sweat easily, and because of that they also don’t stack well.
Cork. Cork is a natural and eco-friendly material that is generally less expensive and lighter than wood. Cork yoga blocks are still durable and sturdy, and they won’t give when squeezed. Cork blocks are not as smooth as wood ones and may have a somewhat flaky texture. Thanks to that, they are comfortable to grip, non-slip even when wet, and easy to stack on each other.
As a disadvantage, due to its porous surface, cork is harder to clean than foam or wood. It absorbs moisture and sweat, which may compromise the integrity of the block. If you buy cheap cork blocks, they may start to crumble on the corners.
Cork blocks are still heavy to travel with or even carry them to the yoga studio. They also may seem too hard for some people to lie on.
Foam. In any yoga studio, you will probably encounter foam yoga blocks. They are the most common type because foam is affordable, extremely lightweight, and suitable for beginners. Foam blocks tend to be softer and more squishy when compared to cork or wood yoga blocks and the most gentle for supporting your spine and pelvis in restorative poses. They are also not slippery, extremely easy to clean and carry around.
One of the biggest disadvantages is that some cheaper foam blocks may be flimsy, can’t support your body weight and may even collapse. The material is also susceptible to wear and tear, gets scratched or dented easily. Foam blocks are also the least eco-friendly option.
The number of blocks you decide to purchase is mostly a matter of personal preference. Many yoga blocks now come in the set of two. Some brands also offer a discount if you get a pair.
Two blocks will make your practice considerably more versatile. You will be able to do a whole lot more poses while placing your hands on two blocks. If stacked together in a row, blocks, especially softer foam ones, can even substitute a yoga bolster and work great for relaxing and chest-opening poses.
If you eventually decide to use only one block, you can always stash the second one for later as a replacement, or keep one in the yoga studio and another at home.
If the instructor offers you a block during the session or you see a pair lying around, grab them and use them. You don’t have to be a beginner or suffer from an injury to benefit from a yoga block.
Use yoga blocks when you feel that your body is not ready for a full pose or you lack flexibility; when you can’t breathe properly in a difficult asana; when you have had a hard day and need a little more balance and support.
Be careful not to get too attached to your yoga block though. A yoga block will make some postures easier, and it might be tempting to get stuck in your practice. Listen to your body. Change the height of the block to the lower setting when you get stronger and more supple and eventually get rid of the block entirely in some asanas.
Avoid dumping too much weight or sinking your hands into the block during balancing postures. Instead, engage muscles in your fingers, hands, and forearms.
Like any other yoga equipment, yoga blocks require proper care and cleaning to extend their life and protect against bacteria growth. Your yoga block will generally come with the manufacturer’s instructions. So make sure to read them before applying any detergent as it may damage the material.
Wood yoga blocks are the easiest to clean. Use a damp cloth soaked in soapy water to clean the surface and set the blocks out to dry.
Cork yoga blocks will generally require more attention as they absorb more moisture and sweat than wood or foam. Wipe the surface with a wet cloth and dry thoroughly. To remove stains, add vinegar, soap or soda to the water to create an organic cleaning solution. Do not use harsh chemicals on the cork material.
For cleaning foam yoga block, use a solution of water and dishwashing soap. In case the block is very dirty, or stains don’t come out, use club soda or vinegar solution. Foam blocks can usually be placed in the washing machine, which makes the cleaning process much more comfortable.
We have chosen and reviewed 8 best yoga blocks of different price tags and materials. Most of them will be suitable for practitioners of any level. However, we generally recommend foam blocks for complete beginners as well as intermediate level yogis whereas wood blocks will be most suitable for advanced yogis who want to perfect their arm balances. We consider cork blocks universal and perfect for all-around practice. They are dense enough to support your body weight and pretty comfortable to lie on when compared to wood blocks.
HemingWeigh cork yoga blocks are made of the natural material and are 100% free from toxic chemicals. With their minimalist and stylish look, HemingWeigh will become a great addition to your yoga practice as well as your room. They are very solid and provide firm support no matter what your weight is.
HemingWeigh blocks are easy to grip. Since cork is great for absorbing moisture, you can rest assured that you will not slip even if your hands or feet get sweaty. Cork blocks also stack well and will provide a stable surface when you use them for balance.
The best thing is that HemingWeigh offers excellent price for the set of two cork yoga blocks. Moreover, the manufacturer gives a lifetime replacement guarantee for its product. So in case you have any issues with the quality such as crumbling or denting, you can easily replace the item.
HemingWeigh yoga blocks are much heavier than their foam counterparts, so they are not comfortable to travel around with. Some people may also find them too sturdy for the back or head support.
Foam holds its leading positions as the material for producing yoga blocks due to its affordability and portability. REEHUT offers unbeatable price for the set of two quality yoga blocks. This is an excellent deal for yogis who are only starting their yoga journey and don’t want to invest much in the equipment. REEHUT yoga blocks are available in two sizes to perfectly match your hand size and ensure the comfortable practice.
Being made of EVA foam, REEHUT blocks are remarkably lightweight and easily transported to the studio or wherever your yoga practice takes you. Soft suede-like texture and beveled edges ensure the soft grip while the moisture-resistant material wicks away sweat and bacteria.
REEHUT foam blocks come in a range of colors, from modest black to vibrant pink, to harmonize with your yoga mat.
As a trade-off for portability and affordable price, foam is less eco-friendly and less durable when compared to wood and cork. The surface quickly takes on scratch marks and stains. Foam is decently malleable and gives in during the practice. This makes stretching, restorative poses, and backbends more pleasant, but undermines the stability in arm balances. The material may also not be dense enough for taking your body weight.
REEHUT yoga blocks provide a non-slip surface but do not work well if you sweat during the practice. So this is not the best choice for the hot yoga class. If you are sensitive to odors, be aware that REEHUT blocks might give off a chemical smell out of the package.
Manduka’s yoga block is made of 50% - 75% recycled post-industrial & post-consumer EVA foam and comes in one size with the standard dimensions of 9'' x 6'' x 4''.
Users of Manduka foam yoga block notice that it is much firmer and sturdier than other foam blocks, which promotes greater stability and balance without you sinking into the block even in standing postures. The block is suitable for both male and female yogis as it can support significant weight without compressing. At the same time, Manduka foam block remains surprising light (only 0.6 pounds), making it an excellent travel companion.
Manduka’s block looks well-made and wears well compared to other foam blocks – the things you would expect from such a reputable brand as Manduka. Reviewers haven’t noticed any bad odor and swear by the quality of the product.
Despite all the benefits, Manduka’s foam block is not cheap and is sold in pieces rather than in the set of two. Yogis who prefer a more malleable surface may find the block too hard. The limited color options can be a dealbreaker if you’re looking for a yoga block to match your mat. The item also features "Practice On" engraving on one of the sides which adds texture to the surface, so if you are searching for the entirely smooth yoga block, check out our other suggestions.
If you want to stretch more efficiently and reach real progress sooner, a set of Clever Yoga Blocks may be exactly what you are looking for. The set contains two recycled EVA foam blocks and an 8ft d-ring yoga strap that will take your practice to the next level.
Clever Yoga blocks feature a non-slip surface that won’t soak up moisture and is easy to clean. The blocks are dense and provide a comfortable balance between firmness and a hint of softness, which is crucial for restorative poses.
If you like to carry your props to the class, Clever Yoga will be a wise choice. They are super lightweight with only 0.6 oz weight each. The blocks are also designed in fun bi-color pattern to make your yoga sessions brighter.
The company has excellent customer service. If you are not happy with the product, they will replace it or give you a full refund no questions asked.
However, since the yoga blocks are so light, they may feel a bit wobbly and not stable enough. They are also not as durable as their wood or cork counterparts.
Peace Yoga Blocks will make a big difference in your practice thanks to their versatility and cute designs. They come in pairs and in two sizes for the maximum comfort and easy grip.
Eco-conscious yogi can sleep soundly as the blocks are made of cork wood, making them environmentally friendly and firm. The set will offer a stable and fully slip-resistant foundation when you need it most. Peace yoga blocks will not wobble and provide excellent support for balance postures.
You can choose from a variety of geometrical and nature designs or opt for a minimalist look with the brand name only. The company offers a 1-year guarantee to the buyers as well as 90 days satisfaction guarantee.
Among the disadvantages, weight is a considerable one. The blocks are not easy to transport and are more suitable for the home practice or better be stored at your studio.
The material is dense and doesn’t give during the exercise. You can feel perfectly stable when standing on blocks, but lying on them can be uncomfortable. Blocks don’t dig in hard into your back due to rounded corners but don’t make them significantly more pleasant to use in restorative poses.
Some users also noted that their Peace yoga blocks started to crumble on the edges quite soon after the purchase.
Infinity strap is a small family-run business that became widely famous for their buckle-free yoga straps. Their new prop, a yoga block called BRIK, sold out in just two weeks after release thanks to its innovative design.
BRIK is the only (patent pending) yoga block which offers four different heights for maximum versatility in your practice (standard blocks offer three height settings). You can use it flat or diagonally, and against the wall, which was not possible with other yoga blocks.
BRIK comes in a set of two high-quality anti-microbial and eco-friendly cork yoga blocks. Each block measures 3.5” x 5.5” x 8.75" and offers a firm surface to improve your strength, balance, flexibility, and alignment.
BRIK is not a cheap buy though. So we suggest it for intermediate or seasoned yogis who are committed to their practice and want to advance to the next level. And as every cork blocks, they are on the heavy side and can be too hard to lie on.
In YOGABODY, they believe that “Practice is Everything.” And it couldn’t be more precise. You may feel jealous looking at all those Insta pictures with yogis performing inverted poses and handstands. But remember that it is highly unlikely that these people were successful from the start. It takes weeks, months or even years of practice to develop the strength and balance necessary for handstands. And Yogabody blocks were designed precisely to make the time you hone your yoga skills more fun and enjoyable.
YOGABODY blocks are made of smooth-finished bamboo and are incredibly sturdy and durable. A firm surface will help you in developing stronger fingers, wrists, and forearms – a prerequisite for better handstands. Those with sensitive joints will also benefit from the use of a sturdy foundation because it prevents you from dumping weight into your wrists (as it happens with cheap foam blocks) and creates stronger muscles.
The blocks come in a set of two with the dimensions of 5.12 in / 13 cm (long) x 3.5 in / 8.8 cm (wide) x 8.8 cm (tall). There are 3mm of non-slip rubber on the bottom, so you don’t have to worry about sliding whether you practice indoors or outdoors or damaging your yoga mat. As an addition, blocks come with a free pose chart.
YOGABODY blocks are fairly heavy as expected from the bamboo material (1.8 lbs per block). But the versatility and quality may outmatch this disadvantage.
These blocks are much more expensive than foam or cork products but may be well worth the investment if your goal in to build grip strength and work towards inversions.
Bhoga Infinity Blocks will surely attract some curious looks if you bring them with you to the yoga studio. These hardwood blocks entirely defy the stereotype that wood material can’t be used for restorative poses. Bhoga Infinity Blocks are uniquely designed to conform naturally to your spine due to the arched shape while working as a natural extension of your body. Chest opening poses and backbends have never been so comfortable and pain-free with wood blocks before.
Hollowed center and rounded sides provide a comfortable contoured grip which benefits wrist discomfort in the Downward/Upper Facing Dog as you will be able to raise or lower the base of the palm according to your preference. Open side grip also makes blocks super comfortable for balancing poses and inversions.
All of the above benefits combined with the sturdiness, comfort, and pleasant look of the wood make Bhoga Infinity Blocks an excellent choice for practitioners of any level.
Bhoga Infinity Block can be purchased as a single piece, but work better in a set of 2, 3, or 4.
As a disadvantage, Bhoga Infinity Blocks are very heavy and are more suitable for home practice. They are also one of the most expensive blocks in the market. But if you decide to splurge on these, you are highly unlikely to be disappointed.
What is your favorite yoga prop?
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