In my last article, I explored some of the ways we can use a humble yoga blanket to get curious about movement and play with traditional asanas. The yoga block (or brick) is often seen as a way to bring the ground closer to you in traditional standing postures, such as triangle and reverse triangle. Let’s see how the yoga block can do a whole lot more for you and your students with these exercises.
Whole New Height
Placing a block under one foot can challenge balance, proprioception, and strength in standing poses and balances.
-Elevated tree: Place a block under one foot and set up for tree pose. If the block is squishy foam, as opposed to cork or wood, the body will need to adjust in new ways to stay upright. For more challenge, play with gaze and closing the eyes.
-Warrior II on a block: In this image, YTU® teacher Kirsten Trued plays with warrior II on a block to build strength in the front leg and create new asymmetry. Read her corresponding blog for more details on the benefits of this pose. What other standing poses could benefit from this challenge?
-Asymmetrical Uttanasana: In this video, Jill Miller demonstrates asymmetrical uttanasana, and whole new way to fold, side bend, and create asymmetry.
-Coreso Leg Lifts: Elevating the pelvis on a block turns a core exercise into a new way to challenge the psoas muscles, while also strengthening the shoulders and bringing bottom hip into extension. Also consider apanasana on a block as well!
Weight It Up
Depending on the type of block you have with you, adding a block as weight can really be a challenge!
-Block Shoulder Extension: Using a cork or wooden block, grip the block behind the hips with both hands. Keep a neutral spine and head as you start to lift the arms into extension-extra challenging with a cork block!
-Try balancing a cork or wooden block on the top of your head as your work at your desk, practice asana, or just walk! Head carrying is a great way to challenge proprioception, neck musculature, and stability.
-Add a block to other shoulder and upper body poses- try holding a block in each arm in warrior 2 or triangle!
Sometimes you just need a little elevation to roll it out with YTU® therapy balls.
-Neck nurturing: I love elevating the head to get to the subocciptals. Jill demonstrates this in her video here.
-Shin roll: Elevating one shin on a block can get just the right angle to roll out the front of your shins. (Image above)
-Pec pec pec: Roll out the anterior chest tissues with a little elevation, either on the floor with two blocks, or one here at the wall with Brooke Thomas.
As you can see, there are many novel ways to use props. One of my favorite things about YTU is the encouragement to think creatively and bust your classes out of the box(ana)!