I’ve only taken the odd yoga class over the years, so I’m by no means an expert. However, since I bought my Peloton Bike, I’ve gotten back into the swing of things. I’ve started taking morning classes over the weekend to get my body stretched and ready for the day. However, there was one accessory that almost every class demanded and which I hadn’t used before.
No, it’s not one of the best yoga mats, it’s actually something much smaller that is designed to help those with less reach and flexibility. Naturally, I fell into that category so I went ahead and purchased this option. Here’s what happened.
My new favorite yoga accessory
The accessory I’m referring to is in fact a pair of yoga blocks. These are by no means a new thing, but if you’re a novice yogi like myself, they may have slipped under your radar until now.
Yoga blocks are essentially firm, foam blocks that are used to support your frame during a workout. They’re usually sold in pairs and measure about 4 x 6 x 9 inches in size, although there are smaller and larger blocks available to suit different heights. The material can sometimes vary too — some more premium yoga blocks are made out of cork or even wood. The idea is that they need to be solid enough to take your weight, but soft enough to comfortably grip during certain poses.
Yoga blocks are designed to extend the floor’s height during a workout. You can use them flat, on their side, or upright for three levels of height. You usually grip them with each hand for an easier reach during both floor and standing poses, but they can also be used to support other areas of your body, such as your hips in pigeon pose, or your lower back in certain backbends. They’re intended to add comfort to a yoga workout, making certain poses easier to achieve — ideal if you struggle with flexibility or feel a tightness in your muscles. That’s why I liked the idea of using them in my morning yoga classes.
My thoughts on yoga blocks
Before I invested in my yoga blocks, I found a lot of the poses in my Peloton classes difficult to achieve and almost painful, particularly if I was trying to ease into a class. On more than one occasion, I ended up waiting for the next pose to start before I continued the session. The instructor would often say you can use books as an alternative, but this didn’t seem like a stable option unless used flat. Rather than damage the spines of my favorite novels, I opted for investing in the real thing.
Peloton was using its own brand of yoga blocks (opens in new tab) during the classes of course, but at $30 I decided to source a cheaper option on Amazon (opens in new tab). There are plenty to choose from online for around the $10 mark, some of which can come with other useful accessories such as yoga blankets and straps.
At first, I felt quite unstable supporting myself on the blocks. They were fine to use when flat, but things got a bit shaky when they were on their sides or upright — I almost fell over when balancing on one and nearly gave them up entirely. But, as the Peloton classes continued to call for them, I continued to use them.
My confidence grew and I found some of the poses became more achievable. In fact, I felt comfortable enough to hold some of the poses for much longer than previously possible. I'm hoping as I get more used to the postures, I'll eventually be able to touch my palm on the floor without the block entirely, but until then, they've become an essential part of my practise.
In terms of durability, I will admit you’ll see some wear and tear. The foam on mine is already showing puncture marks from nails and grease and grime quickly builds up too. Although you can easily clean them with some soapy water and a microfiber cloth. It’s also worth mentioning that yoga blocks can attract pets — my cat has left some claw marks of her own and our Fitness Editor’s dog had a chewing session with her cork block. So keep the blocks out of reach for furry family members ideally.
For such a reasonable price, these blocks are easily replaceable though and I really recommend them for those that lack flexibility when it comes to yoga. The difference they can make in terms of comfort adds to the enjoyment of the class and they can really help those that are new to the poses.