In yoga, foam blocks are essentially brick-shaped blocks made of dense foam that is soft to the touch but firm enough to support the body's weight. Traditional blocks are shaped so that you can place a block flat for a slight elevation or on its side for a taller elevation from the level of the floor.
Using Foam Blocks
Foam blocks blocks help practitioners properly execute hatha yoga postures safely and effectively. You can use foam blocks to:
1. Stretch your lower back. Lie on your back and place a block just above the gluteus muscles, connecting with the lower back. Place the block flat for a medium stretch or on its side for a more intense stretch. This posture lets you relax into a passive pose that opens both back and stomach muscles.
2. Sit more comfortably. Sitting on a block (or two blocks side-by-side) lifts your hips above the level of your knees and alleviates strain in the lower back. Try using them for meditation or when doing seated postures.
3. Learn new poses. Blocks can assist you in supporting the body as you work your way into an unfamiliar posture, keeping you safe as you expand your practice.
4. Adapt postures to your body's needs. A beginning practitioner or an experienced yogi working on a new posture can use blocks to support the body safely. If you are not flexible enough to do standing hands to feet posture unaided, for example, you can use a block under each hand to allow you to support your body in an intermediate position. This allows you to focus on form rather than being distracted by the desire to move more deeply into the pose than your body is ready to allow.
Why Use Foam Blocks?
Foam blocks can be a valuable aid in properly aligning your body in a posture without undue strain. Some forms of yoga, such as Iyengar yoga, emphasize the use of props to help you focus on achieving the ideal form of a posture safely while accepting your body's current condition. Both beginning and advanced practitioners of yoga can use foam blocks to enhance active practices and to maximize relaxation in passive postures.