Often, I think we see yoga blocks as a crutch or as something for 'beginners', and so we do our best to avoid using them - I know I fell victim to that mindset a little while ago too. But actually they can hugely support the advancement of our practice at any level. Mainly, I think, it is about choosing to no longer compensate just to make a shape, but instead using blocks so we can activate/stretch/engage the musculature we are aiming to within a pose.

1. Elevating the hands in downward dog

This one can feel a little funny the first time you try, but trust me. It's not only about the sense of grounding that this brings from allowing your heels to drop more towards the floor, but it is also about stepping the foot through between the hands. The blocks mean there is more space between you and the ground, and so instead of 'cheating' by lifting the palm and/or swinging the leg through, you are able to create tension and push the ground away whilst keeping the palm flat. This allows us to progress much more quickly that cheating ever will.

2. Pyramid pose and half splits

Without blocks in these poses the floor can feel a million miles away and so we round our backs to get there, which can take the movement out of the hamstrings (where we are most likely trying to stretch) and into our backs. However by using blocks we can bring the floor up to us meaning we can maintain a neutral spine and so stretch our hamstrings much more effectively.

3. Seated folds

Cross legged, wide legged.... folds can often be super frustrating like we are going no where. Sitting on a black can be helpful here as the height of your seat in comparison to your feet and legs encourages the pelvis forwards thus allowing us to lengthen the tailbone back as we fold. This means we are able to also lengthen our hamstrings and so stretch more effectively.

4. Forearm stand / dolphin pose

Bringing a block between the palms here means we have better use of the biceps, better engagement of our lats, and are able to maintain a neutral shoulder position. It can also encourage us to keep our elbows from flairing out by working as a marker of sorts. All of this help us maintain a position of strength when upside down.

If you would like to see these in video format THIS instagram post might be helpful!