One of my favorite toys at my grandparents’ house was a box of homemade blocks. They were just scraps of wood from various projects, but I spent many hours building roads and teetering towers out of them. There’s something about blocks that appeal to my orderly mind.
Maybe that’s why the mention of yoga blocks makes me daydream of a whole room of them – the soft, colorful foam perfect for building a huge creation. But I digress. This article is about using and finding the best yoga blocks, not playing with them.
If you are a beginner to yoga or have physical limitations, you should pick up a yoga block or preferably two. A yoga block is a small rectangle with a whole lot of power. It brings the floor to you. So if you can’t stretch down to touch your toes or bend into that Downward Facing Dog shape, using a yoga block beneath your hands will help you achieve success.
Like using a yoga strap, a block allows you to modify a pose if your body isn’t ready for it or if you have a musculoskeletal issue like arthritis or fibromyalgia.
It also helps you maintain a pose comfortably without straining, protecting you from injury. With use over time, a yoga block will also help you deepen your stretch, become more flexible and increase strength. I’m guessing those are your goals for doing yoga, along with the centering and relaxation it brings. It’s hard to achieve relaxation if you are struggling too much. Let the yoga block take away the struggle.
Yoga blocks are typically used under your hands, feet, head or toosh. The block is also sometimes used between your hands or thighs to offer resistance for squeezing or just to help achieve proper alignment of your limbs.
Things to Consider
Yoga blocks are a pretty cheap investment for the bang you will get out of them. Here are a few things to consider when shopping:
Yoga blocks are typically made of three different materials – wood, cork or foam.
Wood Yoga Blocks
These are the heaviest. So if you worry about the block staying in place or being sturdy enough, this is the block for you. These blocks will last forever. Typically they come from sustainable and renewable wood, so they are environmentally friendly.
The downside of using wood blocks is they are the most expensive. Also they can slide if you use them on a hardwood floor. You can envision how that will end. It’s best to use wood blocks on carpeting or your yoga mat for the best traction.
Wood is nice and smooth so it won’t give you splinters. However it can get slippery if you are doing hot yoga and sweating. These blocks have the least amount of give so they can be uncomfortable.
Cork Yoga Blocks
Cork blocks are the middle-of-the-road yoga blocks. They are lighter than wood but not as light as foam. They have more give than wood but not as much as foam. They are less expensive than wood but not as cheap as foam. They are more durable than foam but not as tough as wood.
Cork blocks are made from the cork oak tree. The production process is considered environmentally friendly because the tree is not cut down. Just the bark is harvested, and the tree continues to grow.
Cork blocks are a great choice if you are willing to spend a little more. The downside is cork is porous, which means it will absorb sweat. After awhile, your block could smell like stinky gym socks. If you don’t do hot yoga or don’t sweat much, this will not be an issue for you.
Foam Yoga Blocks
These are typically made of recycled foam. They are the cheapest, lightest and easiest to travel with. They have the most give so are the most comfortable to use. Foam blocks come in a variety of bright, attractive colors.
The downside of foam blocks is they are the least durable. With use, they will eventually tear, crumble or lose their shape. They also can get dirty fast so go with a darker color choice.
The other consideration when purchasing a yoga block is size. The most popular and common size is 4”x 6”x 9”. There is also a slighter smaller block at 3”x6”x9” that can work for people with smaller frames, who are mostly doing restorative yoga. There’s also an extra large block available, made by Hugger Mugger, called the Big Blue Yoga Block. It’s 5”x12”x6.75”. That’s a full foot of added support, which is great for tall folks or those with more limited mobility.
Top Yoga Block Suggestions
There are lots of options on the market for yoga blocks. You can find them online, at sports stores, yoga studios and even your local Walmart or Target. Here are four popular ones that we recommend:
You can’t beat the deal offered by Clever Yoga for their recycled EVA foam blocks. These are durable and are rated extremely well. There are a whole lot of happy customers out there, raving about these blocks. They are the standard size and weigh a tiny .38 pounds.
The blocks are bicolor, either purple and blue or red and gray. If you order two blocks, you’ll get 15% off your purchase. Clever Yoga is a small, family-owned business, which we love, with stellar customer service. And get this, they offer a LIFETIME GUARANTEE on these blocks. If you don’t love them for any reason (pretty impossible) or they don’t last, they will replace free of charge, no questions asked. You’ve got nothing to lose buying these lovelies and a toned, more flexible body to gain.
It’s pretty hard not to be a fan of the Manduka Cork Block. You are going to spend more on these, but remember all the perks of a cork block. They are environmentally friendly and have an easy to grip texture. The Manduka block has nice contoured edges and comes in the standard size.
The block is heavier and sturdier, coming in at 2 pounds, if you are worried about the lighter foam blocks staying in place. People also love the fact this block has little to no odor.
Here’s another great, affordable choice in foam blocks. You are getting two for less than $10! Again, the Prosource blocks come in the standard size and are even more lightweight than the Clever Yoga blocks at .35 pounds. These are made with a high density foam which means they will hold up a little better under heavier weight and regular use. They also have a pretty decent grip.
There aren’t a lot of color choices with black, blue, pink and purple being your only options. Frankly, I think reviews matter more than color, and these inexpensive blocks have an excellent rating on Amazon.
The Gaiam brand is a mainstay in the yoga world. Their yoga straps, mats and blocks top many review lists you will find. You can’t go wrong going with a Gaiam. This block is also the standard size and made of recycled EVA foam. What makes it different than the other foam blocks on the list is its sturdiness. It weighs in at 1.5 pounds, giving it a little more density and stability.
These are easy to spot clean with a washcloth and a little soap. The Gaiam blocks come in 14 beautiful colors. They also offer a black block with Dura Dense foam, making it even sturdier along with a cork block as well.
Best Yoga Blocks Wrap Up
Yoga blocks are a pretty inexpensive investment to add to your yoga routine. They are the building blocks to more flexibility, stability and strength in your body. They also protect you from injury. Sounds like a pretty good friend to have around! We are confident that any of the blocks we recommended can help you reach your yoga goals. Good luck and enjoy the journey.