“Yoga Is The Journey Of The Self, Through The Self, To The Self.” – The Bhagavad Gita
This is me doing the Child’s pose (kneel, bring your knees together, sit on your heels and stretch)
I’m a mom, interior designer, and a passionate writer. I always say yes to things that inspire me, but sometimes it’s hard to balance it all – family, career, life. Not always easy, trust me! And when it gets hard, I stop and take a deep breath, otherwise making mindful choices would not be so mindful.
So few years ago I decided to take up yoga (to learn how to breath and let go), inspired by awesome Charlotte Dodson. Since, my friends often ask me questions. A lot of questions. Recently one friend asked if she should use yoga blocks given the fact that she’s just getting into yoga and which styles I recommend. I love when someone inquires about yoga, but to be honest, I’m not a certified yoga teacher (not yet, but soon) and cannot really share my yoga knowledge from that perspective. I usually tell my friends to simply respect their body; to love it, cherish it and to always exercise caution, regardless of the type of workout. I can offer guidance and assistance, but these views are based on my own yoga experience and are mine alone.
So, the short answer is YES. If you think yoga blocks will ruin yoga for you, or that by using them it would mean that you haven’t mastered the pose, or that yoga blocks are used with advanced Iyengar and Restorative yoga styles, you are wrong. Trust me, I thought the same (little did I know). But as they say, practice makes perfect.
Yoga blocks, how do I put it simply, can turn up the intensity of your workout. Right posture and alignment are the key to a successful yoga practice. And yoga props help you achieve exactly this. They are perfect for beginners (stop avoiding them like the plague), and even if you are experiencing injury, blocks can actually help you be more aware and to employ the right muscle the right way (in a specific pose).
I personally like the feel of high-density foam yoga blocks. They are easy to use, safe, provide additional support and stability which is so important. Avoiding hamstring strain is probably why I’m so in love with these props. They bring the ground closer to me. Literally. I also use blocks when doing internal (legs, between thighs) and external (between hands, arms lifted) rotation and for restorative poses.
This is me doing the Bridge pose with yoga block (lay on your back, bend legs with feet at hips’ width,place the block between your knees, lift hips and pelvis, put arms under your body with hands clasped)
These are just few initial ideas on how I and how you too can use yoga blocks. Remember, they cannot assist you in every pose nor yoga style. And which yoga style is right for you, it’s not up to me to tell you. What I can tell you, is to try different classes and teachers and see what works for you. Otherwise you will get lost in the wrong yoga class and will be done with the whole practice. Below I’ll list different styles of yoga you can sign up for, the rest is up to you.
Anusara was developed in 1997 by John Friend and it is not among the most prominent and popular ways of doing yoga, but it seems like its best times are yet to come. The kind of philosophy that this type of yoga brings is much needed in the fast paced, negativity-filled world we live in. It is based on the conclusion that every person has goodness inside and it teaches technique how to let go of all that is blocking the rise of positive vibes.
Ashtanga is a very demanding style, recommended for those who are keen on strict routines. Every movement and every breath is well planned; this style teaches discipline and strengthens all body muscles.
Bikram is a very popular yoga style that is constantly on the rise. The routine is to sit in an artificially heated room that makes excessive sweating possible especially while doing the poses. It isn’t hard to find Birkram yoga classes because the style is certainly one of the most preferred ones. You may also find classes that teach Birkram yoga under the name of hot yoga.
Hatha is in fact a real introduction to yoga. When you sign up for these classes, you will learn the basic postures without feeling overworked or overwhelmed with information. If taking it step by step, nice and slow is your kind of thing, then this is the right yoga class for you.
Iyengar, is the type of yoga that will help you block all other thoughts and make you focus exclusively on making the right pose, every detail taken into consideration.
Restorative, as the name itself suggests, is the type of yoga that aims toward utmost relaxation and releasing every single nerve in your body. It is almost as rejuvenating as a great nigh sleep. Just don’t forget that you’ll need a blanket, a bolster and blocks for the long, passive and relaxing poses to come.
Vinyasa might be the most unique from all other yoga styles because it actually teaches choreography through the poses. Music is an integral part of these classes and they can get really creative and fun.
Choose the yoga style that fits your personality best and zen out!