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BUILDING BLOCKS FOR ASANAS

July 15, 2020

BUILDING BLOCKS FOR ASANAS

B. K. S. Iyengar, who founded Iyengar Yoga in the 1970's, introduced the use of yoga props to assist practitioners towards correct alignment in the asanas. One of the most common myths about yoga is that it is only for flexible people. The use of props democratises the practice for all body types and makes even complex asanas accessible with some support.

Yoga blocks can be used to improve your alignment, support yourself in a challenging asana or go deeper into your practice. Her we explore a few ways you can use yoga blocks in different poses to get better alignment and a deeper stretch.

TRIKONASANA (TRIANGLE POSE)


The Triangle Pose is one of the first poses you learn when you begin a yoga practice. It's a great pose to improve alignment and stability. However, if you have tight hamstrings, it becomes challenging to reach the floor. Instead your hand struggles to stay on your shin or your ankle and your body hunches losing all sense of alignment.

Use a block to give yourself more stability so you can focus on lifting through your chest, lengthening through your fingertips, and folding over your front leg.

Triangle Pose with a yoga block:

1. Start in the middle of your mat in Mountain Pose. Spread your feet out 3-4 feet wide.

2. Turn your right foot out at 90 degrees and turn your left foot slightly inwards.

3. Place the yoga block behind your right foot, close to the heel.

4. Reach your arms out to the sides, and extend towards the right side till your arm comes to rest on the block. Lift through your chest and extend your left arm up towards the sky.

5. Engage your core and ensure your body is linear, meaning you are not hunching or arching your back.

PRO TIP: Adjust the block’s height based on your needs so you are in proper alignment and still feeling a good stretch.

 UTTANASANA (STANDING FORWARD FOLD)  

The standing forward fold provides a good stretch for the hips, hamstrings, and calves while strengthening the thighs and knees. However if you have a stiff back or tight calves and hamstrings, reaching your fingers to the floor can seem like a daunting task. 

Using blocks gives you extra length and more control over how deeply you extend so that, instead of struggling to reach your toes, you can focus on expanding and extending while maintaining the posture.

Standing Forward Fold with yoga blocks:

  1. Start in Mountain Pose with your feet shoulder width apart and place two blocks in front of your feet.
  2. Extend your arms up to the ceiling, engage your core and use it to fold at your hips and start extending forward and towards the ground.
  3. Allow your hands to come to rest on the yoga blocks when you feel your spine starting to curl and you begin to feel a stretch.
  4. Adjust the height and the distance of the yoga blocks to suit you.
  5. Keep your legs strong and rooted to experience the full benefit of the posture.

PRO TIP: Keeping the yoga blocks farther away allows you more control for a milder stretch, while pulling them closer towards your feet will provide a deeper stretch in the hamstrings and hips.

ADHOMUKHASWANASANA (DOWNWARD FACING DOG)

This is the asana that inspired our logo Done properly and consistently, the downward facing dog rewards you with stronger hands, wrists, lower-back, hamstrings, calves and ankles. Downward Facing Dog is commonly referred to as a resting pose in yoga, but if you have tried Downward Dog as a beginner, you know it feels like anything but a resting pose.

If your hamstrings are tight and it's difficult to straighten the legs or reach the heels toward the floor, your body will probably compensate by rounding your spine.

Elevating your upper body will take the pressure off your wrists, balancing your body weight, and allow you to comfortably sink deeper into the pose to improve your overall flexibility. 

  1. Start in tabletop position. Grab two blocks and place them underneath your palms, right below your shoulders.
  2. Tuck your toes in and on your exhale, press with you palms and your feet, lift your knees off the ground and push your hips up and back.
  3. Use the elevation of your upper body to help you draw your heels closer towards the mat.
  4. Engage your core and work on opening the back of your knees and thighs.

 PROTIP: Remember to still engage your core, arms, and legs as you would in this pose without blocks.

 USTRASAN ( CAMEL POSE)

The Camel Pose works wonders for the back body. It improves spinal flexibility, opens up the hips and adds flexibility to the upper back and shoulders. It also works towards opening the chest area of the body. However, a tight pelvic area, shoulders and arms prevent you from experiencing the benefits of this pose.

Yoga blocks provide you with extra length so you are not forced into a backbend you are not ready for. Instead, you can control how deep your body can go and gradually progress as you gain more flexibility.

Camel Pose with yoga blocks:

  1. Kneel on the floor with your knees hip width and thighs perpendicular to the floor.
  2. Place a block on either side of your feet right next to your heels on its tallest height.
  3. Rest your hands on the back of your pelvis, bases of the palms on the tops of the buttocks, fingers pointing down.
  4. Lift up tall through your chest towards your chin as you get ready, then Maintain the position of your chest as you reach your hands back one at a time to touchdown on the block.
  5. Maintain your hips forward so that they stay over your knees.
  6. Allow yourself to come into a mild backbend (as much that is comfortable for you) and let your gaze fall backwards.
  7. Come out of the pose by first bringing one hand at a time back onto your hips then lift up to a neutral spine.

PRO TIP: Come out of the pose by first bringing one hand at a time back onto your hips then lift up to a neutral spine.

Click here to buy Proyog Natural Neem Wood Blocks.

 


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