Props can add incredible value and creativity to a yoga practice. A common misconception about props is that they are only used by beginners, or that they only make poses “easier.”
While props can be used to make certain postures more accessible, they can also be used to add a layer of complexity to your practice. Here are four ways to incorporate blocks into your balance practice to bring on a new level of challenge.
1. Warrior III
Starting from Mountain Pose, ground down through all four corners of your left foot - this will be your standing leg. Hold your block in your left hand. Come to the ball of your right foot and float your leg up, leaning your torso forward to become parallel with your mat. As you arrive, place your block vertically between your shoulder blades. (If you’re practicing with someone else or in a group, have the teacher or another student place the block on your back for you.) Keep your block as still as possible. Hold the pose for ten breaths.
2. Half moon
Begin from a High Lunge with your left foot forward and a block in your right hand. Firm down through your left foot. As you start to lift your right leg and bring it parallel to your yoga mat, open your right hip by pointing your right toes out and away from your body, your torso facing the right side of the room. Ground your left palm down underneath your left shoulder and stack your right shoulder over the left. Bend your right hand so your palm faces the ceiling and place your block on your palm on the shortest height. Hold the pose for ten breaths.
In Mountain Pose, stand with your left foot on your block with the long edges of your feet parallel with the long edges of your block. This will be your standing leg. Allow for a slight bend in your left knee as you cross your right thigh over your left. Point your right toes down toward your mat. Hook your right leg behind your left.
To incorporate your eagle arms, cross your left elbow over your right, making an “X” with your arms straight out in front of you. Bring your palms to the opposite shoulders, then lift the arms, making an “X” in front of your face. Cross the arms once more so the palms are touching. Hold the pose for ten breaths.
In Mountain Pose, place a block on your head on the shortest height. Shift your weight into your left foot and come on the ball of your right foot. Start by placing the sole of your right foot onto your inner left ankle. Slide your foot up to your calf. If accessible, bring your right foot to your inner left thigh. (If your foot lands between your calf and thigh on your knee, slide your foot back down to your calf to avoid placing undue pressure on your knee). Hold the pose for ten breaths.
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