Yoga Blocks

Yoga blocks can be useful for both beginners and advanced yogis. Beginners can use blocks to help them with flexibility, especially if it is not developed yet. Advanced yogis can use blocks in balancing poses. When using a block, never sink or rest your hand fully on it. Always make sure to keep only the fingertips on the block, sort of like your hand is a suction cup. This helps to engage the muscles in the hands and arms causing less injuries. Here are some poses that use blocks.

Pigeon pose is a difficult pose to get into if your flexibility is still developing. This is where the block comes in handy.

  1. Start by standing at the front of the mat with legs hip distance apart. Bring your right leg directly behind you and bend the left knee.
  2. Place both hands to the inside of your left foot and begin to heel-toe the left foot over to the right side of the mat.
  3. Place the block directly under your hips and lay the left knee down. The block should support the hips and help them to tilt slightly forward.
  4. Make sure that the right leg is directly behind you with the toes pointed.
  5. Put both hands on either side of the body and sit up tall with the heart pointed forward. Breath into the pose.
  6. To release from this pose, either lean to the left side to move off the block and come to a seater position or tuck your right toes under and bring weight into the left foot to stand up.
  7. Repeat on the other side.

This pose often causes a lot of sensation in the hips, but the block helps to make sure that this sensation doesn’t turn into pain.

Blocks can be used for advanced yogis to practice arm balances. Astavakrasana arm balance requires a strong core and can be hard to get the needed height with just using the mat.

  1. Come into a seated position with your legs directly out in front of you.
  2. Make sure that you have two blocks, one placed on either side of your body in the shortest height. Inhale to bring the left leg up on the left shoulder.
  3. Firmly press the leg into the arm to help secure it there.
  4. Exhale and plant your hands shoulder-width apart on your two blocks.
  5. Keep pressing your left leg into your shoulder.
  6. Inhale to cross the right foot over the left and hook the ankles together. Press into your hands and exhale to slide the hips back. Inhale to look forward and lift both shoulders away from the floor.
  7. Keep the elbows bent as a 90-degree angle and exhale to press your top leg down on your arm so that your hips lift.
  8. Kick the heels out to straighten your legs and squeeze tight.
  9. The blocks allow for the body to swing a little while trying to get into this pose.
  10. Hold this pose for a few deep breaths.
  11. Bend your knees and lower them onto the ground to release.
  12. Repeat on the right side.

Yoga blocks are an amazing addition to any yogis practice. These simple little blocks are amazing! If you would like to learn more about using them, make sure to check out this video that demonstrates some exercises.

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3 Simple Yoga Poses to Help You Sleep Better Tonight

If you find yourself counting sheep night after night to no avail, it can be frustrating. We are all aware that calming your mind and settling into a relaxing place is important to ensure a restful night’s sleep. With 1/3 of adults not getting enough sleep as reported by the CDC, many are resorting to sleep aids. It’s clear that many of us need to take a look at our nightly routines and make necessary changes to help us power down for the day.

The question is what if chamomile tea and a hot bath just aren’t cutting it? Before you reach for any supplements, you might want to consider incorporating some of these yoga poses into your sleep ritual as a way to unwind and to help get some solid zzz’s. These poses help calm your nervous system after a long day and prepare the body for rest. Focusing on the breath during these poses is vital and will help your mind and body relax. All you need is a mat, your favorite pair of yoga pants & a blanket is optional but recommended. Hold each pose for two minutes or more if you feel comfortable. Try one or all of these tonight and be prepared to wake up well rested and energized!

Dead Hang (Uttanasana)

This pose is a great one to start with because you are relaxing your entire body and letting it all hang loose. Start by standing up with your feet hip width apart. Hinge at the hip and fold forward, knees slightly bent. As your upper body moves towards the ground, try grazing your fingertips but don’t force it. Only reach as far as your body wants to go. The sole purpose of this pose is to maintain a relaxed position, letting your body fall naturally. To come out of the pose, slowly roll up to standing, keeping the breath slow and controlled. Let you head hang and come up last to avoid getting dizzy. Avoid this pose if you have high blood pressure.

Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is a restorative pose, perfect for everyone. Start in a seated position, sitting directly on your heels. Keep your hips back and fold forward as your chest rests on the ground. Stretch your arms straight out in front of you, keeping your palms planted in the floor as you rest your head on your forearms. Breathe in through your nose for 3 seconds, followed by an exhale for 3 seconds.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

This final pose that is common in yoga practice is everyone’s favorite for a reason. This signals the body to relax and let every ounce of tension fade away as you collapse into the floor. Simply lie on your back and let your arms rest at your sides and your feet can flop open to whatever position is most comfortable for you. If you notice your mind beginning to drift, bring your focus back to the breath as you take in slow inhales followed by long exhales. This pose is sure to get you sleepy and you’ll be ready for bed immediately.

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