How to Use a Yoga Block to Make 10 Common Poses Easier or Harder

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Using yoga blocks during certain yoga poses can make them easier or harder, depending on your preference.
Image Credit: Sara Monika/Image Source/GettyImages

If you're new to yoga or even if you've been doing it for years, chances are, you use yoga blocks in your practice.

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But if you want to start using yoga blocks and just aren't sure how start including them in your practice, there are many ways to do so. And while it's true that yoga blocks can help make certain poses more accessible, they can also be used to make certain yoga poses harder and deepen your stretch.

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If you're ready to explore how to use a yoga block to either modify or progress common poses, here are 10 to start with.

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1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

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Skill Level Beginner
Activity Yoga
  1. Kneel on the floor with your hips over your knees.
  2. Separate your knees about hip-width apart and bring your big toes to touch.
  3. Lower your body to rest your glutes on a yoga block underneath you.
  4. Exhale and bring your chest down toward your mat, elongating your neck and spine and stretching your tailbone down toward the floor.
  5. Stretch your arms out in front of you and rest your forehead on a yoga block placed horizontally in front of you.

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Skill Level Advanced
Activity Yoga
  1. Take two yoga blocks and place them in front of you (vertically) at the front of your yoga mat. They should be shoulder- length distance apart.
  2. To get into child's pose, kneel on the floor with your hips over your knees, separate your knees about hip-width apart and bring your big toes to touch and lower your body to rest your glutes on your heels.
  3. Exhale and bring your chest down toward your mat, elongating your neck and spine and stretching your tailbone down toward the floor.
  4. Stretch your arms out in front of you and rest your forehead on the mat. Allow your hands and forearms (or elbows) to rest on the yoga blocks.
  5. You should feel a stretch in your arms, chest and shoulders.

2. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

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Skill Level Beginner
Activity Yoga
  1. Place one yoga block (horizontally) underneath your sit bones and sit on top of it with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Relax your knees, inhale as your straighten your back and exhale as your fold forward as far as you can.
  3. Hold here, relaxing into the pose.

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Skill Level Advanced
Activity Yoga
  1. Sit on the mat with your legs out in front of you.
  2. Take a yoga block and place it horizontally at the base of your feet, gently pressing your soles into the block.
  3. Inhale as you straighten your back and exhale as your fold forward, stretching your arms out toward the yoga block and grasping the ends of it with your hands.
  4. This deepens the stretch that you’ll feel in your hamstrings, groin and spine.

3. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

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Skill Level Beginner
Activity Yoga
  1. Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides with a yoga block placed vertically in front of you.
  2. Exhale as you bend forward at the hips and let your head and arms hang gently.
  3. Allow your fingertips to gently press into the block.
  4. Leave a slight bend in your knees rather than locking them. (You can also bend your knees as much as you need to.)

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Skill Level Advanced
Activity Yoga
  1. Stand on top of two yoga blocks (one block underneath each foot) and arms at your sides.
  2. Exhale as you bend forward at the hips and let your head and arms hang gently.
  3. Press your palms on the ground or bend your elbows and cradle them in the opposite hands.
  4. Leave a slight bend in your knees rather than locking them.
  5. This progression deepens the stretch by adding more height and making it more of an intense stretch in your hamstrings.

4. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

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Skill Level Beginner
Activity Yoga
  1. Start in all fours, a yoga block placed underneath each hand, tuck your toes under and lift your hips up, straightening your legs.
  2. Draw your shoulders down your spine away from your ears. Elongate your spine and extend the backs of your legs only as far as your hamstrings allow.
  3. Depending on your flexibility, bring your heels down toward the mat or stay on the balls of your feet with your knees bent.
  4. After a few breaths, bring your knees back down to the ground in the starting position.

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Skill Level Advanced
Activity Yoga
  1. Start in all fours, a yoga block placed underneath each foot, tuck your toes under and lift your hips up, straightening your legs.
  2. Draw your shoulders down your spine away from your ears. Elongate your spine and extend the backs of your legs only as far as your hamstrings allow.
  3. Depending on your flexibility, bring your heels down toward the mat or stay on the balls of your feet with your knees bent.
  4. After a few breaths, bring your knees back down to the ground in the starting position.

5. Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

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Skill Level Beginner
Activity Yoga
  1. Start standing, then take a huge step forward.
  2. Bend your front knee to 90 degrees, keeping your knee over your front foot and bend your back knee to touch the ground.
  3. Support yourself by placing each hand on a yoga block on either side of your front foot.

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Skill Level Advanced
Activity Yoga
  1. Start standing, then take a huge step forward, placing your front foot on top of a yoga block.
  2. Bend your front knee to 90 degrees, keeping your knee over your front foot and bend your back knee to touch the ground.
  3. Support yourself by placing each hand on either side of your front foot.

6. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

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Skill Level Beginner
Activity Yoga
  1. Stand with your feet slightly greater than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Point your front foot to the side and your back foot's toes straight ahead.
  3. Place a yoga block behind your front foot.
  4. Exhale to send your back hip toward your back foot and hinge at the waist toward the front of your mat.
  5. Twist your torso and reach one arm toward the floor to rest on the yoga block and the other to the ceiling. Gaze toward your top hand.

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Skill Level Advanced
Activity Yoga
  1. Stand with your feet slightly greater than shoulder-width apart, holding a yoga block in both hands.
  2. Point your front foot to the side and your back foot's toes straight ahead.
  3. Exhale to send your back hip toward your back foot and hinge at the waist toward the front of your mat.
  4. Twist your torso and extend both arms past your ears, holding the yoga block in both hands. (This not only helps strengthen your arms, but also challenges your balance.)

7. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)

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Skill Level Beginner
Activity Yoga
  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and pointed up toward the sky.
  2. Place a yoga block under your sacrum.
  3. Keep your arms down by your sides.
  4. Relax on your back, breathing deeply into your low abdomen and low back.

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Skill Level Advanced
Activity Yoga
  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and pointed up toward the sky.
  2. Place a yoga block in between your inner thighs.
  3. Keep your arms down by your sides.
  4. Squeeze your glutes and core, and press your heels into the ground to drive your hips up toward the ceiling until you form a diagonal line from knees to hips to chest. Resist the urge to arch your lower back as you raise your hips. Focus on keeping your spine in a neutral position throughout.

8. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

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Skill Level Beginner
Activity Yoga
  1. Sit on the floor with one leg bent in front of you (as much as possible) and the other leg extended behind you.
  2. Place a yoga block underneath your front hip and thigh.
  3. Try to keep both hips pointing down toward the floor and your front shin as parallel to the front of the mat as possible.
  4. Rest your hands on your thighs, hips or out in front of you.

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Skill Level Advanced
Activity Yoga
  1. Sit on the floor with one leg bent in front of you (as much as possible) and the other leg extended behind you.
  2. Place a yoga block in front of you toward the edge of your mat.
  3. Try to keep both hips pointing down toward the floor and your front shin as parallel to the front of the mat as possible.
  4. Fold forward over your front leg, bringing your forehead down to rest on the yoga block with your arms stretched out toward the from of your mat.

9. Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

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Skill Level Beginner
Activity Yoga
  1. Lie on your back with your arms extended alongside your body.
  2. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together.
  3. Allow your knees to fall out to either side as far as they can go.
  4. Place a yoga block underneath both thighs for support.

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Skill Level Advanced
Activity Yoga
  1. Lie on your back with your arms extended alongside your body.
  2. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together.
  3. Allow your knees to fall out to either side as far as they can go.
  4. Place a yoga block between your shoulder blades and another yoga block underneath your head to create a gentle chest opener.

10. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

Image Credit: Shawna Davis
Skill Level Beginner
Activity Yoga
  1. Lie on your back with your legs together and arms close to your body — one yoga block should be placed lengthwise to rest in between your shoulder blades and another yoga block should be positioned perpendicular underneath your head.
  2. Inhale as you arch your upper back and come onto the crown of your head.
  3. Hold and breathe.

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Skill Level Advanced
Activity Yoga
  1. Lie on your back with your legs together and arms close to your body — one yoga block should be placed lengthwise to rest in between your shoulder blades and another yoga block should be positioned perpendicular underneath your head.
  2. Inhale as you arch your upper back and come onto the crown of your head.
  3. Reach your arms over your head and bring the soles of your feet together to deepen the stretch in your chest, while also stretching your inner thighs and groin.
  4. Hold and breathe.

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