Brick or Block and when to use them?
You’ve seen them in our Brixton studio; that rack of purple foam rectangles in varying sizes and lengths. The humble yoga block. Some classes, like IN and Deep Core require you to have your own stack and strap. For others, like Fierce Grace using a prop is optional.
Isn’t it cheating?
Definitely not. It’s a myth that using a block or brick in a hot yoga class is reserved only for beginners or those with injuries. Some people see the usage of ‘props’ during class as a weakness, not being able to perform the full posture or maybe they simply don’t know how to use them.
Bricks and blocks are there to enhance your practise by creating space, acting as a support and deepening your stretch. You wouldn’t judge a builder or a dentist for using the best and correct tools for the job, so why not elevate your stretch in class by using the appropriate prop? So grab your purple foam and let’s explore!
Brick, Block or Wedge. What’s the difference?
A good question to start with. Be aware the terms yoga brick and yoga block are used interchangeably. However, these can be distinguished by thickness. A brick may be slimmer, about two inches thick, while a block can be three inches thick or more. Essentially a brick looks more like… well, a building brick and a block is longer and flatter. The wedge, with its tapered edge is different once again, in that it’s particularly for those with wrist issues and can be used under the heal of the palm. Which postures are prop friendly?
Supported Chest Opener
Find this variation of ‘fish’ posture at the end of IN class. A heart opening, breath opening, deep realise for chest and neck. Bricks are placed between shoulder blades and the back of the head. The framework provided by the bricks allows us to relax completely, encouraging stubborn postural tension to dissolve from the pectoralis major and minor muscles.
Another IN class gem – this posture is subtle stretch for our primary hip flexor. The brick is placed at the base of the hips, under the sacrum. The blocks supports a more gentle hip extension, allowing us to stay for a longer period of time, gradually relaxing deep tension out of the psoas. Mmmm…
Another deep stretch for those hips, hamstrings and quadriceps – which are know to hold much tension. The block forms a higher platform, allowing us to move from straight arms to assist the forearms lying flat. If you’ve never used a block, this one is a great introduction and a core posture found in many Fierce Grace classes.
An exceptionally good posture for creating space within your body, challenging the muscles throughout, building strength and stability. Create hight between yourself and the floor with an upwards facing brick: experience deeper alignment of the hips and shoulders. Using a brick here is an excellent transition tool for feeling your way into stacked hips and shoulders.
Wow, this posture can be a challenge! Go wild and use two bricks here, one on each side to allow the hips to sink a little deeper and keep the body upright. Start with bricks upright, then move them onto their side – it’s a process and will take time, but the sensation of alignment is second to none.
Deep stretching and props go hand in hand. Pigeon posture can get all kinds of junk our of you trunk and it’s another fire posture from the Fierce Grace system, Use a block under the hip of the leg that is facing forward, aligning the hips and moving towards the floor. Alternatively, if you’re deep into the stretch, you can also use a block flat on the floor for resting your forehead. A little bit of elevation goes long way.
No Block Shame
Personalise your practise and find out what works for you. Experiment with props and get creative. There’s no shame in using props to tailor postures to your needs. It’s very much a journey and each day will feel different.
Blocks, bricks and wedges can act as a barometer of where your body sits on a flexibility spectrum. Our purple foam assistants give us feedback and highlight awareness on any imbalances, tension and developments within our body.
Next time your take class, be it your 1,000th or your 1st time at the studio – why not test the waters, grab some props and experience a posture in a new way?
Book your next class here