What Does Deepen Your Practice Mean
Lets talk about the phrase deepen your practice for just a second. If youre new to yoga, this might sound like intimidating wording.
But dont worry, it doesnt only mean to stretch deeper.
If we go deeper into the meaning, we find that it also means:
- to become or to cause something to become stronger or more powerful
- to make something fuller or more complete
So when you hear this phrase, think to expand your practice with knowledge and have a better understanding of yourself and how to calm your mind. You dont have to be at a certain level, come as you are.;
Also, keep in mind that deepening your practice is very multi-faceted can mean different things to different people.;
Contrary to popular belief, the ability to twist yourself up like a pretzel and balance on your pinky toe doesnt mean youve deepened your practice.;
So how do you avoid injury while deepening your practice?
Because hopefully, youre practicing yoga so you can be healthy not only today but for years to come.
Use Yoga Blocks To Get Into The Splits
Use Yoga Blocks to Get Into the Splits
Some yoga poses require a bit more flexibility than others. While bending your legs up and behind your head isnât for everyone, here is a way to use yoga blocks to gradually extend into the splits. For best results, practice everyday until flexibility is achieved.
- Taking your lunge to the floor, stretch both left and right inner thighs. Lean back and push into both your front and back legs as you sink.;
- Moving your body weight to the back, push back on your calf, extending the leg in front of you straight. Do this for each leg, attempting to touch your knee with your nose each time.;
- On your knees, extend each leg straight while keeping the other at a 90 degree angle to the floor. Attempt to touch your nose to knee again. Do this for each leg.
- Now, on your knees again, press your hands into the blocks as you lift your feet. Almost like a modified push up using the blocks.
- For pleasure, and an extra stretch for your back, extend back into childâs pose placing your elbows on the blocks for elevation.
- Stretch both legs out into what your current split is and hold your body weight up using the blocks. Bounce deeper into the splits to relax your thigh muscles. Donât overdo it though, considering you have to do this daily. Pointing and flexing your feet helps your muscles relax. ;
Youâll get it!
Whats The Best Type Of Yoga Block
Back in the 70s when yoga blocks were first introduced, they were most often made out of wood. While wooden blocks still exist today, most common yoga blocks are made out of foam or cork.
Foam blocks are great for beginners and anyone looking to practice restorative postures. If you often find yourself reaching for a yoga block to support your chest, forearms, or forehead in deep stretches, foam blocks are for you. They provide more comfort and cushioning than harder cork alternatives. Most yoga studios use foam blocks because they are versatile and lightweight.
We love:;Mandukas Recycled Foam Yoga Block
Cork blocks offer more stability and grip. For those wishing to build strength, choosing a heavier cork block can be a great way to add challenge in overhead block holds, drills, and core work. Cork is also the best choice if you want to practice arm balances on blocks. Since theyre made out of a natural material, cork blocks are eco-friendly!
* Yogi Tip: cover cork blocks with a yoga blanket or towel for more comfort in restorative poses
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To Bring The Floor To You
A block is a smart option for poses such as forward fold, revolved lunge , triangle/revolved triangle, and half splits to avoid poor posture and straining muscles. These are just a few of the many options.
You can use a block in any pose when you feel its a struggle to reach the floor, compromising your form and breathing.; Remember, breath is a significant part of yoga.
How Do I Know What Height Is Right
Part of the versatility of blocks comes from the fact that they have three different heights – well call them low, medium, and high.;
Because of surface area, blocks on the lowest setting are much more stable than blocks on the highest setting. In this post, we will recommend block heights for individual exercises and postures.;
If youre unsure which height is right for you, start with the most accessible height and work your way up. If your breath no longer comes easily, you may have gone too far.
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Final Thoughts On Yoga Blocks
Yoga blocks can be a wonderful addition to any practice to support, deepen, and add dimension from beginners to advanced yogis.;
Be sure to pick some up if you dont have them!
featured image credit: Koldunov / bigstockphoto.com
Bekhradi A, Wong D, Gerrie BJ, et alAlthough the injury rate of yoga is low, nearly two-thirds of musculoskeletal injuries in yoga affect the lower extremity: a systematic reviewJournal of ISAKOS: Joint Disorders & Orthopaedic Sports Medicine 2018;3:229-234.
Cramer, H., Quinker, D., Schumann, D. et al. Adverse effects of yoga: a national cross-sectional survey. BMC Complement Altern Med 19, 190 .
Loren Fishman, Ellen Saltonstall, and Susan Genis Understanding and Preventing Yoga Injuries. International Journal of Yoga Therapy: 2009, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 47-53.
Swain TA, McGwin G. Yoga-Related Injuries in the United States From 2001 to 2014. Orthop J Sports Med. 2016;4:2325967116671703. Published 2016 Nov 16. doi:10.1177/2325967116671703
Standing Splits On The Wall
Hamstrings, calves, groin
Stand a few feet in front of a wall, facing away from it. Bend at your hips into a forward fold with your fingertips on the earth. Lift one leg behind you. Bend your knee as needed to maneuver the top of your foot against the wall, then slowly straighten your back leg up the wall. Walk yourself closer to/farther from the wall as needed.
Practice without the wall
Place blocks underneath your hands/fingers
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Forward Fold With Partner
If you have a partner you could work with to assist you in obtaining a deeper stretch it would be highly recommended.
For beginners first starting out make sure you focus on being relaxed when getting pulled toward your feet. At no point should you feel extreme pain. The goal is to not hurt your body, but to allow it to relax into these poses.
If you do not have a partner, dont worry about it. To get into a deeper stretch you can use a yoga strap for assistance
Half Splits Pose Block Titles In English And Sanskrit
Many yoga poses have multiple titles because of differences in their Sanskrit to English title translationor a specific title becoming popular because of it’s common usage amongst yoga teachers and yoga practitioners. Below are common titles of Half Splits Pose Block:
- Half Splits Pose Block
- Half Monkey Pose Block
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Do I Need One Or Two Yoga Blocks
For many poses, youll need two yoga blocks. In most cases, they are used to make your arms longer, and you have two of those, too.
There are also poses where you only need one yoga block, but to make things easier, I recommend you just get two.
They dont set you back much, and this way you enough blocks in any case.
Runners Lunge On Knee
The Runners Lunge is typically the stretch you start in when preparing to do the front splits.
- Stand with your feet together.
- Step forward with your right leg with your left leg extended behind you.
- Lower your knee to the ground while keeping your front knee directly above your ankle. You should feel a stretch in your left hip flexor.
- Think about driving your left hip flexor through the ground to deepen this stretch.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat this stretch 2-3 times on each side.
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Best Flexibility Equipment To Get Your Splits
Lets be honest the more flexible you are, the better your pole moves are going to look! And the easier you will find some of them too. Not only is stretching good for your physical health, taking some time out of your day to do some flexibility poses can have great benefits on your mental health too. I know I always feel refreshed, even if I do a quick 10 minutes of stretching.
One: Supported Bridge Pose
Putting a block under your sacrum in bridge pose gives you a deeper release in the hip flexors. How high you put the block depends on how deeply you want to go into your backbend.
As you get into bridge pose with your feet hip distance apart, lift your hips and slide the block under your sacrum. I put it horizontally so its supporting my entire pelvis, but you can also put it vertically against the sacrum.
Relax your hips onto the block and clasp your hands in front of the block for more release in your lower back.
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Stretching With Yoga Blocks
Odds are youre also stuck at home and looking to get some physical activity. So Id like to share with you one way we dancers love to stretch wherever we may betheater, hotel, or home.
People usually know of the yoga block as an essential prop for, well, yoga. But we dancers also like to make use of this block. It may look like a simple piece of rectangular foam, but it actually has many uses, especially when it comes to stretching. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Find a bench, shelf, or anything with just enough room underneath it for a block and your foot. Place the yoga block under it, slide your foot under the block, and slowly straighten your leg to stretch your foot.
2. Find something approximately knee-high. Bend your knees and lean them against whatever youre using. One at a time, place the back of each foot against the floor. Now put a yoga block behind your heels and sit on top of the block. You can also do this one foot at a time. Cushioning is highly recommended for the knees and feet. I usually like to place my feet on an additional yoga block.
1. Place a yoga block on the floor, place one foot on it, and then slide back with the other foot so you go into a split. For a more challenging stretch, you can either stack a few blocks together , find a chair or bench and place a block on it, or stack a few yoga blocks in front and behind of you.
Here Is How You Can Use Yoga Blocks In Different Poses:
1. Warrior III
Use two yoga blocks under your hands for support in Warrior III.
2. Half Moon Pose
Place your hand on the block for support in Half Moon pose.
3. Standing Split
4. Extended Side Angle
Place your hand on the block inside or outside the front foot. You can start with the highest setting of the block and lower it as you gain more flexibility so that eventually you might be able to place your hand on the mat.
5. Revolved Side Angle
The same principle applies to the Revolved Side Angle pose. Use a yoga block outside your front foot as a shortcut to the floor.
You can keep your hands on the blocks in different lunge pose variations like Low Lunge, High Lunge, or Twisted Lunge if your hands dont reach the floor comfortably. Lunge poses are great for working on hip flexibilityso using the blocks will allow you to get all the benefits of the poses without worrying about upper body.
7. Lizard Pose
Use a block or two on the inner side of your front foot to make Lizard pose more accessible.
8. Standing Forward Bend
Its a common mistake to round the back while trying to reach the toes in this pose. Instead, you can use two blocks under your hands. Blocks give you extra support so you can keep the spine long as you bend forward from the hips.
9. Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold
10. Triangle Pose
11. Revolved Triangle Pose
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Whats Best: Foam Wood Or Cork Yoga Blocks
There are pros and cons to all types of yoga equipment, and yoga blocks are no exception. They come in foam, wood, and cork varieties, and generally differ on the following measures: weight, durability, sweat-absorption, rigidity, and affordability. Neither option leads in all categories, so your choice of yoga block will ultimately come down to personal preference.
Posture : Supta Padangustasana Left Leg
Length: Hold for 5 minutes
Purpose: The goal is to find overall balance in the body. Taking thi pose on the second side allows the hamstrings on the left leg to extend,;and the hip flexors on the right to lengthen. The same options for additional support apply, and another few rounds of brahmari pranayama can be utilized before settling into the stillness of the pose. Repeating a few rounds of buzzing can also be done around minute 3 to re-focus the mind.
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Hip Flexors: Psoas Muscles
Tight or weak psoas muscles may also limit your hip rotation. The psoas major is a lengthy fusiform muscle that attaches to the lower lumbar region of the spine and extends through the pelvis to the femur or upper leg . The Psoas muscle is one of the six muscles that make up your hip flexor. It allows you to bring your knee up towards your chest .;
Your hip flexors become tight over time when you sit a lot and dont stretch. If the psoas muscles are tight, it limits the rotation of the femur within the hip socket. This makes it more difficult to rotate your hips and achieve a true front split.
Dr. Eric Berg DC , a chiropractor specializing in weight loss, shows how you can identify if your psoas muscles are too tight or too weak and how to fix it in this video.
Everything You Need To Know About Yoga Blocks
Yoga blocks are probably the most used prop in yoga classes.
And yet, many beginner yogis are a little confused about the use and value of these little bricks. Why do we actually use them? And does it make sense for you to get your own? And if yes, what type should you get? What size?
So many questions!
But dont you worry! You can find all the answers here. And you even get some block exercises you can try right away.
So to get the full rundown on everything you need to know about yoga blocks: Just read through this article. Youll come out an absolute pro and have all your questions answered!
In this article:
Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
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Reclined Hand To Big Toe Pose
Hamstrings and calves
Lay down on your back and hug one knee into your chest. Reach your fingers for your toe and extend your leg skyward. Flex your toes towards your shin and as you pull your toe closer to your face.
Reach for the back of your thigh instead of your toe
Use a strap around your foot
Bend your extended leg to plant your foot on the ground
Various Dimensions Of Yoga Blocks
There are typically 3 various dimensions which are available in the market:
1. Size 9 x 6 x 4: Larger than standard blocks
2. Size 9 x 6 x 3: The standard block dimension.
3. Size 9 x 6 x 2: Thinner than standard blocks
If you have smaller sized hands, you may not wish to obtain the biggest blocks as they will certainly be tough for you to grasp. The slim blocks can be beneficial as you are developing your flexibility as well as do not require as much assistance any longer.
I recommend beginning with the standard dimension of 9 x 6 x 3, this is typically a great beginning point for every person. You can after that turn the blocks in various ways to make them short or tall.
For more information on Yoga Products mentioned on our website, product specifications, customer reviews visit the website here. We have free shipping around the world.
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Stretching Tips For Inflexible People
Here are few important points you should be aware of when starting to stretch for the pancake:
- Always focus on form before depth
- Actively stretch for 60-120 seconds
- Focus on breathing and sinking into into each stretch on the exhale
- You will see improvements in flexibility the more time you spend stretching each week
- Take progress pictures or videos at the end of your stretch