Yoga blocks are a helpful accessory used in yoga that supposedly has all sorts of health benefits, including releasing tension and avoiding injury. Of course, in order to obtain those health benefits, you’ll have to find a yoga block of the right size. So, what is the right size?
A yoga block will typically measure 3 or 4 inches deep, 6 inches wide, and 9 inches long. However, there are also 5-inch-deep blocks for taller yogis. The yoga block size you choose depends on how tall you are and how far you have come in your yoga journey.
In this guide, I’ll explain yoga blocks in greater detail, including their sizes, what they’re made of, why you might need one, and how to choose the right yoga block.
Standard Yoga Block Sizes
When it comes to yoga block sizes, there are two measurements you’ll come across most often: 3 × 6 × 9 inches and 4 × 6 × 9 inches (D × W × L). The one-inch difference in depth might not mean much, but it can mean a world of difference if you’re not used to using the yoga accessory.
Why Does Size Matter?
The yoga block should be easy to grip for support while you perform different poses. As such, it shouldn’t be overly wide that your hands have difficulty gripping onto both sides of the block as you lift your back and bottom off the floor.
It shouldn’t be overly tall either, especially if you’re unaccustomed to lifting your body so far off the ground or don’t have the physical strength to hold yourself at awkward angles.
The good thing is that yoga blocks come in a variety of sizes. There are even half yoga blocks that are much smaller than the standard block, which serves to assist people whose yoga experience and height fall somewhere in the middle.
What Are Yoga Blocks Made of?
There are three main materials that go into a yoga block—bamboo, cork, and foam.
Bamboo Yoga Blocks
In the past, yoga blocks were made exclusively of pine wood and bamboo. The material could withstand pressure and moisture, and it created an anti-slip surface that was great for beginner yogis, especially during the warmer seasons.
In modern times, you’ll almost never find wooden yoga blocks as they have been substituted for bamboo.
As great as bamboo and wooden yoga blocks are, they can be quite bulky, making them unsuitable for taking to yoga sessions. However, for at-home exercising, a bamboo yoga block can be a sturdy option on carpets and for intense yoga practice.
Cork Yoga Blocks
Yoga blocks made of cork are lightweight and easy to transport, and they typically come at a more affordable price than their wooden or bamboo alternatives.
Even though they do have a slight give when under pressure, they’re not hard on the hands or joints, making them suitable for beginners and older yogis.
Due to its spongy texture, cork yoga blocks can easily absorb water, making them less slippery due to sweat and ambient humidity. The downside is that they can absorb a lot of water, so they get dirty and smelly quite often.
Foam Yoga Blocks
In this day and age, the majority of yoga blocks you’ll come across are made entirely out of foam. It’s even more affordable than the other types, and its squishy texture provides a bit of a cushion for yogis with aching joints. This affords them the ability to perform more challenging poses without causing too much strain on their arms, shoulders, and backs.
Sadly, foam yoga blocks are a lot more prone to damage due to its squishy nature. In addition, they also absorb moisture, so you’ll need to clean hem often to remove sweat from their porous structure.
How to Choose the Right Yoga Block
If you’re serious about using a yoga block to improve stability and endurance, then you should consider the following:
Earlier, I went over the various yoga block sizes and why it matters. Now, to choose the correct size, you will have to consider your stature and your yoga experience.
3-inch-deep yoga blocks are considered to be the best option for those under average height, especially when tucked between your thighs as a spacer. 4-inch-deep yoga blocks are what most consider to be the standard, which is perfect for average-height users who practice yoga regularly.
Big blocks are those that measure at least 5 inches deep, 6.75 inches wide, and 12 inches long. This type of block is for those who have surpassed the need for shallower blocks and are looking to arch their backs even further.
The weight of the block is correlated to the material used to construct it. Wooden and bamboo yoga blocks are the heaviest, so they’re not as easy to transport, but they make for the perfect yoga accessories for at-home sessions.
Cork and foam yoga blocks are ideal for taking to the studio if you’re uncomfortable using the blocks your trainers provide. Plus, when you inevitably drop the block on the ground, it won’t cause irreparable damage to the studio’s floor, which might cost you quite a bit to fix if you were to drop a wooden block.
The stability of the yoga block is determined by both material and size. Some users might feel comfortable teetering on top of a thin 3-inch block, while others might want more surface area to stop them from falling over.
As for the material, wood, and bamboo, while heavy, need to grip onto carpeting or a yoga mat to prevent them from slipping. Cork and yoga blocks don’t slip around as easily on bare floors.
Though the name yoga block would suggest that they are blocks, they can actually come with curved or rounded edges that make them more comfortable to grip. There are also egg-shaped blocks that support the contour of your back. The only way to know which shape to get is to give them all a try.