by Outside Expert, Jeff Grace
One of the most versatile props used in a yoga practice is the yoga block. Blocks assist in creating better alignment, allow poses to be more accessible, support a yogi's body weight in restorative poses and provide padding for sensitive joints. Since blocks can be used in multiple ways, companies have recently put a lot more thought into designing yoga blocks that are unique and provide different functionalities.
Since blocks don't have specific technology or sophisticated attributes to evaluate, I tried to highlight some of the differences among the ones in my review -- and also what specifically they might be used for. This way, you can make a more informed purchasing decision based on how you might want to use the block in your practice.
A reminder that every individual is different and our reviews are only meant to help assist you in your purchasing decision.
Jade Yoga Balsa Superlight Block ($17.95)
Material: 100% Balsa wood
Dimensions: 2.75” x 5.25” x 8.75”
Weight: 0.7 lbs
The Jade Yoga Balsa Superlight Block is a smaller and lighter block. The balsa wood construction is sturdy and supportive with a soft quality, which creates a more comfortable feel. Being made of balsa wood, the block is also very light.
The dimensions of the block are unique in the way that it does not have the same depth as many other blocks. This aspect is great because it can be it can used to create more subtle adjustments.
Like any wood block, this block will not absorb sweat so it does have the disadvantage of then becoming more slippery, but I love the feel you get from the natural balsa.
Barefoot Yoga Bamboo Yoga Block ($19.95)
Material: 100% Bamboo
Dimensions: 9” x 5.5” x 3.5”
Weight: 1.5 lbs
The Barefoot Yoga Bamboo Yoga Block is durable and sturdy, but its hollow design does not make the block overly heavy.
With the block being 100% bamboo, it also does not feel as rigid as other wood blocks.
Like any wood block this block, this one will not absorb sweat, so it does have the disadvantage of then becoming a bit slippery.
Gaiam Foam Yoga Block ($8.86)
Material: 100% Foam
Dimensions: 9” x 6” x 4”
Weight: 1.5 lbs
The Gaiam Foam Yoga Block has a spongy feel with a good amount of give. This tends to increase the comfort of the block, but the drawback is that it doesn't feel as supportive.
This block is not heavy, but it's also not light. I'd put it as a mid-range in terms of heft.
This is a great block to use if you have sensitivity in different joints.
Everyday Yoga Four-Inch Cork Block ($12.98)
Material: 100% Cork
Dimensions: 4” x 6” x 9”
Weight: 2.2 lbs
The Everyday Yoga Four-Inch Cork Block is a rectangular block that is extremely durable and sturdy. The cork material is a good middle ground between the harsh feel of many wood blocks and the slightly less supportive feel of some foam blocks.
It is definitely heavier and more bulky than most.
This block is ideal for slower moving practices where it is used for supporting body weight or assisting in the alignment.
One downside to this block is that it will absorb sweat and overtime can become smelly. (Tip: To clean, wipe clean with a damp cloth. If needed, use an organic cleaning solution with no harsh chemicals.)
Manduka Unblok Foam Yoga Block ($24)
Material: Recycled and unrecycled foam
Dimensions: 4” x 6” x 9”
Weight: 0.6 lbs
The Manuka Unblok has a very unique design, fusing a basic rectangle with curves. This design makes the block more versatile in a few ways.
Having a similar shape to a rectangular block, it can be used in much the same way. The curves in the design aligns the block with different areas of the body. This creates different angles that are able to provide more precise alignment and support.
As an example, using this block for opening through the thoracic spine is incredible.
The block is made of very dense foam, which provides a lot of the comfort without sacrificing support. Another cool feature of this block is that the foam has a slip resistant finish.
3-Minute Egg Stability Foam Yoga Block ($21.95)
The 3 Minute Egg Stability Foam Yoga Block is another block with a very unique design. As you may have guessed, it resembles an egg.
When first introduced to this block during my yoga therapy training, I was intrigued and continue to be as I use it consistently in my own practice.
The design aligns with many of the body's natural curves extremely well, providing tremendous support.
In my own restorative practice I use them to support my legs by placing them under my thighs while placing another under my thoracic spine.
This version of the 3-Minute Egg is made of very dense foam so it is very sturdy and supportive, but also has some give to it and is very comfortable.
Halfmoon Chip Foam Block with Cover ($27.99)
Material of block: 100% Foam
Material of cover: 65% polyester/35% cotton
Dimensions: 2” x 8” x 12”
The Halfmoon Chip Foam Block with cover has much less height and depth than the other blocks reviewed. It provides support and assists in alignment in much more subtle ways.
It is constructed with very soft foam that provides comfort for those with sensitive knees, elbows and hips.
The material of the cover is very comfortable and gives the block a great amount of durability.
This block is very versatile and the go-to choice for any type of practice in which some added cushion is needed for a yoga pose without compromising alignment. The foam is dense enough to offer solid support, yet soft enough to provide padding. It can be used for seated, standing, reclined, inverted and twisted poses.
Hugger Mugger Foam Yoga Wedge ($14.95)
Material: 100% Evo Foam
Dimensions: 6” x 20” x 1”
Weight: 0.5 lbs
Until using this Hugger Mugger product, I had never used a wedge block. At first, I thought that its engineers might have been trying to be too precise, but after using it I feel the design is definitely a functional one.
At times I will use a block to raise my hips when in a seated poses. Like many, I don't always find that a smaller foam block creates the right angle that I'm looking for. The wedge allowed me to find that angle with great ease.
It is also great for those who have trouble coming into deeper squats, creating a platform to raise the heels at a gradual angle.
The downside of this block is that it is not very versatile and is not easy to transport. It's definitely a niche product but a niche that many people will want to have served with this terrific product.
Learn more about sport-specific and therapeutic yoga instructor, Jeff Grace!
He specializes in Swimming Specific Yoga and offers online classes and courses specifically for swimmers. Learn more!