• ym-workshop-banner
  • shop-banner-4
  • yoga-teens-instructor

Yoga for Shoulders- How to Use a Block

B.K.S. Iyengar pioneered the use of props to aid and assist our yoga practice years ago.  With ropes, blankets, straps, blocks and more, yoga props have greatly enhanced the modern yogi’s life.

In my class last week, I incorporated a basic block hold to teach proper shoulder action.  It’s very important to note the details of how to hold the block.  Truly, it’s more of a palm press than a “hold”.  The fingers are extended and together. The rim of the palm is what presses the block in place.

Ideally, the width of the block matches the width of the shoulders for good alignment.  Some blocks are somewhat wider than others. I distribute my wider blocks to the students with broader shoulders (usually male).

It turns out that when the hand is open, i.e. not cupped, and equally pressing around the rim of the palm, the shoulder blade muscles engage in a very useful way for proper shoulder action.

This blogpost is meant to inspire your practice, rather than provide anatomical and therapeutic detail.  It is the followup to a facebook post where I mentioned how great a practice my class had with the block and these actions.  Those in the YogaMinded facebook community  who responded “show us”, this is for you.   I hope it helps and would love to hear your feedback.

The following photos illustrate the main part of the sequence I taught, photos courtesy of my six-year-old daughter.

1) Lying over a block at the shoulderblades.

Take extra care with the placement of the shoulder blades on top of the block.  If it is not in the proper place, the desired awareness is not created.

Hands pressing block, block close to chest elbows bent.

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

Hands pressing block, block extended away from body, arms straight.

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

 

Hands pressing block, block extended away from body, arms straight, and arms raised overhead.

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

2.) Namaste Hands

Note the difference between the press of the hand on the thumb side versus the baby finger side in all three of the following positions.

Namaste Hands, Block Wide

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

Namaste Hands, Block Narrow

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

Namaste Hands, No Block

Namastenoblcok

3) Sun Salutations while holding block

In Tadasana, block close to chest, elbows bent.

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

In Urdvha Hastasana, block extended away from body, arms straight.

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

Proceed to slight back extension.

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

In Uttanasana, gradually placing block on floor.

Lunge or Warrior 1 prep, block close to chest elbows bent.

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1) with arms overehad,block extended away from body, arms straight, and arms raised overhead.

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

Without block: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog), Plank, Low Plank (Caturanga Dandasana), Upward Dog (Urdvha Mukha Svanasana), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog)

Other side, Lunge or Warrior 1 prep, block close to chest elbows bent.

Other side, Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1) with arms overehad,block extended away from body, arms straight, and arms raised overhead.

Uttanasana, collecting block

Urdvha Hastasana, block extended away from body, arms straight.

Proceed to slight back extension.

Tadasana, bringing block to chest.

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

4.) For fun and continued use of the block, add in Vasistasana, after Virabhadrasana 1, balancing block on flexed hand. Emphasize the placement of the shoulderblade deep against the back ribs, especially on the weight-bearing side.

 

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

5.)  Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3), hands pressing block, block close to chest elbows bent.

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3), hands pressing block, block extended away from body, arms straight, and arms raised overhead.

 

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

Second time Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3), add standing on another block

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

 

6. Paschima namaskarasana (Reverse Namaste)

YogaMinded.com

YogaMinded.com

 

Speak Your Mind

*