Perhaps you’re halfway through your yoga class, and the instructor tells you to take out your yoga block for the next pose. Everyone around you calmly gets their blocks ready, and you’re sitting there wondering where you missed the memo – what even is a yoga block?
Yoga blocks are often used to modify or deepen certain poses, so they’re great for beginners and advanced yogis alike. However, not everyone has a yoga block. Luckily, there are a few things you can substitute for a yoga block that will work perfectly fine. Here are a few ideas.
Yoga Block Substitutions
There’s no need to panic when your yoga teacher instructs the class to grab their yoga blocks, even if you don’t have one. While producing a yoga block substitute out of thin air in a yoga studio can be tricky, they might have things you can use as a substitute. If you’re at home, you’ll have access to more items, so the substitution process is more manageable.
Many hardcover books are the perfect size for substituting as a yoga block. They offer plenty of stability for specific poses, such as standing poses and sitting asanas. Of course, you need to be careful, especially if you use a stack of books, as they might slide around. That said, books will do in a pinch.
A blanket can be the perfect yoga block substitute. You can roll it tightly or fold it into a small cube, which acts like a yoga block. Adjust the folds to achieve the right height, then use it throughout your yoga flow whenever you need a block.
If you fold the blanket into a cube, it’ll work very similarly to a block. Of course, it’s much softer than most yoga blocks, so it’s not as stable, but if you need a bit of extra height to intensify the challenge or modify a pose, it’ll do.
Foam rollers are excellent for rolling out tight, sore muscles (even though it hurts), but that’s not their only use. If you’re short a yoga block, use the foam roller to add a bit of height. While it isn’t ideal for stability poses since it’s round and might roll away, it works great for bringing the floor up to meet you.
An Extra Yoga Mat
If you have an extra yoga mat lying around, use it as a yoga block. You can roll it up tightly and secure it with yoga straps (if you have them) or string. While it isn’t an exact replica of a yoga mat, it’ll work for various poses requiring a yoga mat.
Like blankets, towels will also work as a yoga block substitute. While they might not be as silky soft as a blanket, you can fold them up for the perfect yoga block alternative. Fold the towel into a tight rectangle, then use it for support or added height as needed.
A few firm pillows will work if you don’t have the other materials on hand. Soft, downy pillows won’t work very well, but if you have a few firmer pillows, you can stack those (or fold one in half) to use as a yoga block. Remember to proceed with caution if you stack or fold the pillows, as they could slip and cause you to fall in certain poses.
While they’re not overly stable, a cardboard box will work for specific applications. If you simply need a bit of added height, use a small cardboard box to “raise” the floor. Be sure not to put too much weight on the box, or it’ll collapse in on itself.
Get creative and add some weight to the box if you’d like. Then, you can put more weight on it without too much of an issue. For example, stack a few similarly sized books in the box and tape it shut.
If the other options aren’t working for you, go on a hunt for things around your home that will work as a yoga block substitute. You could use a shoebox filled with clothes, books, or paper. Or, seal the paint can in your garage and use it for extra support.
Grab a box of wipes or something in your pantry, garage, or laundry room that is similar in size to a yoga block and will offer adequate support.
How Do You Make Homemade Yoga Blocks?
If you’re feeling creative, you can create your own homemade yoga block with items around your home. For example, use a rectangular chunk of solid wood from outside. Sand it down to make it level (and splinter-free) and remove any bark in the way.
Or, enlist the help of a cardboard box from items you received in the mail. Fill the box with sturdy books, foam, or another filler material. Tape the box to secure it, then use it as a block. You can even paint the box or create a design with colored tape.
Alternatively, if you have foam leftover from a seat cushion project, you can repurpose a chunk of that as your yoga block. Get creative with items around your house, but be sure to choose materials wisely, as you don’t want something that’ll slip out from under you or collapse mid-pose.
Do I Really Need Yoga Blocks?
Yoga blocks aren’t technically required for practicing yoga. That said, they are helpful props for yogis at any skill level. They can help you advance certain moves and modify others.
For example, certain seated poses may be challenging if you have tight hips or hamstrings. Adding a yoga block under your hips can give you a bit of added height to make the pose easier for you. When you’re ready, remove the block and challenge your flexibility.
Or, perhaps, you’re an advanced yogi. Use the block as a prop to deepen certain poses and challenge your strength and flexibility even more.
However, if you don’t have a yoga block, there’s no need to worry. You can still attend class and make do without a yoga block. Simply ask your instructor for modified poses or alternative moves without the block.