James Dickinson - June 07 2021
Blocks and Bricks – Size matters but they can both have the same purpose
Blocks (larger than house bricks can be called blocks) and bricks (blocks the size of a house brick) are a useful part of a yogi's toolbox as they provide the means to allow a greater variety of poses and sequences that use muscles that usual practices fail to engage. The size of a block or brick is also important. The most popular size in Europe is brick sized at 23cm x 12cm x 7.5cm and these are suitable for those with average-sized hands. For those who need a larger variation, measurements of around 22.8cm x 15cm x 10cm may suffice. They are made from a number of different materials which all have advantages and disadvantages.
The materials used in blocks and bricks:
Foam is the lightest material used in blocks and are usually best suited for beginners or older Yogis. The cushioning provides a less strenuous experience when holding poses for long periods of time. Over time the body adapts to suit the style of the Yogi and becomes tougher. Once proficiency is gained, more expensive blocks will become more useful. Although the material itself is slippery, there is a slightly rough texture once it has been 'worn in' which aids grip. Also the foam slightly compacts, becoming more ergonomic with the Yogis body.
Cork has excellent gripping properties, while still maintaining a certain degree of softness. They are firm enough to provide stability and are light enough to allow for minor corrections during poses. Many people cite the 'eco-friendliness' of the material and they also have natural anti-bacterial properties. Also, the grip is excellent as they soak up the moisture of sweaty palms after prolonged use and rarely become slippery.
Wood is as environmentally friendly as you can get, especially when made from sustainable bamboo. Excellent durability and therefore they have an extremely long lifespan. However, they get slippery when wet and may make certain poses more difficult if they are held for long periods of time. Heavy wood is useful for those who want a more challenging routine.