Stretching With Yoga Blocks
Odds are you’re also stuck at home and looking to get some physical activity. So I’d like to share with you one way we dancers love to stretch wherever we may be—theater, hotel, or home.
People usually know of the yoga block as an essential prop for, well, yoga. But we dancers also like to make use of this block. It may look like a simple piece of rectangular foam, but it actually has many uses, especially when it comes to stretching. Here are a few of our favorites:
(Note that some are simple, while others are only meant for advanced stretchers.)
1. Find a bench, shelf, or anything with just enough room underneath it for a block and your foot. Place the yoga block under it, slide your foot under the block, and slowly straighten your leg to stretch your foot.
2. Find something approximately knee-high. Bend your knees and lean them against whatever you’re using. One at a time, place the back of each foot against the floor. Now put a yoga block behind your heels and sit on top of the block. You can also do this one foot at a time. Cushioning is highly recommended for the knees and feet. I usually like to place my feet on an additional yoga block.
1. Place a yoga block on the floor, place one foot on it, and then slide back with the other foot so you go into a split. For a more challenging stretch, you can either stack a few blocks together (beware of falling blocks!), find a chair or bench and place a block on it, or stack a few yoga blocks (we have a LOT of yoga blocks) in front and behind of you.
2. Find an empty wall. Lift one leg straight up against the wall, then place the yoga block behind the heel of your elevated foot. For more of a stretch, slide your supporting foot away from the wall.
Sit on the floor in an upright split position. Slide a yoga block under each knee and slowly lean your body forward until you are lying down in a split position on the floor.
Place a yoga block on the floor and slowly lie down on your back, positioning your shoulder blades on top of the block. Lift your arms over your head back toward the floor. Pump your arms up and down for a bit of additional pressure.
Using the same method as above, place the yoga block under whichever part of your back you want to stretch.
To increase the stretch in these exercises, you can flip or rotate the block.
Do you have any other ways to stretch with a yoga block? Please let us know in the comments below.
* Note: all photos were taken last fall, prior to the 2020 tour.