Even the most experienced yoga practitioners believe in the power of props to deepen their understanding of the most common postures. By using a block, you're giving your limbs a little extension, allowing you to sink deeper into the pose and focus on what it feels like instead of what it looks like.
- Sit on your mat with both legs together so they're straight out in front of you. Place a block on either side of your body, right next to your hips.
- Place your palms flat on the block beside your hips, and actively press into them, keeping your bottom on the floor. Keep both arms as straight as possible, and lengthen your spine, imagining it is a sturdy staff or cane someone would use to walk with. By using blocks, you're giving your arms a little leverage to help elongate your spine and drop your seat into your mat as much as possible.
- Roll your shoulders away from your ears, and tuck your chin. Engage your leg muscles, and flex your feet.
- Stay here for five deep breaths, keeping your belly still and only breathing into your ribs. Then release.
- Kneel on a mat with your knees together. Separate your feet, place a block right under your butt, and sit down. Using the block takes unnecessary pressure off the knees. Instead of focusing on the pain, it allows you to reap the quad-opening benefits of this pose.
- Use your hands to roll your calves away from your thighs. Curl the arches of your feet around the curve of your bottom, so your toes are pointing behind you and slightly toward one another.
- Rest your hands on your thighs, press your palms together in front of your chest, or raise your hands overhead. Stay here for five deep breaths.
- Begin on your hands and knees. Your wrists should be underneath your shoulders, and your knees underneath your hips.
- Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips, coming into the upside down "V" shape we know as Downward Facing Dog.
- Spread your fingers wide, and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Your heels should be slightly wider than your toes, so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat.
- Once you're in the pose, grab your block and place it between the middle of your inner thighs. Using the block will help you learn how to engage and internally rotate your legs, which is essential to eventually reaching your heels to the floor. Hold for five breaths, and release.