The yoga accessories were popularized by B.K.S. Iyengar as tools to help the body allow a deeper perception of the alignment of a yoga posture. Yoga bricks are more often used as an extension of the hands, but they are also used to support the back, the head, the hips and to deepen the knowledge of the alignment. A yoga block is more useful for all who are beginning Yoga practice and for those who suffer injuries or other physical limitations, but more advanced practitioners resort to accessories to safely learn new challenging asanas.
When buying a yoga brick (see Amazon), you should consider the size, material, cost and how many you will need.
The declared ideal size of B.K.S Iyengar for a yoga brick is 22.8 x 11.4 x 7.6 cm, but you will find blocks that are larger or smaller. The choice of a larger or smaller block will depend on the size of your hands and the level of your flexibility. If you have small hands and it is quite flexible, you should consider a block of smaller size. Conversely, if you have bigger hands and less flexibility, think about choosing a bigger block, the brick should be adjusted perfectly to the size of your hand, once the practice has begun the brick should move without difficulty so as not to interrupt the rhythm of your yoga session.
Originally, the yoga bricks were made exclusively of wood, but now the blocks also come in foam and cork. Hollowed wooden yoga bricks are often made of bamboo, birch, maple, pine, balsa and poplar. The harder woods will be more durable, while the softer woods will be lighter. The wooden blocks are comparatively hard and heavy (they usually weigh between 700 and 1,200 grams) but they are very resistant, aesthetically pleasing and will last you a lifetime. As disadvantages of wooden blocks we note that they are expensive, they become slippery with sweaty hands, they can slip when placed on a wooden floor and do not always stack very well.
Cork yoga bricks can be greener than wood bricks (depending on how the wood and cork are harvested) and cork blocks are softer and weigh less than wood (between 450 and 900 grams). They stack and store well, but unfortunately the cork absorbs sweat and odors, which can eventually make them smell unpleasant and tend to splinter and crack with use, it is very important to acquire a quality cork brick.
Yoga foam bricks are cheaper than cork and wood, are lighter (weigh between 90 and 350 grams) and are very soft. Due to its low cost, durability and ease of cleaning, they are the most common blocks found in yoga centers. The disadvantages of foam blocks are that the foam can get dirty and wear easily, and they are not as green as wood or cork. Sometimes, you may also feel fragile or less stable when used as support.
Most of the time you will only need a yoga block, but it is very likely that you will regret not having bought two. First, you will have a matching set and you will not need to remember the size, brand and color later. Secondly, you may often find that having a block in each hand or stacked blocks offers more support, which will lead to a greater variety of postures you can try during your practice.