Your Complete Guide to Yoga Blocks

Why You Need a set of blocks, and how to choose the yoga blocks that will make your practice better

Yoga blocks improve the safety of your practice and help make challenging poses more accessible. Here's what to look for.

Yoga blocks are one of the few essential props for home or studio yoga. They provide support, help with balance, and are needed in positions such as “puppy pose” or “supported fish” to go deeper into the stretch. Having two blocks of the same size will make a range of asanas more accessible as a beginner, and provide even experienced yogis with new options and customization. We’ll be covering the size options, materials, and price range to help you find the best blocks to work with your yoga practice.

What Makes a Good Yoga Block?

Yoga blocks are evenly-sized props used for balance and support. When looking for your blocks, they should be:  

  • Firm and sturdy - this is an advantage that blocks have over pillows or other home props. They should provide consistent support that’s the same for every session, stay in one place, and act as a “set and forget” object that you can rely on during your practice.
  • Matching - Your blocks should be the same size so that you have even support when you need it.
  • Something you like - Blocks can be a pretty inexpensive prop, and even the cheap sets come in a few different colors. As long as your set is sturdy and matching, everything else is down to personal preference - they’re blocks, you lean on them, there's a lot less to worry about than with mats or other equipment.

Pretty much all yoga blocks are designed to do the same thing, and they do that thing just fine. Some are lighter, firmer, or heavier, and if your hands sweat a lot during class it may be worth upgrading your material, but otherwise, find something you like and feel comfortable with. 

So What is the Best Yoga Block?

The best block is whatever feels comfortable for you. If your hands sweat or your mat feels slippery, try cork blocks; cork is also a great choice if you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your props. Foam will be the cheapest, and come in the best variety, while wood or bamboo offers the firmest feel (but not the most stability). We’ll be covering each of these in depth, but if you just want the top picks for each style, here are some great options for your practice:

These are really solid starter blocks that come in at around $10 for the set. If you just want blocks that work, these are a good choice.

They’re quality, eco-friendly and upfront about their materials. These are premium blocks, but for more cork options (including some cheaper sets) read on. 

One of the better wood/bamboo blocks, but still not the best block for most people. 

Yoga Block Standard Sizes

How big is a yoga block? One of the nice things about blocks is that the sizing is pretty standard, and there are only two common options:

  • Thin blocks: 6in tall x 9in long x 3in thick (15.25 x 23 x 7.6cm)
  • Thick blocks: 6in tall x 9in long x 4in thick (15.25 x 23 x 10cm)

The size you get depends on personal preference, but in general, I’ve found the 4” thick blocks (also called “studio size”) to be more versatile. Just be sure to have two of the same size.

Yoga Block Materials

Foam Yoga Blocks

Cost

Grip

Density

Eco-Safe

Most yoga blocks are foam, and most block-foam is a material called EVA, or ethylene-vinyl acetate. Beyond blocks, EVA is used in a lot of athletic and water-proof products, including pool noodles, flip-flops, foam boards, and more. Unlike PVC, which is used in a lot of yoga mats, EVA is a recyclable foam not made with phthalates (though at the moment very few companies recycle it). This makes it better but not great for the environment, as it can still produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as it decomposes.

As yoga props, EVA blocks are cheap, easy to find, and provide great support for pretty much all types of yoga. They’re also lightweight and less firm than materials like cork, so if you prefer a little bit of give in your props, foam blocks are a good choice.

Foam Block Pros

Foam blocks are cheap, durable, and very easy to find. They’re also the lightest material, making them easy to transport and move around during your yoga practice. Because the material is so easy to manufacture, there’s a wide range of styles, densities, and colors, making it easy to get any aesthetic you want.  Any decent foam block should have a precise, consistent size, so you can feel confident in having even support in challenging poses. 

Foam Block Cons

Foam blocks don’t naturally grip or stay in place as well as a material like cork, especially when wet. This isn’t an issue for most yoga styles, but if you’re spending a lot of time in hard poses or if your hands end up sweating, it might be worth an upgrade. Some foam blocks are textured to help with grip, but it’s uncommon and doesn’t make a ton of difference. Unless you look for heavy foam, they’re also less dense and lighter, which can be good or bad depending on how much you like a solid feel.

Cork Yoga Blocks

Cost

Grip

Density

Eco-Safe

Natural cork is a quality, versatile, truly sustainable material that’s made from sheets of tree bark. What makes this plant product so special is that harvesting the bark doesn’t kill the tree – it’s more like shearing a sheep than chopping down a forest, and each tree can be harvested every 9 years for more than 150 years in total. Cork blocks are generally heavier and denser than foam; if you’re looking for support, cork is a good place to start.

When you’re picking a cork block set, check the sizes. A lot of cork sets come in just under the standard block measurements (around 8.5” x 5.75” x 3.75”), and if you’ve done a lot of yoga, you can feel the difference.

Top Cork Blocks

These premium cork blocks are foam free, biodegradable, and made to last. At over 2lbs each, they’re heavy, so if you’re looking for something sturdy and reliable, these are a great pick. 

Good Budget Cork

This is a full-size set of cork blocks that are less expensive but still provide a nice, heavy feel. They’re a little bit more delicate, but still durable enough for a regualr practice. 

Jade Yoga Blocks

These blocks are sold as singles, but they are very high quality. Made from Portuguese sustainable cork, they come in small and full-size, and will also last a long time in your practice. 

Cork Pros

Quality cork provides a little extra grip when it gets wet – this can be great for extra balance and to reduce slipping during hot yoga, or if your hands tend to sweat during a class. Stains are easy to clean with a mix of vinegar, water, and a touch of essential oil, and sunlight also helps in reducing any marks on the cork’s surface. These blocks are also heavier than foam, which can be a good or bad thing, but in general adds some heft and stability to the block placement.

Cork is significantly more eco-friendly than foam, and can be recycled or broken down when the blocks are no longer in use.

Cork Cons

There’s not a lot of quality control with cork blocks, and the cork can be mixed with foam and not listed in the materials. Check for 100% cork, solid cork, and information about where the cork is from to ensure that you’re getting a good product. Lower-quality blocks can chip, scratch, and mold quickly, while still being double the cost of standard foam.

Bamboo and Wood Yoga Blocks

Cost

Grip

Density

Eco-Safe

In general, wood and bamboo blocks are much nicer in theory than they are in practice. 

Wood is very firm, and when polished to remove splinters and improve appearance, tends to be slick on your hands and on the mat. There’s also a safety concern – think of inverted or head-down poses, then think of landing face-first into a 9″ brick of wood if you lose your balance. Falling is never fun, but it’s a big part of yoga and foam or cork will be easier to recover from when it happens.

We’ve listed some of the better versions below, but really, it’s not the best choice for most people. Especially if you’re new to yoga, get something a little bit more forgiving.

If you really want to use wood, these are nice blocks. They come as singles, so be sure to pick up two.

Practicing hand balance using undersized blocks is when bamboo can actually come in handy. These are smaller, have a grip on the bottom, and are useful for specialty training. 

Wood and Bamboo Pros

It looks nice, and depending on how it’s harvested can be very environmentally friendly. Some specialty and meditative practices can benefit from wood blocks.

Wood and Bamboo Block Cons

They’re hard, they’re slick, and there are so many better choices out there. If you like the natural feel and sustainability, cork has that too, and a set of wood blocks costs about the same as some super high-quality cork. Unless you’re experienced in yoga and are looking for a very firm block for a particular type of practice, go for other materials.

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