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Yoga is a very deceptively simple looking discipline, due to its gentle and calm pace. It may not seem as exhausting or challenging as other fitness disciplines. But if you have tried it for even one session, you will know how challenging some of the asanas can be!

A yoga block is also a very deceptive looking object. At first look, it is just a simple rectangular block, made of synthetic foam or wood. Only slightly larger than a regular brick, there is nothing remarkable about a yoga block.

But it is indeed a remarkable prop that can be used in dozens of ways to improve your yoga routines. Such is its versatility; you will come across this simple equipment in most yoga classes these days. Even experts use this block to enhance difficult asanas.

Another great raw material used to make yoga blocks is cork. In the following sections, we will try to explain the benefits of incorporating a cork yoga block into your yoga sessions.

Why Should You Use Yoga Blocks

There are two common misconceptions about yoga blocks:

  • Yoga should not be performed with additional equipment;
  • Yoga blocks are only for beginners.

It is true that to do yoga, all you need is a stable and flat floor. Even a yoga mat is just a useful extra accessory. According to this purist view, using a yoga block would be like “cheating,” and take away from the benefits of the pose.

This is not true. Using a yoga block can enhance the benefits of advanced yogic poses. One of the greatest exponents of modern yoga in the West, B.K.S. Iyengar incorporated various props like blocks and benches into his Iyengar yoga classes. (Source)

Examples of Exercises To Do With a Yoga Block

1. Paschimottanasana (Sitting Forward Bend)

This is one the simpler poses for beginners that can be enhanced using a yoga block. You will get better alignment, especially if your body is still only improving its flexibility.

Start by sitting on your yoga block, instead of on the floor. Try to place your weight towards the edge of the block for a better foundation. There will be a noticeable tilt of your pelvis to the front. Try to maintain this as you move your torso forward and exhale.

2. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

In this sitting pose, there is a lot of pressure on the groin region as you bring the soles of your feet together. For beginners who have yet to gain flexibility in that area, a couple of blocks can be used to improve comfort.

Place the blocks underneath the legs, in the knee area for extra support. Try flipping the blocks until you find a comfortable height. The enhanced knee support reduces the pull on the inner thighs. (Source)

3. Salamba Setu Bandhasana (Supported Bridge Pose)

This is a very popular restorative yoga pose. Restorative yoga places a lot of focus on relaxation. And additional support from a yoga block can only improve the comfort and relaxation levels.

Start the pose by lying on your back and pressing the heels into the floor. When you lift your hips off the floor, place the block below your lower back, just where the spine ends. Relax by keeping the hands at your side, or clasped underneath your body. (Source)

Benefits of Cork Yoga Blocks

As a material used for blocks, cork straddles the middle line between wood and foam very nicely. It is harder than foam blocks but softer than wood. There are several clear benefits to using cork yoga blocks. (Source)

1. Neutral color matches everything.

These blocks only come in the natural wooden color. They are a great option if you are concerned about looks. Synthetic foam blocks come in different colors, many of which can end up looking dirty and soiled fast. With cork, that is not a significant issue.

2. Does not get slippery.

Do you sweat a lot in the yoga class? All that sweat can make a foam or wood block very slippery and hard to use. Cork can absorb a lot of water. This means that a cork block will not be as slippery as other types. But you will, of course, have to clean it often.

3. Improved stability with comfort

Foam blocks are the softest but most comfortable. Wooden blocks offer better stability than cork, but the hard material is not at all comfortable. Cork is somewhere in between. It is more comfortable than wood and offers a more robust support than foam. It is perfect for poses that require a lot of balance, like Half Moon.

4. Most Eco-Friendly Option

In these days of global warming and ecological destruction, this is a very important factor. As a natural product, it is much less polluting than synthetic foam. And unlike wood, which needs the cutting of trees, cork is a renewable product. The manufacturing of cork is a fascinating process. It involves periodically cutting away the bark of the cork oak tree, every 7-10 years. The tree does not die, and the bark is allowed to grow back. (Source)

The Best Cork Yoga Blocks 2019

The Hugger Mugger block is made from higher quality cork, which makes this block lighter than other cork blocks in the market. Since it uses sustainably harvested natural cork, this is a very eco-friendly product.

The blocks are available in the standard size, which is more than enough for most folks. The block looks good in its natural cork color, with the Hugger-Mugger logo and name printed large on the side.

As this block is only available in one piece per package, you will have to buy two separately. The block has a textured surface, which makes it easy to grip. And since it is made from pure cork, it does not get slippery either.

One of the main advantages of the Peace Yoga block is the fact that they offer some choice when it comes to size. These blocks are available in two sizes, 9x6x3, and 9x6x4 inches.

The material used in the block is natural high-density cork, which makes this one of the most durable yoga blocks out there. This product comes as a set of two blocks in the package.

The overall design is also very subtle and understated, with the Peace Yoga logo and name etched in a small box in the center. The blocks are very firm and offer excellent support.

3. Manduka Cork Yoga Block

Our Rating – 9/10

The Manduka block is another product that does not use low-quality coarse-grained cork. This helps make the yoga block much lighter than cheaper options out there. If you want a yoga block that can be carried around, this might be one of the better options.

It has a standard 9x6x4 inch size and weighs around 2.5 lbs. The textured surface and soft contoured edges make this block easy to grip and hold. Manduka means “frog” in Sanskrit, and this block has the stylized brand logo discreetly etched in one corner.

If you don’t like blocks with large printed logos and names on the sides, the plain looks on this one will be to your liking. You only get one block in this package.

You should take a look at this brand just for that clever wordplay in their name alone! But quirky names aside, this is also a good quality product. You get two decent sized cork blocks in the package from HemingWeigh.

At 9x6x4 inches, this block uses the popular size configuration that most people prefer. The plain blocks have the brand logo etched discreetly in a corner. The cork wood is of high quality, resulting in a block that is durable yet comfortable. It is soft enough to be used for restorative yoga poses.

The textured surface provides improved traction, which increases the safety of this product. The curved edges also make them easy to hold, sit, or lie on.

5. Bean Cork Yoga Blocks

Our Rating – 8/10

These plain cork blocks are available in pairs and as single blocks. As with Peace Yoga set, you get two size options: the standard 9x6x4 inches version, and the slightly smaller 9x6x3 inch one.

The type of cork used in these blocks is large grain, which is considered to be the better quality option. Unlike small, coarse grain corks, the larger grained ones are more durable and do not flake very easily. As with other high-quality blocks, this one also has a textured non-slip surface for improved grip and safety. The material is also firm enough for better stability.

The logo branding is also very subtle, with a simple heart shape etched in the corner of the block.

The Best Way To Clean A Cork Yoga Block

One of the best aspects of cork is its ability to soak up a lot of water. During sweaty yoga sessions, this can make a great deal of difference. The sweat does not stay on the surface of the block. So a cork block will not get slippery, unlike a foam or wood block. But this also has a clear disadvantage. You will have to take extra care while using a cork block. To avoid funky smells, the block will need regular cleaning.

One common concern with cork blocks is the appearance of dirt stains over time. This can be countered using a wet cloth. Wipe the surface with it from time to time to easily remove the stains. If that does not work, you will need some cleaning agents. It is best to avoid strong chemical cleaning agents. Go for mild, organic cleaners like the Method All Purpose Natural Surface Cleaner.

Are Cork Yoga Blocks Better Than Foam?

The main competition in yoga blocks is between foam and cork since wood is just too heavy and hard for most people. But there is no clear winner in this contest, to be completely honest. It is mainly down to your budget and individual preferences:

  • If you want a cheaper option, foam wins against the more expensive cork blocks.
  • But if you want something that is natural and eco-friendly, it is no contest with cork being the clear winner.
  • Foam is softer and more comfortable than cork and might offer a better experience in relaxing restorative yoga poses.
  • Foam is also lighter than cork, which makes it a more travel-friendly option. But cork is also very light so that the difference might be marginal for some people.
  • And cork is more sturdy and stable, which might be better for people who need a long lasting product that offers better balance and support in poses.
  • Cork has a classy wooden color and texture, while foam blocks can be a bit of a hit or miss in their different bright colors.
  • Foam does not absorb sweat and can get slippery if you sweat a lot of yoga. Cork is the better option here.
  • But that also means that cork requires more cleaning and maintenance than foam blocks. (Source)

To conclude, both yoga blocks have their advantages and disadvantages. But unless the price is a significant concern for you, we would still recommend cork as it has some fantastic qualities, and hardly any flaws.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are an absolute beginner, or a more seasoned yogi/yogini, a good quality cork yoga block can be useful for you. They are very versatile and can be used to enhance your routines in different ways. For beginners, blocks can be used to make some poses easier.

Experts, on the other hand, can use them to make advanced asanas more challenging. And since cork is a renewable product, we strongly suggest it as a greener alternative to wooden and foam blocks.