Fun Fact: Finding the right blocks for you is kind of like finding the right mattress. You want blocks that support you, that are the right size for you, and that have a good cost per use. For example, if you do yoga once a month, you might not spend a lot of money on your blocks. If you practice 2+ times per week, you might invest a little more.
To make this journey a little less complex we'll focus on a few blocks from Manduka and Gaiam, comparing the brands along the way. In case you were wondering if other brands of blocks exist, yes, yes they do. However, these 2 brands were chosen because they are the most recognizable and the ones I have the most experience with.
Manduka: Recycled Foam Yoga Block, $16
(We use these at Y7 Studio)
This block is the first block I've ever used and the block I personally own. And by "the block" I mean I own 4. The feel of these blocks is sturdy but not hard. If you place this block under your sacrum for supportive bridge you won't feel like you're laying on a brick but you won't feel like your crushing this block into the ground. The only con is that if you use these for heat yoga and tend to SWEAT make sure to have a towel with you to wipe them when you need to because they take a moment to let the moisture evaporate.
Tip: If you're a yoga teacher make sure you join their Teacher PROgram for 25% off all of your purchases.
Gaiam: Yoga Essentials Block, $9.98
In comparison to the block above Gaiam has their essentials block. From personal experience these are much softer than the Manduka blocks. For example, if I put this under my low back I don't feel as supported and would need to stack 2 of them beneath my low back to create the support from 1 Manduka block.
So sort of like a mattress if you prefer soft support these might be the blocks for you. They are also less expensive so if price matters to you you might start of with this.
Tip: These also come in a 2 piece set for $10.99 Essentials Yoga Block (Set of 2) .
Manduka: Cork Yoga Block, $20.49
(We use these at Form+Flow)
If you'd rather avoid foam all together and you want firm support try cork. That being said know that it is a BLOCK. It is solid, extra firm, no give, but not painful (unless you stub your toe on it 😅). Although they are solid, they're not heavy. Their texture allows for an easier hold. You're not slipping around with these, even if you sweat a lot.
Tip: They also make a Lean Cork Block for $18 which is ~3 inches wide (as apposed to the standard 4 inches). So if you need something shorter for your proportions or if you have smaller hands, you might want the lean.
Gaiam: Cork Yoga Brick, $14.98
To be honest I've never used this block but I thought to put it on the list in case you'd like to have a natural cork block at a slightly lower price. Looking over the reviews for this product users seem to have a good experience with it.
Manduka: unBLOK, $n/a
At the time of this blog post, this block is sold out EVERYWHERE! I'm not surprised either. I first encountered these blocks entering a yoga class at Humming Puppy. At first sight I knew they were blocks but it wasn't until I put my hands on them that I knew they were different. A plus is that these are great for a down dog. The ergonomic curve fits the palm of your hand and there is one curved side so your fingers can hold the block without gripping onto it. They are also great blocks for savasana or supta baddha konasana (reclined butterfly). You can place them under your legs without having to try to angle them so the sharp edge of a traditional block cuts into you. (Tip: drape a blanket over them for extra comfort).
The only con is that these aren't great for stacking. You can press 2 together for some wider support but to stack one on top of the other creates a sort of balancing act that isn't very fun.
There you have it! A list of blocks to get you started on you journey of support!
To reiterate there are other brands out there so if you have a type of block you swear by that wasn't mentioned feel free to leave it in the comment🙏🏾