The yoga block has served me better than any other tool I use while teaching. For years I have employed it for teaching about the core in yoga classes and I have also put it to use helping people accomplish simple tasks that sometimes cause pain and injury.
Many years ago my mother had a back surgery that didn’t go well. I think they nicked a nerve or something to that effect as the abductor muscles—the outer thigh muscles that pull the leg away from the midline—stopped working and atrophied. Post surgery she developed a trendelenburg gait and never really walked successfully again.
At one point I sent her for a private to one of my favorite teachers, Genny Kapular, in Soho. Genny is the best of the best combining Iyengar Yoga, Body Mind Centering and the Alexander Technique to teach amazing yoga classes filled with perfectly poetic imagery about anatomy and the body.
At the time I sent her to Genny, my mother wasn’t able to walk without her hips hiking wildly from side to side with each step.
Soon after that my family was gathering at my parent’s apartment and we walked in on my mother cooking, while wearing an apron, and seemingly walking normally. After seeing the shock on all of our faces, she pulled up the apron front revealing a yoga block between her thighs.
People can hurt their backs in the most mundane ways which is where the yoga block between the thighs can come in very handy.
Cooking or doing the dishes is an easy way to hurt your lower back. Standing still with poor posture for an extended period of time before making some sort of sudden movement is a recipe for back trouble.
Brushing your teeth is another counter intuive arena for injury. One of the many physical acts we take for granted, brushing teeth leads to back pain more often than you might imagine.
Keeping a block between the thighs during these and other similar activities is a good trick to remind you to stay active and aligned in your legs and pelvis.