Finding the best yoga block is sort of like Goldilocks’ quest to find the perfect bed. (Just with a lot more backbends). For a just-right block, you need the correct combination of size and comfort to support your body’s needs and your practice. I took on this epic endeavor by researching dozens of highly-rated models from brands including Lululemon, Gaiam, and Alo and talking with a veteran instructor for intel on what to look for in a quality prop. Also, I did a lot of yoga.
After practicing for over a month on different yoga mats and surfaces, Manduka’s cork yoga block ($22) ranked the best yoga block due to its excellent stability and grip. Still, there are several other yoga blocks worth considering, depending on your budget and vinyasa requirements.
Here’s the TL;DR on how the best yoga blocks, ahem, stack up:
- Manduka Cork Yoga Block (Top Pick)
- Gaiam Essentials Yoga Blocks (Budget Pick)
- Alo Uplifting Yoga Block
- Gaiam Cork Yoga Block
- Lululemon Lift And Lengthen Yoga Block
- Reehut Foam Yoga Blocks
The Best Yoga Blocks
Manduka Cork Yoga Block
- Size: 4 inches x 6 inches x 9 inches
- Weight: 2 pounds 0.6 ounces per block
- Material: Cork
- Cork provides true non-slip grip
- Contoured edges make it easier to hold
- Heavier than foam
- May be too firm for beginners or restorative practitioners
After testing, the Manduka Cork block emerged as our best yoga block thanks to its excellent mix of support, comfort, and stability. It’s also crafted from durable, sustainable material: bark from cork oak trees. Unlike the foam props I tried, the block had no discernible odor right out of the packaging. After more than a month of use, the tightly pressed fine-grain cork shows almost no signs of wear. If you’re looking for a block that feels more “natural” than a foam option, this is also one of the best cork yoga blocks.
With minimal cleaning using a damp cloth, there’s also no noticeable odor buildup. Cork is Frontiers in Materials “Cork-Containing Barks—A Review” View Source , so sweat can’t find its way in, and it’s antimicrobial, so it FEMS Microbiology Letters “Evolution of Antimicrobial Properties of Cork” View Source . Of all the yoga blocks tested, this one seems like it will be the most durable over time. Other users seem to agree—the blocks have 4.89 stars out of 136 reviews on Manduka’s site and 4.9 stars out of more than 2,600 reviews on Amazon.
The Manduka block won out over the other cork yoga block we tested (from Gaiam) because its contoured edges are slightly more rounded. This makes it more comfortable against the skin in certain poses and easier to wrap your hands around. It’s also a little lighter than other cork yoga blocks at around 2 pounds, which makes it better for transitioning seamlessly between poses.
That said, it weighs more than all of the foam blocks tested, so it’s less portable if you plan to travel or pack it along to your next yoga class. But the excellent stability more than makes up for the extra few ounces. In standing asanas like Masterclass “How to Do Half-Moon Pose: 4 Practice Tips for Half-Moon Pose” View Source , I felt secure, even with sweaty hands, and didn’t experience any wobbling or significant slippage.
Another pro is that this block is sold as a single for $22 or as a pair for $42. It also comes in a “lean” version (3 inches x 4 inches x 8.5 inches; $18) for people wanting smaller dimensions. Those with sensitive hands may find the rigidity of the cork to be too hard-surfaced. But for a prop that will support you through your practice and last a long time, we think this Manduka option is where it’s at.
Gaiam Essentials Yoga Blocks
- Size: 4 inches x 6 inches x 9 inches
- Weight: 5.7 ounces per block
- Material: Latex-free EVA foam
- Less expensive than other options
- Not as durable or sturdy for standing poses as cork blocks
If you’re new to yoga and feel intimidated by the thought of starting a practice with a hefty (in price and weight) cork brick, consider Gaiam’s Essentials foam yoga blocks. They’re ultra-comfortable, light enough to travel with, and easy to grip. Rated 4.8 Stars with more than 20,000 Amazon reviews, customers note that they’re gentle on the body and nice for stretching.
I practiced with the block on various yoga mat surfaces, and found its latex-free EVA foam to be adequately slip-resistant. The blocks held tight to the mat even while twisting. Foam in general is also more forgiving on the back, head, and joints than cork. This makes it useful for gentle or restorative poses.
But the Essential blocks aren’t as stable or rigid as the cork models I tested. When used in the tallest height, I experienced some wobbles, especially during challenging poses like Half Moon. This gave me less confidence than the Manduka cork block. I was able to get a good grip when squeezing the spongy material, but sweaty hands caused the surface of the blocks to become slightly slippery. The beveled edges on the Gaiam blocks are more rounded than the Reehut foam blocks, giving them a slight advantage in terms of comfort.
At less than half the weight of a typical cork block, the Essential blocks make for easier transitions and never hindered my flow. A month of use yielded a few minor surface scratches—much more than the cork blocks I tried, which can take more of a beating. Cleaning them is easy; just wipe them off with a bit of soapy water.
The one thing I didn’t love about these blocks was the noticeable off-gassing (an odorous release of chemicals used in manufacturing) that filled the room when I opened the package. Think fresh paint or new shoes smell. The smell faded to nothing after a couple of days, but for those with a sensitive nose, you’ll want to refrain from practicing until they’ve had a chance to air out.
Are Yoga Blocks Worth It?
Next to a yoga mat, yoga blocks are one of the most useful props to incorporate into your practice. They help with alignment, prevent injury and muscle strain, enhance stretches by making certain poses more accessible, and support seated and reclined poses.
Yoga blocks also add extra stability when transitioning between poses you haven’t mastered yet and increase challenge to familiar asanas. For instance, in a Yoga By Candace “How to use yoga blocks for tripod headstand” View Source , placing two blocks between your shoulders and the floor with hands flat on the ground can make it easier to get into the pose, and squeezing a block between both feet as you slowly lift up will add a level of difficulty.
“Yoga blocks can facilitate a deeper and more supported experience of the pose than you would otherwise have,” says Heather Elson, a certified yoga instructor based in Southern Ontario, Canada with 15 years of teaching experience. “They bring the pose to you as opposed to you trying to fit yourself into the pose.”
Elson explains that if tight hamstrings don’t allow you to come to the ground with your hands in a standing forward fold position, then yoga blocks bring the floor to you. If you want to hang out in bridge pose longer than your strength or energy levels allow, using a Yoga Journal “Unlock Your Backbends With Yoga Blocks” View Source creates the support necessary to be in the pose longer, creating deeper openings as a result.
Yoga blocks are also ideal for daily stretches and aid in injury recovery by allowing you to create pose variations to realign parts of your body when your range of motion is limited or you feel pain. They can prove helpful as a work-from-home aid by combating the rounded, slouchy back position that can come from sitting at a desk all day. Placing a block lengthwise between your shoulder blades while lying on your back can be an instant spine straightener when back and shoulder pain starts to creep in (they can also prop your computer up during Zoom meetings!). Blocks can also double as a meditation seat if you don’t have a meditation cushion.
Overall, yoga blocks are a useful prop to have on hand for anyone who relies on a home gym or studio space for exercise.
How We Got Here
Meet Your Guinea Pig
I’m Ebony Roberts, a product journalist covering fitness and outdoor gear. I’ve written in-depth reviews and buyers guides for Wirecutter, REI, Outside, Gear Patrol, and Treeline Review. Over the years, I’ve interviewed dozens of health and wellness experts in my search to find the best stuff out there. I’ve also been featured as a gear expert on podcasts like The Consummate Athlete. While I consider myself an intermediate yogi, I have practiced on and off for the better part of a decade. As part of my research for this guide, I spoke with Heather Elson, a yoga instructor who’s been teaching since 2005 and currently practices out of her virtual studio in Hamilton, Ontario.
Our Testing Process
To find the best yoga blocks, I spent eight hours reviewing dozens of the top-rated models across popular online retailers, narrowing the blocks with the most potential down to a shortlist of thirteen. That list was further culled down to the top six for testing. Each block was assessed upon unwrapping—and I measured and weighed them to ensure the IRL specs lined up with the brand’s claims. Then, over a month, I practiced the same three routines with each block, each time on a different yoga mat.
After each session, I took notes on the block’s comfort and stability. I also scored each block on density and durability, looking for surface scratches, shape changes, material shedding, and moisture retention. After each session, I wiped down the blocks using the same standard cleaning process and assessed their ease of care (noting hard-to-wipe texture, clinging dirt, and animal hair). For more information on how we found the best yoga blocks, you can read the test notes.
Yoga Blocks Buying Guide
Yoga blocks are generally made of cork, foam, or wood and range in price from about $10-$30 each. Cork blocks are usually denser and heavier than foam blocks, providing firmness and support not found in cushiony foam. Weight will increase stability but can impede smooth movement and make transitions difficult if too heavy. Foam blocks are generally a little softer and better for beginners and those practicing gentle or restorative yoga. Depending on how they’re made, some can come close to matching the stiffness of cork. Wood is the most unforgiving and stable type of yoga block, and can also get slippery (we didn’t consider any wood blocks for this review).
Good yoga blocks won’t degrade quickly, won’t compress, and will hold their shape through frequent practice. They also need to grip the mat and be comfortable and easy to use.
Who should buy yoga blocks?
Whether beginner or advanced, any yogi can benefit from adding yoga blocks to their practice. Individuals just starting in their yoga journey will find them useful for trying new poses they can’t quite reach and adapt a practice to their individual proportions. Experienced practitioners will find that blocks allow them to get deeper into their practice.
“If you’re trying to set yourself up for a home practice, blocks are a great thing,” says Elson. “They’re easy to store, they’re not huge, and they’re not super expensive. With blocks, you can recreate a lot of other things [like bolsters and wedges].”
Are cork or foam yoga blocks better?
Most well-practiced yogis will tend to opt for cork because it provides firmness and stability not found in foam. They’re a more solid base in balanced poses given their weight, and they stack better. Cork is great for people who sweat because it’s water-resistant ( Smithsonian Magazine “170-Year-Old Champagne Recovered (and Tasted) From a Baltic Shipwreck” View Source ), and it’s Arnoldia “Cork: Structure, Properties, Application” View Source . It also tends to be more durable than foam.
If you’re in a reclined pose or have sensitive joints, cork can often feel too hard. Foam is a lot softer and feels more comfortable pressed against the skin. These blocks are also much lighter than cork, making them easier to travel with. The downside is that they aren’t as stable and can wiggle out from underneath you if not careful. Foam also breaks down faster than cork and is prone to more surface-level damage, so they won’t last as long.
What size yoga blocks should you buy?
Rectangular yoga blocks allow you to create three different levels of height depending on the side you rest the block on. The two standard yoga block sizes are 4 inches x 6 inches x 9 inches (which every block we tested, save the Lululemon option, fell into) and 3 inches x 6 inches x 9 inches. Because larger blocks tend to be more popular, we looked primarily at those for this review.
The best size for you will depend on your body, hand size, and level of flexibility. Yoga blocks bring the floor up to meet you. Opt for a bigger block if you have limited flexibility and need to raise it higher up. If you need subtle support or have a more petite frame, go for a smaller block.
Should you buy one yoga block or two?
One yoga block is sufficient, but two is certainly ideal. You might not always need to use two, but you’ll find a pair comes in handy for some poses. Having two different blocks can throw off balance, so buy the same two blocks if it’s feasible for your budget.
Features to look for in a good yoga block
The best yoga blocks have an all-round mix of:
- Stability: You want a yoga block that stays in position and supports you while you hold a balanced pose or transition between poses. Stability is achieved through a combination of slip resistance, firmness, grip, and size. Instability can be a safety issue, so if you plan to use your block while standing a lot, this is the number one thing to look out for.
- Comfort: A block should feel good to hold and rest on. Softer blocks tend to be gentler on the hands, but small details like rounded edges and surface texture can make a big difference.
- Density: Dense blocks will be more stable, and they’ll generally last longer, but weight can also hinder smooth movements, so striking the right balance is key. The stiffness of a dense block may also be too uncomfortable for some, so more dense isn’t always necessarily better.
- Durability: Durability will depend on the material, but you want a block that holds its shape and doesn’t compress significantly with use. Good quality blocks won’t shed material and will be abrasion-resistant.
- Ease of care: Yoga blocks should be quick to clean and easy to store. Be on the lookout for material that picks up pet hair, holds on to odor, or requires any special attention.
How to clean yoga blocks
Like all fitness equipment, yoga blocks need proper care and maintenance to inhibit bacteria growth and ensure they last as long as you intend to keep up with your home practice. Keeping them clean is pretty simple, though. In general, foam blocks can be wiped down Popsugar “Exactly How to Clean Your Yoga Blocks” View Source . For hard-to-remove stains, a diluted vinegar or club soda solution rubbed directly on the spot should work.
Cork needs a little more care. In general, use only a damp cloth for everyday care. Because cork is porous, a deep clean every once in a while is in order. Just steer clear of harsh chemicals. Using an organic cleanser to spot clean and wipe down is your best bet. Always make sure to check for any manufacturer guidelines before using any cleaning agents, just in case your block needs special care.
What is the best yoga block alternative?
We recommend using a proper block. But if you’re in a pinch—say, you’ve ordered a block already and are just waiting for it to arrive—you can use some things you probably have around your house. A hefty hardback book (like a dictionary) or boxed collection (like this four-book Lord of the Rings set) can help provide the support you need. You can also try a low table, chair, sturdy cardboard box, or even some folded-up towels.
Yoga Blocks Worth Considering
Alo Uplifting Block
- Size: 4 inches x 6 inches x 9 inches
- Weight: 13.4 ounces per block
- Material: Dense EVA foam
- Excellent grip and stability
- Not as dense as cork and not as light as other foam blocks
Not too hard and not too soft, the Alo Uplifting block fulfills the standard Goldilocks credentials. Made from 100% phthalate and metal-free EVA foam, it marries what’s best in foam and cork: comfort and stability. It’s the densest and most durable of the foam blocks tested, making it the optimal choice if you’re looking for an alternative to cork but still want something rigid that won’t tip or wobble. One block costs about as much as a pair of Gaiam foam blocks. But if you’re serious about yoga, it’s an upgraded foam option worth looking into. The brand doesn’t share its exact star rating, but of the 130 reviews on the brand’s website, 120 are 5-star.
Compared to the other foam blocks, the Uplifting block is a big step up in terms of the material’s density, texture, and quality. (It just feels more luxe). It’s got the portability and flow of a lighter block, and although it’s not spongy, it allows for a hint of compression, letting your fingertips press slightly into the foam for added grip.
It’s stable enough to keep you upright as you learn a balanced move and soft enough to offer comfortable support during a reclined move. The rounded edges also add a touch of comfort that exceeds the feel of the cork props. Durability is another area where the Alo block shines; it looks almost as good as new after a month of use except for a few small surface-level marks.
Gaiam Cork Yoga Block
- Size: 4 inches x 6 inches x 9 inches
- Weight: 2 pounds 3 ounces per block
- Material: Cork
- Feels solid and stable
- Heavier than top cork block pick
- Showed slight signs of wear during testing
The Gaiam cork block proved to be a capable and stable prop but was slightly edged out by the Manduka block in comfort and durability. Still, there’s little to differentiate the Gaiam cork block from the Manduka, and both are solid investments.
1,000 Amazon reviewers have rated this block 4.8 stars. “Was there life before cork yoga blocks?” one user writes. Calling it one of her favorite purchases, she uses it mainly for restorative yoga. “The solid cork is awesome and feels much better than the spongy blocks. When I use it in a pose to open up more or to work on form, the solid cork block gives me much more stability.”
The Gaiam is a few ounces heavier than the Manduka and the edges are a little more squared off, which makes it less comfortable when placed under your spine or sacrum. Its edges also make it a bit harder to wrap your fingers around. (People with larger hands likely won’t notice the difference). The cork appears to have a heavier grain than our top pick, and after a month of use, I detected a hint of wear on one corner, with some of the material flaking off.
The Gaiam cork block is just as stable and slip-resistant as the Manduka block and easily stayed put on both foam and rubber mats. While cork isn’t quite as easy to clean as foam, it was surprising how little moisture this block absorbed from sweat and how odor-resistant it is. Unlike the foam blocks, there was no off-gassing of this product when it was opened. Gaiam also offers a leaner cork brick version (9 inches x 5.5 inches x 3 inches; $14.98) for those looking for smaller dimensions.
Lululemon Lift and Lengthen Yoga Block
- Size: 9.8 inches x 5.9 inches x 3.0 inches
- Weight: 9.28 ounces per block
- Material: EVA Foam
- Stable yet lightweight
- Unique dimensions
- More expensive than other foam blocks
- Dimensions may not suit everyone
- Wobbly in some poses
The Lift and Lengthen yoga block is the only prop on the list of contenders that doesn’t fit the typical size dimensions of most yoga blocks or bricks—it’s longer and slimmer than most. This block shone during restorative practice; it’s also easy to flow with during an active class because it’s light and slender. It’s not at all cumbersome, allowing you to focus on the pose and not on the block. If your flexibility isn’t great, it also gives you a little extra reach on its tallest side.
100 reviews on Lulu’s site rate this block 4.7 stars, calling it durable, sturdy, and pretty. “I find that the narrow width makes them easier to hold [and] lean on as an aid when doing poses such as balancing half moon,” one yogi writes. “I sometimes use one as a pillow during savasana, and they are comfortable for that.”
For someone who thinks that a standard four-inch height will be too tall for their body, this Lululemon block is a worthy alternative. I also found it a handy tool for working from home, propping it behind my lower back while working at my desk. But because it’s thinner and longer, it’s more wobbly when used for balance.
Smaller hands will have no trouble grasping onto this longer-and-leaner block, and in reclining poses, the lowest height provides subtle support without feeling too bulky. The foam isn’t as dense as the Alo Uplifting block and not quite as soft as the Gaiam, striking a nice balance of comfort and durability. Unlike spongier foam which damages easily, the Lululemon block hasn’t sustained noticeable wear and tear yet. The marbled pattern is also a stylish addition to any home studio.
Yoga Blocks You Can Skip
Reehut Yoga Foam Blocks
- Size: 4 inches x 6 inches x 9 inches
- Weight: 5.9 ounces per block
- Material: EVA Foam
- Damages easily
If you’re looking to make the smallest investment possible, the Reehut foam blocks will get the job done. They’re also very popular, with 4.8 stars on Amazon with almost 5,000 reviews.
But based on my tests, they won’t stand the test of time like other blocks. This set of foam blocks closely compares to the Gaiam Essential blocks in terms of feel and balance, and both performed almost identically across all categories. However, I noticed durability issues right off the bat. Within a few minutes, I saw a deep puncture mark from my fingernail as I held the block in my hand and squeezed the sides. After a month, a handful of nicks and gouges cover the blocks.
The edges are beveled for comfort, and though the Essential blocks have a more rounded finish, there wasn’t a noticeable difference during any reclined poses—both are soft and felt sturdy to grip. The Reehut blocks also emit a similar chemical smell as the Gaiam foam blocks. It’s not quite as intense, but it’s noticeable enough that you’ll want to air these out before getting your face close to them in a forward bend.
Like the Essential blocks, the Reehut blocks don’t have durability to stand up to daily wear and tear, but they did the trick for gentle movements and daily stretching. The brand offers a 30-day replacement or refund, but who wants to go through the hassle of having to send something back because it didn’t hold up?
- Elson, Heather. Certified yoga teacher interviewed via phone by Ebony Roberts. (January 2022)
- Using blocks in tripod headstand: How to use yoga blocks for tripod headstand (Yoga By Candace on YouTube, May 2015)
- Placing block under sacrum: Unlock Your Backbend With Blocks (Yoga Journal, April 2021)
- Half Moon tutorial: How To Do Half Moon Pose (Masterclass, February 2022)
- Cork resists bacteria: Evaluation of antimicrobial properties of cork (FEMS microbiology letters, February 2016)
- Cork’s properties make it impervious to moisture: Cork-Containing Barks—A Review(Frontiers in Materials, January 2017)
- Cork resists water: 170-Year-Old Champagne Recovered (and Tasted) From a Baltic Shipwreck (Smithsonian Magazine, May 2015)
- How to do bridge pose: Bridge Pose Yoga Guide (Masterclass, February 2022)
- Cleaning yoga blocks: How to Clean Yoga Blocks (Popsugar, May 2021)