We've all been there. The yoga teacher says "grab 2 blocks for today's practice", so you go to the props wall and you come to the fork in the road. You can either go with the cork block or the foam block. Your entire experience for the next hour or more will be dictated by the choice you make at this moment! Depending on how long you've been practicing your initial thought is "oh crap" or "I got this".
So to avoid those oh crap moments lets break the two choices down because darling I want you to be in the I got this boat!
The main thing to think about is what type of practice it will be. Usually Restorative Yoga classes will want you to go for the foam blocks because they are easier and softer on the joints, however, some poses will require the sturdiness and stability that only a cork block can provide. So here's how to really break things down and the main differences between the two blocks.
Great for heavy weight bearing
Gentle on Joints and Muscles
Easier to carry
Good for alignment, light weight bearing poses
When to go for the Cork Block
Vinyasa, Iyengar, Hot Yoga, Intermediate and advanced Yoga classes
These classes generally require more firm blocks for a more supported pose experience which cork blocks provide really well. If the teacher gives a heads up of poses ahead, such as arm balances or backbends, it's a good sign that a cork block will be more beneficial for that practice.
You'll find that these blocks are the best to start with until you become obsessed with yoga and end up getting a variety of blocks over time (trust, I know from experience!). You'll find that these blocks will last you the longest, are safest to use because they won't wobble easily or slip, and they can be used for other types of exercises you might do at home aside from Yoga since they are the most versatile.
When to go for the Foam Block
Restorative, Yin, Power Yoga, Hatha, Level 1-2 (beginner classes), and Slow Flow Yoga classes
These classes might require you to use blocks that are softer, lightweight, and easily moved around the mat. You cannot go wrong with grabbing the cork in these classes but you might find the Foam blocks are easier to work with. If you're doing Restorative or Yin classes you might need 3-4 blocks for a pose and the foam blocks will make it easier on your joints. If you're just getting into Yoga this will be the best block to begin practicing with since its the most versatile, at least until you get the hang of how to use them and then you can graduate to a block that best suits your needs.
You will never be disappointed using blocks, they are a game changer in Yoga! When I began my practice I did not start with props, the Ashtanga classes I began taking just didn't traditionally require them. As I got further in my practice and began taking Vinyasa classes I was introduced to blocks and my life has never been the same!
Let us know how you use your blocks, we'd love to hear!
PS - You can find eco friendly blocks in our shop!