I always used to think that blocks were a bit of a pain and got in the way especially as I love to practice dynamic vinyasa flow. However, the more I teach the more I find that I often need a more restorative practice and this is where yoga blocks come into their own. As you progress in your practice you'll find that deeper stretches are great when you are working towards more advanced poses. For example king pigeon pose with a flipped grip requires really open shoulders and I find that if I do some big chest openers as shown below I find I progress further towards the full expression. So below are 2 ways to use yoga blocks to open the chest. These poses are also a great way to prep for backbends.
On a personal note shoulders are something that I struggle with. I think it comes from a horse riding accident when I was younger, my right shoulder and collar bone were displaced and just kinda stayed there.
Related:20 minute slow flow yoga with blocks.
This is a great pose for opening up the shoulders. Bring your blocks in front of you and turn them around so they are as high as they can go. Place your elbows on the blocks, allow your head and neck to feel heavy and you bring them down through your arms towards the mat. Press your palms together and bring your hands behind your head. Think about sending the armpits down towards the mat and you should feel a good stretch. With each exhale see if you can melt a little bit deeper into the pose. Stay here for 7-10 breaths.
This is a personal favourite of mine. Set your blocks up into a T shape, it might take a little bit of adjusting until you find the right distance for you but allow one block to be along the length of your spine, in between the shoulder blades and one block to rest the back of your head on. Bring the soles of your feet to touch and allow the knees to fall to either side. Rest the hands down beside you with the palms turned up towards the sky. If you need a little bit more you can turn the blocks so that they are on the highest height and breathe there. Again stay here for 7-10 breaths or longer if you like. I often like to start or end a practice with this pose and stay here for around 5-10 minutes.
Related:How to use a yoga strap.
PS I am on Snapchat @jaynebecca - come and follow my stories as I prepare for my yoga retreat this weekend!