After a yoga mat, yoga blocks are usually the next prop that yoga practitioners buy. Most blocks are made of either foam or cork, but which material is better? Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between cork and foam yoga blocks so you can decide which one is right for you.
The main difference between cork and foam is their eco-friendliness. Foam is popular because it is cheap but made of plastic. Cork may be pricier but is made of sustainable, recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable material.
Yoga blocks and other props were popularized by BKS Iyengar and were originally made out of wood. These days, yoga blocks are mostly made of foam or cork.
Blocks are a great friend to have for your yoga practice because they give extra support in asana, allow you to engage the proper muscles in poses like Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose), and let you relax into a backbend in lying down postures with the block placed properly on your upper or lower back.
What You Need To Know About Cork Yoga Blocks
Cork is naturally anti-bacterial and durable. It will definitely be a long-time companion for your yoga practice. For the fashion-conscious, cork is a neutral color so it will match any yoga outfit you have in your closet.
Cork will also keep you safe during your yoga practice. It is sturdy and its surface has a natural friction so you can depend on your cork yoga block to support you even in the most advance asana.
Unfortunately, even though cork itself is naturally water-resistant, the porous surface of a cork yoga block allows sweat and moisture to seep inside. This makes it difficult to clean and remove the “sweat odor” from.
Cork yoga blocks are dense which can make them heavy – which is great for support during your practice, but not easy to travel with. The density and sturdiness of cork can also make them put too much pressure on your pelvis and spine in asana where you lay on your block. You can add some padding by putting a folded towel between you and the block for comfort.
Also, cork yoga blocks can be more pricey than mass-produced foam yoga blocks. And cheap cork blocks tend to crack, flake, and crumble quickly than a well-made cork yoga block.
The Low-down On Foam Yoga Blocks
Foam yoga blocks are popular with beginners to the yoga practice and in many yoga studios. They come in many colours which add a bit of visual fun to your yoga ensemble.
They are comfortable and easy to use in both standing and seated asana. For asana in which you lay on a yoga bock, such as in some restorative and Yin Yoga practices, foam blocks have more cushion and are more comfortable.
Foam is lightweight which makes it ideal for travel and portability. Although dirt will be more visible on the yoga block after repeated use, it is easy to clean with gentle soap and water.
However, the softness and lightness of foam, also makes them more tiresome for the wrists and joints when used as support in poses like Trikonsana (Triangle Pose) or other asana which require you to put your weight on the block.
Foam that is too soft will also be more prone to dents and scratches over time.
To summarize, these are the pros and cons of cork and foam yoga blocks:
Pros of a Cork Yoga Block
- Sturdy and will last a long time
- Made of sustainable and natural material
- Biodegradable and compostable
- The neutral color of cork will match any outfit
Disadvantages of a Cork Yoga Block
- Absorbs moisture and sweat due to porous surface
- More expensive
- Cheap cork yoga blocks will crumble and flake easily
Pros of a Foam Yoga Block
- Soft enough to lay on for long holds in asana
- Light for travel
- More color choices
Disadvantages of a Foam Yoga Block
- Dirt is more visible
- More prone to scratches and other wear and tear
- May feel less stable as a support
- Puts added pressure on wrist and joints
Cork vs. Foam – Which will you pick?
Foam yoga blocks are more widely available, are lightweight, easy to clean, and provide comfortable support in asana. Cork on the other hand is natural, sustainable, eco-friendly, and will last longer than mass-produced plastic foam blocks.
Cork yoga blocks work great when paired with a cork yoga mat.
P.S You can buy cork yoga blocks from us here at Cork Space.