Here's how to use your yoga block to "unblock" your body. I picked up my yoga block the other day during practice and decided to explore its many uses systematically.

To date, my use of the enigmatic yoga block had been admittedly limited. As I found out, there is so much more to discover.

Certainly, the yoga block is fantastic as a balancing aid when you need the floor to come closer to you. It's also a useful support when resting deeply, as the forgiving edges and corners of a cork or foam block can be used as acupressure and massage tools.

Using yoga blocks in this way deepens your ability to open and release and go further in your practice. There are no rules with a block, making it such an inviting yoga prop.

With this is mind, here are a few of my favourite yoga block experiments for you to try yourself:

The Melt Your Heart-Opener

Come into puppy-dog pose after opening in child's pose and place a foam or cork block under your chest at the breastbone. Lengthen your spine, and you should find an ease in the pose as the block supports you.

Soften your heart centre and melt it against the block, letting your shoulders release. If you are tight in the front of your shoulders, you should get a sweet massage by rolling your shoulders in slow wide circles.

Back Cracker

Sit on your mat and place your yoga block behind you, lengthwise, approximately where your shoulder blades would reach the mat. Lie down and adjust yourself so that the lower corners of the block match up with the lower tips of your shoulder blades. Get comfy in your lower back and try to relax.

I say this because anyone who does anything — typing, shopping, building, serving, driving — has tight upper back and shoulders. If you can breathe deeply and work on this one enough, you will be able to use the edges and corners of the block to get right into your deepest tension. Breathe, relax and enjoy the release.

Sciatic Bliss

Come to a comfortable seated position. Sit up on the block at its lowest height, and bring your hands to the floor directly behind you and your feet to the floor in front. Using your limbs to steer your torso, play around by shifting your weight side to side and back to front.

Again, like the previous poses, investigate using the soft corners and edges to place pressure on the locus of tension. To give yourself an acupressure treatment, hold on one spot for 5 breaths and slowly release. Work all the way down your hamstrings by moving backwards on your yoga block and straightening your legs. Alternatively, you can move forward to work on your sacrum.

Have fun with your yoga block and get creative. It may help you master standing splits, hold you in supported shoulder stand, or even help release some deep seated tension.

Mara Munro is a Toronto-based freelance writer and yoga teacher.