Topic #4.2 – yoga4cancer Poses – Part #1

1) Reading Assignment #4.2:

Read Manual #4.2.

2) Review yoga4cancer Foundation Poses

3) The Block Test

The Block Test determines how many blocks are needed to safely and effectively support participants in the more active yoga4cancer poses. Utilizing blocks to perform more active poses can be liberating but also intimidating. It is important to provide careful instructions to ensure participants are comfortable and supported. Ultimately, it will encourage participants to be more active both in a yoga practice and in life.

The purpose of the Block Test is to reinforce and encourage effective lymphatic flow, prevent damage to the spine and support the lower back. In the y4c methodology, we encourage participants to not do a forward bends to prevent fractures weakened by treatments. Therefore, blocks are necessary. Also, the blocks enable participants to keep their ‘heart in front of nose’ position of the head to maximize the lymphatic flow process. Finally, blocks or block towers can provide that additional flexibility and height for people who lack experience or have compromised physical challenges.

Fig A – Fig B – Fig C

There are three safe options:

  • One block on each side (Fig A)
  • Two blocks on each side (Fig B)
  • Three blocks on each side (Fig C)

How to do the Block Test:

  1. Start with one block on either side of the mat at its highest level – See Fig A
  2. Feet hip distance are placed between blocks (never behind)
  3. Looking forward on an exhale bend knees reaching hands to top of blocks
  4. Do the palms of the hands rest comfortably on the block? (Yes or No)
  5. Inhale come to stand
  6. If only the tips of fingers come to touch the blocks, more blocks are needed
  7. Build a block tower to the height needed. See Fig A, B and C.
  8. Repeat, looking forward on an exhale bend knees reaching hands to top of blocks
  9. Inhale to stand. If the block towers are the right size, you are ready to start step backs.



Things to keep in mind or watch for:

  • Watch out for unsafe or unstable towers – see image.
  • Encourage participants to keep head lifted and eyes looking forward.
  • Signal to participants to broaden chest for increased lung function.
  • Encourage engagement of abdominal muscles to support diaphragmatic breathing.
  • Paves a secure path transitioning to standing poses.
  • Utilize the block test in most classes to ensure safe and effective practices for both new and returning participants.
  • Participants needs for blocks may change along with their confidence.