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Will these ergonomically-correct yoga 'eggs' improve your workout?

The Three Minute Egg

Handout/Handout

No, it's not a breakfast recipe. Instead, the Three Minute Egg is a more ergonomic take on the traditional yoga block. Hatched, shall we say, by Jason Scholder – a North Carolina-based former craftsman with serious back issues and a penchant for egg puns – the foam, oval-shaped props are steadily gaining popularity among yoga devotees.

Toronto-based yoga instructor Duncan Parviainen is among the recently converted. "The Eggs are a great tool to have for a slower, therapeutic practice," he says, noting they're especially helpful for inflexible types who are "chronically tight." Sound familiar?

The Eggs are available in two densities: The softer Namasteggs can be used for most exercises, and the firmer Hard-Boiled Eggs are recommended for arm-balancing poses, like upward-facing dog or plank, in which the majority of your weight is bearing down on the Eggs. A set of two in either density will run you $44 ( threeminuteegg.ca) – which, it's worth noting, is almost double the cost of a pair of regular rectangle-shaped foam blocks.

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Three minutes are said to be all it takes to fall in love with the Eggs, but they start winning my affections within 30 seconds. Mr. Parviainen positions me on my back in a supported fish pose, with two Eggs – resting on their ever-so-slight curves – under the middle of my back and another one lying flat underneath my head. I raise my arms over my head, take several deep breaths and immediately feel a much-needed release in my lower back. Then I do the same pose using rectangular blocks. It still feels good, just a little less comfy.

Next we move to the downward dog. "A lot of people experience tension in their wrists when doing this position," says Mr. Parviainen. With the Eggs resting on their curves and my palms pressing down on the front of each Egg, there's definitely less strain on my wrists. Another bonus? My abs are working harder thanks to the somewhat unstable surface. (The Eggs can also be used for push-ups with similar wrist-relieving results.)

His third favourite use for the Eggs is for squats. "If you can't keep your ankles on the ground and they're flapping in the wind, it's hard on your joints," he says. Indeed, thanks to the Eggs – on their curves once again, this time with the front of each wedged underneath my heels – I'm able to squat deeper with less pressure on my ankles.

On my own, I try out the Three Minute Egg Alignment & Flow DVD ($25). After two 27-minute workouts – the first a series of gentle poses and the second a more challenging circuit – I'm not entirely convinced that the Eggs have any benefit over a block (or even a rolled-up towel) for certain purposes, say, when lying flat on the ground to support the head. Holding one Egg lengthwise overhead does help to keep arms shoulder-width apart, but then again, the same can be said for a block. When taking advantage of their curves to alleviate pressure, however, it's fair to say these Eggs are everything they're cracked up to be.



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