Yoga is a physical and mental practice. The physical aspect gets into every corner, every muscle (even those you didn't realize were there). The mental side of it is a natural side effect of becoming more in tune with your body, of identifying with what we are asking each muscle to do. Taking the time to enter and connect with an action is needed to fully gain the benefit from that action.
Your body is your first prop - using hand against ankle to lengthen the side trunk, hands around your feet to open your chest - but what about when your body doesn't allow you to reach your shin, never mind your ankle? This is where props improve your yoga.
We will explore some of the available yoga props and why some yoga classes use them... not all classes do and that's ok too, just know there are options and find out what is important to you.
The yoga belt:
Think of using a belt as increasing the length of your arms.
Sit down on the floor, legs straight and hold onto your toes.
A high percentage of people will simply not be able to. Why? One of the common reasons is due to tight hamstrings.
By placing a belt around the feet and holding onto that belt with both hands, you are now 'able' to reach your toes.
Ok, so why do we even care to do this in the first place?
Straighten your legs - how can you stretch out your hamstring if the leg remains bent? A straight leg also opens the back of the knee to get blood circulating into the joint.
Open your chest - opening the front of the chest internally assists our lung and heart health, externally it corrects our posture and helps correct shoulder issues. The belt allows us to pull our chest forward through our arms.
Release the lower back - using the belt to bring the tailbone into the body as you reach forward assists in releasing the lower back, rather than simply rounding the upper back. Having the belt to pull on helps access the area.
Curious on learning how to improve your yoga and access the different areas of your body?
Creating a healthier body can be overwhelming...
Taking one moment at a time to relieve an ache or pain can make a goal more achievable, and worth your time.
Wishing you great health, Tanya
Tanya is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher based out of Abbotsford, BC Canada. She has been teaching since 2015.
Her greatest joy is being able to help discover movement.