To prop or not to prop ?

Posted on Nov 16, 2012 in Blog, Postures | 0 comments

If you are a regular student of mine, you will have noticed that I have introduced the ’Yoga strap’ to class and have become quite ‘creative’ with it. This hasn’t always been the case, in fact, for many years, I chose not to use props, preferring to use my current flexibility, strengths and length of limbs to do the work for me.

But …… I have learned to embrace its help to move deeper into postures, safely allowing the body to release, which would otherwise be near impossible to achieve without it. The belt simply bridges the gap between limbs which allows the student to continue working towards their destination in the pose.

Lets look at sitting single leg head to knee bend (Janusirsasana), for example.

The goal of this posture is to stretch the hamstrings and open the hips.  The pose requires the student to clasp the foot in both hands whilst bending forward from the hips, encouraging the chest to the thigh and finally the head to rest on/above the knee. For students who can’t reach their hands to the foot in this sitting pose, the pose will be compromised because they won’t get the full hamstring stretch nor will they be able to encourage the spine to stretch forward without the lever pull on the foot hold.

Now, if they bring the strap over the ball of the foot and hold a strap in each hand,  they will now be able to progressively stretch towards the foot and use the pull to propel the chest forward and the opening up of the hips, thus enjoying the benefits of a serious hamstring stretch too.  ( please see note below before trying this posture).

I’m keen to advise the more flexible & advanced students that Yoga belts, or straps, are not only for beginners. These props are not to be underestimated,  as they can used to assist in dynamic postures like Nataranjasana or Chaturanga Dandasana.

I have found a fantastic article, courtesy of, discussing the challenging posture Chaturanga Dandasana. It gives step by step instructions on how to practice the posture, with the help of a yoga strap.  It really is genius and I urge you to give it a go.  Click here to read the full article.

 How did you get on with assisted Chaturanga Dandasana, I am really interested to find out?  Leave a reply to posting your comments below.


Note.  The above description of the posture,  is not intended to be  a step by step guide but merely for the purpose of  explaining the theory as they do not contain the full instructions.


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