Yoga blocks and straps are valuable props that can help enhance your yoga practice by providing support, stability, and assistance in achieving proper alignment in various poses. Here’s how to use yoga blocks and straps effectively:
Using Yoga Blocks:
Yoga blocks are typically made of foam, cork, or wood and come in different sizes (usually 3x6x9 inches or 4x6x9 inches). They can be used to modify poses, make them more accessible, or deepen your stretch:
1) Seated Postures
Sit on a block to elevate your hips, which can help ease tension in the hips and lower back during seated poses like Sukhasana (Easy Pose) or Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Forward Bend).
2) Standing Postures
Use a block for balance and support in standing poses like Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) or Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) by placing it under your hand on the floor.
In high or low lunges, you can place a block under your hand for balance and to make the pose more accessible.
4) Bridge Pose
Slide a block under your sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of your spine) to support your lower back and lift your hips higher in Bridge Pose.
5) Supported Backbends
In poses like Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose), you can place a block under your hands to support your weight and reduce strain on your wrists.
6) Reclined Poses
Support the back of your head in Savasana (Corpse Pose) or other reclined poses by placing a block under your head.
7) Arm Balances
In arm balances like Bakasana (Crow Pose), use blocks under your hands to reduce the distance to the ground and build confidence.
Using Yoga Straps
Yoga straps are usually made of cotton or nylon with a buckle or D-ring at one end. They are excellent for improving flexibility and extending your reach in various poses:
1) Hamstring Stretch
Sit with your legs extended and wrap the strap around your feet.
Hold the strap with both hands and gently pull yourself forward to deepen the stretch in Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend).
2) Shoulder Opener
Hold the strap with both hands and extend your arms overhead in poses like Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) or Garudasana (Eagle Pose) to work on shoulder flexibility.
3) Bound Poses
If you cannot reach your hands together in poses like Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), use a strap to bridge the gap between your hands.
4) Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)
Loop the strap around the sole of your foot and hold it to deepen the stretch.
5) Stretching the Arms
In poses like Paschima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose), use a strap to connect your hands if you can’t reach them behind your back.
6) Assisted Stretching
In poses like Natarajasana (Dancer Pose), you can use a strap to assist in grabbing your foot and maintaining balance.
Remember these tips when using yoga blocks and straps:
- Always choose the right length and resistance of strap or the appropriate height and material of block for your needs.
- Use props to support your practice, not replace it. They should assist you in achieving proper alignment and depth in poses.
- Listen to your body and do not force yourself into any position with the aid of props. Yoga should be comfortable and free from pain.
- Over time, as your flexibility and strength improve, you may find that you need props less frequently or can use them differently to suit your evolving practice.