Probably you already know what are yoga straps used for – if you are a beginner and don’t have a good level of stretching then a yoga strap can help you to do an asana properly. Padahastasana (Hastapadasana) or standing forward bend is one of the basic asanas, yet it requires some stretching to achieve the full asana state. So how can a strap help here?
Please, look at the picture on the right – it shows the full Padahastasana. The same asana can performed with the help of the strap. In yoga it is not about the results (especially not about the immediate ones), but rather about the path, or natural progression which is unique for each person. There is no competition in yoga and everyone follows their own way. Even if you cannot do some asana like a pro, you don’t have to get discouraged: you can start doing it with the help of a strap, and after awhile you will be able to do the asana fully.
Using Straps in Yoga: The Padahastasana
1. Stand straight, arms at your sides, hold a strap in one hand (alternatively you can place the strap under your feet and later when you bend forward, bend your knees as well to let your hands grab the strap, and straighten your legs after that).
2. Raise your arms above your head with inhale and exhaling bend your body forward, trying to reach the floor with your palms. Once the farthest position is achieved, use the strap to wrap your feet, and holding the both ends of the strap, and keeping a bending position, try to lift your head as much a possible, looking forward and even upward; keep the spine straight; do it with inhale.
3. Now holding the strap try to bend further forward; do it while exhaling; once you reached the limit of your stretching with the strap, hold for 20-30 seconds in this bending position, breathing naturally and try to relax.
4. When finishing the asana, raise your head again with inhaling, and then bend forward with exhaling, and again with inhaling return to the initial standing position.
- Do the asana slowly, trying to focus on combination of movement and breathing.
- Do not perform sharp movements to prevent injury.
- Don’t forget to breathe.
- Avoid too much straining; yoga is about harmony and relaxation, and while definitely there are yoga poses that require muscle strain, when it comes to stretching, it is always better done when your muscles are relaxed.
- When you choose a strap, make sure its length is enough for your stretching abilities; if you are not sure, take a longer strap.