Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tools of the trade

During one of the first few yoga teacher training weekends, we discussed variations of the supine stretch (Supta Padangusthasana I), for the beginner student. This is a foundation pose for developing the pelvic flexion necessary in many other yoga poses.

Since the beginner student, may not have the flexibility to reach the big toe, we demonstrated variations using; a yoga strap, a strap with a yoga block and an assisted/adjustment method. There are contraindications for some methods, which I'll discuss next.
  • The "yoga strap only" method can allow the beginner student to start performing this pose. The strap isn't placed in the main arch of the foot, instead it's placed near the ball of the foot. The contraindication here is that the strap can tend to flex the metatarsal arch in the opposite direction.
  • The "strap with yoga block" can provide a more evenly distributed "platform" on the foot, but it can be a little unwieldy, with the strap holding the block against the foot.
  • The assisted method is a good way for the student to experience a slightly deeper flex, but of course this requires an experienced instructor or partner to provide the adjustment/assist.
I came up with a fourth option, it involves modifying the yoga strap slightly with the addition of a tennis ball.
Modified Yoga Strap with tennis ball
To make this modification, take an ordinary tennis ball and carefully cut two holes (about the size of a dime) on opposite sides of the ball. Then thread the yoga strap (I used a slightly thinner strap) through the holes so that the ball is at the mid-point on the strap. Once the strap is threaded through the ball, the ball is placed at the metatarsal arch and allows the foot to keep its natural arch, while performing the supine stretch.

Supine stretch using the modified yoga strap

1 comment:

  1. Although the modified yoga strap is pretty easy to make, I created am instructable with the details at: