The One Yoga Prop Everyone Should Be Using to Improve Your Practice (Hint: You Already Have It!)
Here are 3 ways to modify and deepen your yoga practice using the one yoga prop everyone has handy…
Whether you need some extra support during a challenging pose, or you want a prop to help you deepen a pose and open up during your practice, there’s one handy yoga prop that everyone has on hand, which often goes unnoticed…
I’m talking of course about…the wall!
A simple wall can be a yogi’s best friend, providing support, a balancing tool, or stretching assistance.
Here are 3 handy ways that the wall can help you get the most out of your yoga practice:
King Cobra W/Legs Up the Wall
Dream of dropping your head back onto your toes in King Cobra Pose? Then head to a wall with your mat and learn what it takes to stabilize, lengthen, lift, and curl into this deep backbend—and make the seemingly impossible possible.
Start lying facedown with your knees inner hip-distance apart at the base of the wall and shins straight up the wall, bringing your legs as close to 90 degrees as possible. Place your palms flat on the mat beneath your elbows on either side of your low ribs. Spreading your fingers, press your palms down and draw the heads of your arm bones away from the floor. At the same time, push your thigh bones down into the floor and shin bones into the wall behind you, helping to stabilize your low back. Keeping all of that, begin to press down and resist back against the mat with your palms as your lift your chest away from the floor. Push down through your knees and lightly draw your pubic bone in and up, and lengthen your spine. Lifting up through the sides of your chest, broaden your collarbones, engage the bottom tips of your shoulder blades down your back and forward through your heart center, curling your sternum forward and up. Lengthen the sides of your neck as you bring your head back toward your feet. Take a few breaths. If you experience any pain in your low back, gently come out of the pose. To release bring your head back up to neutral, gazing straight ahead, and slowly begin to re-bend the elbows along the sides of your body as you lower your torso back to the floor.
Twisted Half-Moon Pose w/Top Foot Anchored
This is the same idea as Revolved Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose. Stabilizing the lifted leg in Twisted Half Moon Pose is going to allow you to experience and explore the pose more deeply—giving you a much better idea of what it takes to do it away from the wall.
With two blocks, stand about a leg’s length away from the wall with your back to it and feet parallel and inner hip-distance apart. Bend your knees and fold forward into Uttanasana. Inhale, straighten your arms, lengthening halfway out until your back is flat. Place your hands on blocks directly beneath your shoulders. Lift your left leg back and up, placing the foot on the wall behind you parallel to the floor, as best you can. Check that your left toes are pointing straight down and not out to the left. With your left hand on the block under your left shoulder, bring your right hand to your outer right hip. With your right hand press your outer right hip back toward the wall behind you. Inhale and lengthen your sternum forward; exhale and slowly begin to twist right, taking your right shoulder further back. When you’re ready take your right arm up to the sky. Push your back foot into the wall and practice lifting your torso up away from the floor and leaning back away from your standing leg. Take a few breaths and bring your lifted food to the floor to return to a forward fold.
Forward Fold Against a Wall
Think you’ve just about reached your limit in Standing Forward Bend? Then it’s time to take your butt to a wall and explore new depths in your Uttanasana.
Standing in front of a wall, facing away from it, come into a forward fold with your feet hip-width apart and knees bent. Bring your butt against the wall. Press down through the inner edges of your feet, as you begin to lift your sitting bones higher up the wall to straighten your legs. To go deeper, step back until your heels are touching the baseboard.
Another way to deepen your Uttanasana: Face the wall and fold forward, walking your upper back against the wall to coax your chest closer to your legs. Engage your leg muscles, press down through your inner feet to lift your sitting bones higher, and lengthen your sternum toward the tops of your feet.
See pictures & find more wall-assisted poses at YogaJournal.com…