Let's talk about using a strap or belt in yoga to stretch and strengthen your lower body. We focus here on the position of the hips when using a strap to stretch the hamstrings and low spine, which also has a HUGE benefit of relaxing the pelvic floor.
Raised Leg with Yoga Belt/Strap:
I use this pose a lot in my classes to lead into many other postures, so I really want to highlight that there are lots of modifications you can try. Read below to help understand the tips and tricks to using a yoga belt to target the appropriate muscles.
Strap placement options
Center of raised foot
Gently on hamstring
Position of the spine
If you lay flat on your back and notice that your rib cage pops up, you can place a pillow or thin blanket behind the head and keep the chin pointed up to the ceiling. This will keep your spine in a natural and neutral position, which is good for the back and reduces pressure on the pelvic floor.
Sacrum (triangular bone between the hips) must remain flat on the floor. This is an important point to keep the spine safe and in a neutral position.
Tuck the shoulders under the chest. This, again, it to help maintain a natural curve in the spine throughout the pose.
Position of the legs
Keep the hip of your raised leg at 90 degrees! This is SUPER important for the pelvic floor muscles as well as the low spine.
Bend the knee as much as needed to keep the hip in position and begin to straighten the leg just enough to feel the stretch in the hamstring. Extend the leg that's on the floor if you need to deepen the stretch, but only if the sacrum stays flat and even on the floor.
How using a belt in yoga helps
If you struggle to keep the hip at 90 degrees, the strap can be used behind the raised leg to gradually bring the hip into the right angle.
Placing the strap in the middle of the raised foot allows you to gently hold the raised leg in place (both while bent and if coming into a straighter position). With the hip at 90 degrees, the strap can help ensure that you feel as though the upper leg is pressing downward toward the hip joint.
DO NOT FORGET TO BREATHE DEEPLY!
This means allowing the belly to fill with air and press outward. This helps you to "breath into the hip joint." This helps relax the pelvic floor muscles (giving them their full range of motion) as well as the hip joint.
BEND THE KNEE OF YOUR RAISED LEG as much as you need to!
The point here is to use the strap to help keep the hip of the raised leg at 90 degrees, which is ideal for the hip, hamstrings, spine, and pelvic floor.
How ing a beltusingn learning more about using props to help stretch and target your muscles, I invite you to explore the website: usi
Please fill out the question form on the main page if you have any questions! I'd love to hear from you and look forward to helping you achieve your fitness goals using yoga.