DIY hands On Assist At Home
Practical hands-on assist has many benefits. Not only do they allow us to go further in posture, but they can also push us back to the best alignment. They can show us where to move and where to stabilize.
Some are comforting, such as when our shoulders are gently pressed in savasana or our trapezius muscles are softened into a sitting forward bend. Some wake us up, just as the teacher stretches out his arms in Urdhva Hastasana (arms above the head). Personally, I think the best part of physical assist is its chain reaction to other parts of the body.
For example, pulling your thighs back in the Down Dog pose will not only help you stand more firmly on your legs, but it will also lengthen your spine and help “relax” your shoulders.
Obviously, practical auxiliary tools can bring many benefits, but not everyone likes to accept them. They may not like being touched or have a history of injury or trauma. Or they may like practical help, but only from certain teachers or only in certain postures.
Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has made any form of physical contact in the classroom unsafe, if you can take the live course at all. Before the pandemic was brought under control, most yoga teachers avoided using auxiliary tools as teaching tools. Now, most yoga is done alone at home. Due to the lack of hands-on assistance and knowing how useful they are for my practice, I decided to be creative and see if I can make “DIY” aids for practice at home.
Here are some ways to get the benefits of various practical aids without the need for the other hands, and get a little help from some common household items:
SUPTA URDHVA HASTASANA WITH BELT STRAP
Fold the shoulder strap or waist belt into a quarter to make it thicker. Place it horizontally in the middle of the mat and lie on it so that it is directly under your lower back ribs.
Start with your feet hip-width apart and your knees bent. Inhale, stretch your arms to the ceiling directly above your chest. When exhaling, use the shoulder strap as a guide to soften the lower ribs toward the floor. Keep your back ribs connected to the shoulder straps, and slowly inhale your arms, over your head towards the back of the mat.
If your back ribs fall off the shoulder straps, your arms have gone too far. Hold for five breaths, then slowly lower your arms to your sides. Raise and lower your arms a few more times while keeping your lower back ribs connected to the shoulder straps.
GOMUKHASANA – AGAINST A WALL
Stand with your back against the wall a few inches in front of the wall. Stretch your right arm to the side. Rotate your upper arms inward so that your palms are facing the wall, then bend your elbows and lift the back of your hands as high as possible to your back.
It’s okay if your hands are not as high as your shoulder blades. Please don’t force it. Once your arms are in place, rotate your upper arm bones outward so that the front of your shoulders will be removed.
This is an interesting posture because we take different anatomical actions (internal rotation) to initiate the posture, rather than being in the posture itself (external rotation). Retreat as much as possible to the wall and feel the stretch of your right shoulder and right biceps.
If it sticks to the wall, use it as feedback and try to flatten the right shoulder blade. Hold for 10 breaths. Move away from the wall and slowly release your arm. Switch sides.
VIPARITA DANDASANA ON BED
Lie on the bed (or sofa) with your head on the edge. Bend your knees and push yourself back with your feet until your last rib is right next to the bed. As you inhale, slowly begin to raise your arms above your head, shoulder-width apart, palms facing each other.
Your hands can touch the ground, in this case, let your thumb touch the ground. Stretch your legs. Make your neck longer. Don’t try to put your head against gravity; instead, let it fall. Breathe 10 times. Exit slowly and place your arms on the bed so you can support yourself with your elbows. Roll up your spine, and finally, raise your head.
Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana – The Revolved Head to Knee Pose How to Do Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana Step-By-Step Start sitting with legs straddling (Upavistha Konasana). Bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left thigh. Inhale, stretch your arms to the sky. Exhale and lean the torso…