Why use straps in Vajrasana?
Iyengar method provides us with different ways of entering a certain pose even if our flexibility leaves a lot to be desired. With a little help from props everyone can try their luck even at more advanced positions. Besides, at the beginning of practice the props help to align correctly our body.
An excellent example for the use of props is the position called Vajrasana. The two straps “teach” our legs the correct alignment. Our body, so as our mind, has its own memory. At the beginning of practice we can use the straps to “teach” our legs and ankles the proper alignment, make a frame of the position, so that the body will used to it and automatically align correctly without the use of props.
How does the strap around your knees affect your body alignment?
Place a loop on the top of your knees on a hard, bony part; it should not slide on the quadriceps or cover the knee cap bone.
- It allows you to align the external and internal knee at the same distance from the ground, preventing thereby rolling your knees to the sides. We want the outer thigh to go up so that the inner knees would be heading down and in this way the load exerted on the inner and outer sides of the knee would be equal.
- The strap acts more physical , taking the outer sides of the knee up. This solution enhances the movement of the outer knee upwards. Although the strap is placed on the hard structures of the knee, it rotates also the muscles from the outside to the inside.
- The rotation of the thighs inward in vajrasana and tying them up with a strap helps to relax the sacroiliac joints. The closer your knees are together, the more you will expand your lower back, which is important for people with back problems.
How does the strap around your feet affect your body alignment?
The loop around your ankles is tight enough to rotate them inward, but at the same time gives enough space between ankles to avoid pain while sitting. Remember, the knees and ankles “roll” to the side, when we sit in Vajrasana, so do not tie the straps too tight.
- Brings the inner ankles together
- Sets the ankle joint in line with the knee, which is not possible when the ankle “rolls” to the outside
- Forces the stretch of the foot which makes it easier to align the knee in line with ankle joint.
At the beginning the use of straps will cause discomfort because our ankles are rigid structures that are difficult to break. The flexibility of these areas increases relatively hard, but by regular practice of this pose with straps our body will get used to the correct alignment.