Michael asked this wonderful question in my private newsletter: What about using a strap for forward bends? [Here is the link to the video in case it does not show]
Here is my take In 3 Steps:
1- NO NEED FOR STRAPS IF ALIGNMENT AND BREATHING "ON YOUR EDGE" IS HAPPENING
The issue with straps is that you can be very tempted to force... so, if instead, you work on getting the right alignment and breathing, you will already feel the forward bend.
Right alignment takes you into the pose without even moving forward! Check out the first few minutes of the video...
So, use proper breathing, get to your edge, stay in the edge with right breathing, and just let the head fall down to use gravity as you breathe and you will be doing a much more efficient forward bend, because your body will be fully involved.
2- THE POSE NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER ENDS
Where is the end to the forward bend?
- Just being sited?
- Mid way?
- Grabbing feet?
- Grabbing wrist?
- Putting my head between the legs? (And yes, I know there is a joke there...)
A forward bend Is a PROCESS that never ends. The deeper you go the more nuisances you find in it, the more interesting it becomes, and the more benefits you get.
Also a forward bend is PORTABLE (your don't need to be carrying anything around, like a strap, so wherever you go, you can always practice it)
For example, I shot this video in Buenos Aires... as the sun was rising as you can see in the last shot. And you know how it gets when you travel, the least you have to carry the better, but also, when practicing at home, the less fluff the better the chances you'll actually show up at the edge of the mat and do your ritual.
3.- THE TIP THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND:
If you go to your edge within the pose, and then you can get someone (help from a friend or partner) who can grab your hand from the other side of your feet and touch your feet as they are grabbing your hands, THE MIND CANNOT TELL THAT WHAT IS TOUCHING YOUR FEET is NOT YOUR HAND...
So you begin to get the idea that...
You are the kind of person who can touch her or his feet.
You enlist the mind in a subtle way....
Love that or what? I love it!
Enjoy the forward bend and take your time with it because it relaxes you, massages your internal organs, and makes for a long life with contentment.
Join my private list at ClaudiaYoga NOW so we can keep a more private conversation, I love questions.
If you can't see the video at the top here is the link for it
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