Sometimes just the right adjustment from a trusted teacher brings about a breakthrough in your practice. A gentle tug on your shoulders in a back bend can open up new breathing space. Or a gentle weight on your upper thighs in Supine Hero’s Pose can relieve back strain.
But our teachers don’t join us in our home practice. How can we enjoy the same kind of opening and release when we practice alone? Yoga Sandbags can help.
Yoga Sandbags are a longtime staple in Iyengar Yoga practice. Like other familiar yoga props such as blocks, straps and bolsters, Yoga Sandbags help practitioners deepen their practice, regardless of their strength and flexibility.
3 Perfect Poses for Yoga Sandbags
Sandbags can be useful in lots of different poses. Here are three that we love:
- Standing Shoulder Stretch: It’s actually hard to stretch your shoulders without the help of something else—a teacher, a wall, blocks, etc. Using a Yoga Sandbag can assist in stretching the triceps, armpits and upper chest. Stand in Mountain Pose on a nonskid yoga mat. Hold the handle of your sandbag with both hands. Raise your arms overhead, then bend your elbows so that your sandbag hangs down between your shoulder blades. Take 5 to 10 deep breaths and then release.
- Supine Hero’s Pose: This pose is a staple in many people’s practice—as long as their knees can tolerate it. Before you try this, please read this post that explains cautions that can tell you whether this pose is right for you. If it is appropriate for you, kneel on a nonskid mat with your knees hips-width apart and your feet a bit wider. Place your hands on your calves and flatten the muscles down into the bones. Sit back between your heels. Place your sandbag on the very tops of your thighs and then lie back, either on a Yoga Bolster or on the floor. Adjust your sandbag so that it sits on top of your hip joints. Take 5 to 10 deep breaths before pushing yourself up to sitting. Here’s a post that explains how to use a bolster in Supine Hero’s Pose in case lying flat doesn’t work for you.
- Legs Up the Wall: One of Restorative Yoga’s classic poses, Legs Up the Wall can benefit from lots of prop variations. Traditionally, we use a bolster and yoga blanket, but straps and sandbags can come in handy too. Placing a bit of extra weight on your feet in this pose can help stabilize your sacroiliac area and relieve low-back stress. It’s a little tricky to position the sandbag yourself, but it can be done. Once you’ve positioned yourself in Legs Up the Wall (read this post on how to get into it), place your sandbag on your abdomen. Bend your knees and slide your feet down the wall. Place the sandbag onto the soles of your feet and straighten the legs back up the wall. Relax here for as long as it feels comfortable.
Hugger Mugger Yoga Products has been making Yoga Sandbags since very early in our 30-year history. Our Yoga Sandbags are filled with 10 pounds of silica sand. We also offer unfilled sandbags that you can fill yourself. Each bag is made of high-quality pack cloth with an inner coating that prevents dust and sand from escaping through the fabric. A sturdy handle makes it convenient to position and carry, and a zipper allows you to customize the filling.