Binding the Hands in a Yoga Posture. Is it Really Necessary?
Binding the hands can sometimes be one of the most 'torturous' moment for most of us during a yoga session.
Is it really necessary to bind the hands?
Why do we bind them at the first place?
1. to deepen a pose
2. to gain harmony and to connect the flow between our Yin/Yang energy.
When should we not bind your hands?
1. When we have shoulder injury/ frozen shoulder. Forcing the bind will definitely do more harm than good.
2. When the spine is not in an optimum alignment while doing a pose.
3. when there is no stability at the legs and hips for example Side Angle Pose, Birds of Paradise and Marichyasana.
When the lower region is not in an optimum and supportive position, the spine's alignment and strength will be affected. If we force ourselves to bind our hands, we will create more imbalance to the structure of the pose. Hence, potentially injuring the body, particularly the shoulders and the spine.
The ability to bind our hands in a pose does not show how good we are or how advanced are we in our practice. When our body is ready in terms of strength, flexibility, internal energy and breath, we will be able to perform a lot of postures without much internal obstructions.
How to free the shoulders?
When we have problems binding our hands, it is advisable to consider taking the following actions:-
1. get a spinal check from a licensed healthcare professional. Often times, scoliosis could cause hips and shoulders imbalanced. Difficulties to bind our hands is just one of the symptom.
2. Check our postural habits, such as a tendency to leaning to a particular side while sitting, driving or lying down . Poor postural habits contributes to unhealthy physical structure and health.
3. Which is the dominant arm when we carry a bag. If we always prefer the right side, notice that the right shoulder might be slightly higher than the left. Consequently, it might be easier to bind on one side than the other.
4. Use a Yoga strap or towel to help with the bind but be mindful that we are not binding the hands for the sake of binding them but instead, to create a slight tension in order to support and restructure the health of our shoulders and spine.
5. Try to do simple shoulder exercises and stretches everyday. Shoulder mobility exercises are great help.
Remember, a good practice is one that is pain free, calm, steady and stable. Sthira Sukham Asanam or Calm, Steady Posture (breathing included!) should always be our mantra while performing Yoga postures.
What challenges you while attempting to bind your hands during your practice?
I'd love to know.