Decades in the past, Kevin Gardiner, considered one of my Iyengar academics, introduced out brief picket dowels as props for Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand). That instantly sparked my curiosity on this device and the way it is perhaps utilized in different methods in school. I purchased a dozen five-foot picket broom handles—and later purchased shorter and longer variations—to experiment with.
Dowels, small-diameter rods of any size—manufactured from wooden, metallic, or plastic—have turn into a few of my favourite props as a result of they’re so versatile. They present alignment suggestions, mild leverage, and traction (stretching your backbone) to alleviate strain and make it easier to lengthen muscle tissue and launch joints. And they are often a level of resistance, a device for core work, an help to balance, and extra. Dowels can help sound posture and be used creatively to will let you expertise poses in novel methods.
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If you expertise back pain, a dowel is especially helpful as a result of it may possibly allow you to uncover safer motion patterns to guard your again. These new patterns can forestall compression of your backbone throughout core work, forward bends, and aspect bends (lateral flexions)—permitting you to elongate and strengthen your muscle tissue with out inflicting further pressure.
You can consider a dowel as an exterior illustration of your midline that will help you discover robust axial extension, which is a full lengthening of your backbone. For instance, in the event you place the dowel in entrance of you and near your physique in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and pull down on it, your chest will carry and your backbone will lengthen. For these with again ache as a result of disc issues, this motion lessens strain on intervertebral discs and nerve roots. A dowel may also supply secure help on the ground at one finish whereas permitting protected motion and traction on the different finish in poses corresponding to Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) or Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend). And it could possibly supply ease in poses resembling Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose), since not as a lot vary of movement is required if you use a dowel.
I now train with a six-foot dowel with a 1.25-inch diameter, however you should use a shorter dowel—comparable to a five-foot paint-roller pole or broom deal with—for most poses. A six-foot dowel is greatest for Revolved Side Angle Pose or Utkatasana (Chair Pose).
To expertise the soothing, stabilizing advantages of yoga with a dowel, make a journey to the ironmongery shop, then do this sequence. If you’re experiencing again ache, be sure that to examine in together with your physician earlier than making an attempt something new.
About the Author
Alison West, PhD, C-IAYT, is the founder and director of Yoga Union and the Yoga Union Backcare & Scoliosis Center in New York City. For extra methods to guard and help your backbone, enroll for her online course, Yoga for Back Health: A 6-Week Clinic for Mobility, Strength, and Pain Relief. Sign up today!
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