Retro Throwback: The Stretch Out Strap

On the weekends, please enjoy the Retro Throwback where I share my favorite posts from some time ago.

I happened upon the stretch out strap when the studio owner showed it to me online. Another student at our studio had told her about it she told me, and I bought it. Now I’m telling you. The idea behind the stretch out strap is to help you get into stretches that might normally require a partner. The strap comes with a book whose surface I have just barely scratched.

First, why did I get the strap? Well, we all know I am a totaly sucker for buying anything yoga related and giving it a whirl. But at the time, I was very interested in stretching out my hamstrings. I was excited to buy the strap and give it a test drive on my hamstrings and anything else it might have been good for. The book gives very clear directions for how to use the strap on a variety of muscles (hamstrings, calves, your shoulders which I know isn’t a muscle, but still…). I started with just hamstrings and that alone has kept me busy (I added in calf stretches after I’d had the strap for about two weeks and had gotten comfortable with the hamstring stretches).

I do the stretches everyday before class. You do not need to do them in a heated room, and you do not need to have taken class to do them. You can do the stretches whenever it suits you. Just be mindful of your body and what it can take as you normally would.

So the next obvious question would be: Does it work/help? Yes, absolutely. Although I am having a rough time getting my head to my knee in standing head to knee, I am not having any difficulties kicking out on either side. That has gotten much easier. In stretching pose, I am getting much better at being able to kick my heel off the floor and get my forehead to my knee without  being my knee and keeping the foot off the floor. Sometimes this happens in both sets. Sometimes just in second set. In the final part of stretching I used to have a terrible time with my hamstrings. I would hold the pose as long as I felt my hamstrings could take it. But now it’s usually not my hamstrings that are giving me problems – it’s my calf muscles! So I’m moving on to include calf stretches with my pre-class workout.

The final thing you need to know about the stretch out strap is that it is very inexpensive. You can get what I have for about 12.00. This includes a book and a strap that will keep you plenty busy. You can buy other books/straps that are more focused if you want. For example, they have a whole book devoted to stretching out shoulders and arms. I’ll need this someday. Ok, fine, I need it now, but there’s only so much a person can do at once. I’ve decided to start with my hamstrings and calves. That alone might take awhile, but it’ll be worth it.

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