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Above: My and Gina Caputo’s teacher training students getting their yogi lederhosen on. Look at those beautiful shoulders!
Ah, yogi lederhosen! This genius strap get-up comes from the Iyengar lineage, and I am so grateful for their wisdom. This is one of the best ways to keep your spine supported while opening up the pecs and shoulders. Are you a chronic shoulder slumper? Need to sit for long periods and feel your spine collapse on you? Try this out and you’ll notice a huge difference in your ability to be alert and stay upright. This also feels wonderful if you’re dealing with injury (like I have been) and are retraining your muscles.
Take a long cloth yoga strap and wrap it around your bra line (gents, this is roughly at the base tip of your shoulder blades) and pull the extra length evenly in front of you.
Throw the ends of the straps over each shoulder like overalls. The excess strap will dangle behind you like hair falling down your back.
Grab the straps and criss-cross them to create an X shape on your back. Reach back and gently tug both sides of the strap down and away from each other until you feel your shoulder heads roll back and your lower trapezius release.
Bring the excess length back around to the front where you can buckle it at your breastbone (or under your pecs). Tighten until it feels comfortable and open. Make sure you don’t tighten it so much to create discomfort!
See also 6 Yoga Props to Boost Your Practice
About Kathryn Budig
Kathryn Budig is the yoga teacher behind AIM TRUE, a regular writer for Yoga Journal, and a presenter at YogaJournal LIVE!