Introduction: The Metatarsal Arch Friendly Yoga Strap

During one of my first few yoga teacher training weekends, we discussed variations of the supine stretch (Supta Padangusthasana I), for the beginner student. One of those used a yoga strap over the foot if the student isn't flexible enough to reach the big toe. However, the ordinary strap had one issue, in that it could tend to flex the metatarsal arch in the opposite direction. This project outlines a simple modification for a yoga strap (adding a tennis ball) which prevents the arch from being flexed in the wrong direction.

Step 1: Parts and Tools

For this project you'll need the following items and tools:
1) a lighter weight 6' yoga strap - if the strap is to heavy (thick) it may not pass through the holes in the tennis ball
2) a tennis ball
3) X-acto knife with #11 blade
4) fine tip / felt tip marker
5) one thin dime
6) needle nose pliers

Step 2: Marking and Cutting the Holes

Use the dime as a template for the holes in the tennis ball, tracing the outside diameter of the dime with the marker and placing the two holes on opposite sides of the tennis ball.

Once the holes are marked, carefully cut out the holes with the X-acto knife.

NOTE: the holes should not be much bigger than a dime in size, otherwise the tennis ball could lose its integrity, during the intended use

Step 3: Threading the Strap

To thread the strap through the holes I rolled the end of the strap and fed it through the first hole. If the rolled strap holds through the first hole, you may be able to feed it on through to the second hole. If not, take the needle nose pliers and grab the end of the strap and pull it through the second hole. The resulting modified yoga strap with tennis ball is shown below.

Step 4: Supine Stretch (Supta Padangusthasana I)

Here's the modified strap in use for a supine stretch (Supta Padangusthasana I).

Notice that the ball pressing into the metatarsal arch, allows that arch to maintain its natural shape, while performing this pose/stretch.
  • For this pose the left leg is on the floor extended and strong.
  • The right leg is up and as straight as possible with the tennis ball, on the strap, placed at the metatarsal arch.
  • The shoulders are relaxed into there sockets and slightly pressed into the floor, so that the arms are applying a firm tension against the strap, pulling not just downward, but also slightly forward (direction the toes are pointed).
  • Remember to breath, being aware of your breath and the movement of the diaphragm, while holding the pose.
Hold the stretch for ~30 seconds and repeat on the left leg.

For some info on other variations on this stretch, see my blog "The Yoga Ride".

Comments

author
fireballxl5 (author)2014-01-13

One thing that I've noticed is, that over time, the tennis ball starts to crack around the two holds that were cut. I was thinking of doing some elaborate 3D prototype of a special ball to clamp on to the strap, but I think I found a ready-made solution. This ball;

http://www.bionicplay.com/products_ball.html

which is designed and sold as a pet toy, works ideally with a yoga strap. The ball is tough, durable and has some weight and support that the tennis ball didn't. I used the Medium sized ball (the website says it's for 15-35 lb dogs) and it works well with my Manduka yoga strap.

ball_bionic.jpg
author
fireballxl5 (author)2013-11-16

One slight change to this Instructable, to hold the ball in place on the strap, you can tie a loose knot in the strap and feed the knot into the hole in the tennis ball. The knot should be in the middle of the strap, so that the ball would then be held in place in the middle of the strap.

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Bio: I've always been a maker, mod-er, and tinkerer. I started out by taking things apart and then trying to put them back together. Most ... More »
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