Effective placement of Sandbags are a wonderful compliment to your Yoga practice.
They are often placed on the pelvis, low back and along the low ribs (above the diaphragm muscle).
When used on the pelvis correctly they can offer a more grounded experience that often results in more release and better articulation of the leg bone’s potential movement in the hip socket and greater freedom in the upper body.
When placed on the low back the same grounding can result in breath moving freely through the hips and ease for the low back (as the pressure can offer stability) and when placed on the Diaphragm area of the low ribs the weight can develop awareness of this all important primary muscle of respiration, highlight restriction in one’s breath and aid in strengthening the Diaphragm muscle itself.
One of the tricks when it comes to placing the sandbag on any of these areas is to watch (as the instructor) and feel (as the student) how the soft tissue north and south of the placement responds.
For example: If you are to place the sandbag over the Diaphragm muscle notice what happens at the neck. If the soft tissue is caught up and as a result does not have the length to sustain the weight of the sandbag you will feel/see a snag/pull and subsequent welling of tension at the neck. In this case try a lighter sandbag or continue with your Yoga practice; working within your optimal range of motion (particularly with the shoulder and pelvic girdle) and the snag will begin to unwind to the point that you will no longer feel the pull when you place the sandbag.
You will notice a similar sensation in all of the above mentioned placements if the soft tissue is currently to restricted, and it is a mistake to wait it out or suffer through it.
The result of ‘waiting it out’ would be to encourage another pattern of compensation that consequently begins to wind the web up in a different direction. It is the body’s way of holding things together when it is being asked to go to far to fast.
Like all things. Less really is more.
Feel deep into the layers of soft tissue that make up your body and settle for nothing less than whole body nourishment from each practice. Including placing the sandbag.