Switch Up Your Grip for A More Balanced Practice

Do you switch up your grip in second set?  I always try to.  For me, this means placing my other thumb on top in the second set of postures.  Early on in my practice one of my instructors suggested it, and it was easy enough to adopt.  It has become a habit, and one that I am happy I have.  I feel that it provides a more balanced stretch to my arms, shoulders and back, and builds more equal grip strength in my hands.  It also gives me a shot of discipline and focus in my practice, as I have to decide which thumb to put on top first and remember to switch it up for the next set.  Usually my right thumb goes on top in standing and my left thumb on top on the floor.  Not sure why….

I find the grip switch particularly useful in half moon.  I get a much stronger stretch in my hip when the thumb on top is the same as the side to which I am bending.  It makes sense, as the thumb is the strongest digit and its iron grip on the stretching arm allows for greater reach.  I also find it useful in half tortoise as it focuses the stretch on alternate sides of my back and hips in the two sets.  I also switch which arm is on top in wind removing pose and fixed firm pose.  This helps me get a more equal stretch in my shoulders, which happen to be very tight.

I find it interesting that some instructors talk about switching the grip and others do not.  It must not be part of the official dialogue, but I think it is ok to go off script a little bit, to add a helpful detail to the practice.  I appreciate it when instructors do that.  It makes the instruction more personal, and helps us learn from their practice in addition to the dialogue.

Fellow yogis, do you switch your grip?

7 thoughts on “Switch Up Your Grip for A More Balanced Practice

  1. Yep, I always switch grip in 2nd set. Like you, a teacher suggested it pretty early on, and I’ve been doing it ever since to balance everything out. Along those same lines, my very first bikram teacher used to always have us alternate directions when turning around to savasana and after each sit-up. I try to keep that one up but don’t always remember.


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