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Rope and Belt Therapy in Yoga - An Overview

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Rope and belt therapy is a therapeutic form of yoga that is extremely helpful in joint pain relief. Its foundation is made up of the standard yogic positions.

Medically reviewed by

Shakti Mishra

Published At January 13, 2023
Reviewed AtMay 18, 2023


When asanas are performed with rope therapy, they are much more balanced and perfectly aligned. They can have better rib cage opening and spinal rotation, which would be very challenging without rope yoga. In 1970, Guruji BKS Iyengar pioneered the use of props, such as ropes, belts, bolsters, cushions, bricks, blankets, and the viparita dandasana bench, to focus on body alignment and get the most out of a yoga pose. Later, his disciple Dr. SV Karandikar explained the use of these props from a medical perspective. With his expertise in medicine and extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology, he improved the use of yoga props to treat musculoskeletal ailments using rope and belt treatment. It is a supplemental treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee joint, lumbar & cervical spondylosis.

How Does Belt and Rope Treatment Work?

  1. The use of props is prevalent in rope and belt treatment. In addition, the restorative belts and ropes are significant supports.

  2. To accommodate the necessary loops for specific postures, therapeutic belts are constructed with various lengths, attachment types for the buckles, and stitching patterns.

  3. Some belts are 180 inches long or just 36 inches short. Similarly to that, therapeutic ropes come in a variety of lengths.

  4. Some might be up to 4 meters long or only 1.5 meters short. These therapeutic ropes offer pain alleviation during rope therapy.

  5. To fix the alignment around the anatomical axis, belts must be employed precisely with acute anatomical accuracy.

  6. Rope and belt yoga increases flexibility and muscle length by providing traction to the joints and long holds in the asanas.

  7. The joint under pressure due to incorrect alignment might have long-term adverse effects.

  8. As a result, as we adjust the body's alignment, the joint strain spontaneously lessons, providing a respite for its recovery.

  9. Similarly, traction causes the joint to elongate and extend at the desired location. Wherever necessary, medial and lateral joint rotation is also beneficial.

  10. Since the belts are comfortable for up to three to four hours daily, rope and belt therapy supports the joint during the day.

  11. Rope and belt therapy consists of two parts:

  • First, to be conducted at the yoga center by a skilled yoga therapist.

  • To be utilized in daily life and taught to patients.

What Are the Specific Advantages of Rope and Belt Therapy?

1. Pain Management-

Joint discomfort begins to lessen as the therapy continues, and the demand for painkillers also decreases. Stretching specific skeletal muscles is one of the fundamental concepts of rope and belt therapy.

2. Correct Body Posture -

Therapy works to preserve the effects of treatment by addressing postural alignment. Any treatment's impact might be nullified by improper alignment. Correcting the pelvic and shoulder girdles passively and rectification of the body's weight-bearing axis by an increase in postural awareness.

3. Reduction in Muscular Stiffness -

Muscle stiffness is reduced since the postures are sustained for extended periods, and muscles begin to lengthen with props. Muscles also become supple and flexible as a result.

4. Increased Range of Motion (ROM) -

The target joint's range of motion (ROM) gradually increases as the pain subsides and the muscles restore flexibility. As a result, the patient has gained confidence and can now engage in daily activities, including cycling, gardening, and stair climbing. Also, the alignment of the bones is restored.

5. Better Quality of Life -

A pain-free, healthy body makes life enjoyable. The patient's optimism returns as he acquires confidence in performing his daily tasks. They feel compelled to participate in extracurricular activities. Their spirits are raised, and they bring positivity.

In Which Medical Conditions Are Rope and Belt Yoga Therapy Applied?

The use of rope treatment is highly beneficial for people with severe degrees of

  1. Knee Osteoarthritis (Knee Pain) -

  • A degenerative condition of the joints is osteoarthritis. Wear and tear is what causes this joint deterioration. Thus, it is more prevalent in joints that support the weight.

  • The body's weight-bearing joints include the intervertebral, sacroiliac, hip, knee, and ankle joints.

  • The tissue in question is articulated cartilage, which has a low capability for regeneration. Therefore, it should be kept from degenerating. However, once it begins and if it results in discomfort, stiffness, or mobility restrictions, it can be reliably treated by creative yogic positions and rope and belt therapy.

  • The goal is to correct the mechanical axis (the axis that supports weight). Working on the muscles affecting the knee joint will help with this.

  • Rope and belt therapy is a valuable weapon in the conservative arsenal for treating osteoarthritis of the knee joints. It has been widely employed over the past 30 years and is successful in Grade I, II, and early III patients.

  • There are two phases of modified yogic postures.

    • Phase I involves hamstring and calf stretching positions to reduce knee joint flexion deformity.

    • In Phase II, the extensor muscles of the knee and hip joints are strengthened to rectify the mechanical axis of the body. Again, patients are required to practice these twice daily.

  • Patients must utilize ambulatory belts for a short period in daily activities to correct rotational balance at the knee joint.

2. Spondylosis-

  • Back and shoulder or neck discomfort is a significant concern in all types of spondylosis.

  • To maintain our upright position, our spine must face gravity. Vertebral muscles acting against gravity execute this challenging effort. Their exhaustion emphasizes the need to get enough rest. The gravitational pull no longer affects us.

  • Awareness of scapular mobility is necessary for the cervical spine's depression and retraction. Rope and belt therapy is a unique yogic variant that is particularly successful in the conservative management of spondylosis.

  • It operates on distraction at the spinal column, correction of accentuated spin curvatures, correction of heightened lumbosacral angle, and mobility of the spine.

  • In this form of therapy, patients learn about their spine's curvatures, deviations, ideal erect posture, and the effectiveness of internal distraction.

  • It is essential to emphasize the significance that the relaxation response, taught during Savasana, plays in reducing problems.


The use of rope and belt therapy is beneficial in contemporary yogic science. For example, patients with a history of pain and muscle spasms cannot practice, and complete traditional yoga poses. In these situations, rope and belt therapy is beneficial. It is recommended for one month to six months, after which the patient's daily activities return to normal, and one can engage in moderate cardiovascular exercise and traditional yoga postures. For those who are very motivated, intense, academic, and self-care-oriented, rope and belt therapy is helpful. For older persons, a family-level support structure is necessary. The treatment is entirely non-invasive. It is a variation of Ashtanga yoga poses that enables patients to benefit fully regardless of their physical state.

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Shakti Mishra
Shakti Mishra



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