How to Use a Yoga Strap ?
Just like yoga blocks, straps benefit both the newbie yogi and experienced yogi alike.
Using a yoga strap is a good way to get some self-help into your yoga practice. No matter what your level of experience is with yoga, a strap can provide useful help on support, alignment, and posture.
Remember not to get too excited and pull your way into postures with force! Always listen to your body, and let your body open up in its own time.
Using a Yoga Strap for a Good Posture
How to use a strap to keep a good posture. Not only during your yoga practice but also when you are at your desk, or doing the dishes!
1. Side Stretch
To stretch the arms, shoulders, and the sides of your body, take a hold of your strap a bit wider than shoulder width. Swaying slowly from side to side, stretching and opening the shoulders and each side of the body.
2. Opening the Shoulders
Take a hold of the strap a bit wider than your shoulders. Bring your arms straight toward the front and slowly back up again, continuing behind you.
This is a powerful way to open the shoulders and make sure the movement stays comfortable. Keep your hands wide enough on the strap, and don’t force the arms behind more than feels comfortable.
3. Seated Forward Bend, Paschimottanasana
To open up your hamstrings, place the middle of the strap around the ball of your feet. Hold on to the ends of the strap with your hands and straighten your legs.
Keep space between your pubic bone and navel, and don’t round your lower back. Gently pull yourself forward.
How to use a yoga strap in seated poses
In seated postures like the hamstring stretch shown above, yoga straps can be used around the feet as shown. Arms should be straight, and grab hold wherever you can. The pelvis will naturally tilt forward, bringing the body into alignment and bringing length into the hamstrings. It isn’t often that we sit like this, so shoulders might creep up toward the ears with tension. Be mindful of that, and relax the shoulders away from the ears, keeping the spine long and the shoulder blades melting down the back. Sternum is lifted.
4. Bound Angle Pose
For stretching the inner thighs and hips, come to Bound Angle Pose. Make a loop from the strap, and place it around your sacrum and underneath the feet. The tighter the strap, the closer your legs will be to your body. You can also lay down on your back while allowing your hips to open.
5. Reclining Leg Stretch
Start by laying down. Lift one leg, placing the middle of the strap on the ball of your foot. Lift your foot towards the ceiling and slowly start to straighten the leg.
Keep your elbows on the floor, making sure your shoulders are not strained.
6. Extended Hand to Big Toe
Make a loop on the end of the strap and place your foot into the loop.
Lift up the knee, holding on to the strap with the same side hand. Slowly straighten the leg, and use both hands to get into the pose.
Once you feel comfortable, release the opposite hand to your waist, holding on to the strap with one hand.
How to use a yoga strap in balancing poses
For balancing postures, the strap can be used in poses like extended hand to big toe when the flexibility isn’t as developed. Loop the strap around the foot as shown, and grab hold as close to the foot as you can, keeping the body long and in alignment, and keeping the arm straight. Activate the entire leg and breathe.
7. Dancer’s Pose, Natarajasana
Make a loop on the end of the strap, and place your foot in the loop. Stand close to a wall for safety, and bring your hands up while holding the other end of the strap, pointing the elbows toward the sky. Press onto the strap and start walking your hands along the strap, making it shorter.
8. Head-to-Knee Pose, Janu Sirsasana
Start in Dandasana and bend your right leg, bringing the foot close to the left inner thigh. Make a loop on the strap and place it around the ball of the left foot. Hold on the strap, and slowly lower yourself toward the extended leg. Remember, don’t pull with force!
9. Cow Face Pose, Gomukhasana Arms
If your shoulders are tight, the full extension of this pose can prove challenging for your arms.
Try holding on to the strap with both hands to stretch your way into the final pose.
How to use a yoga strap for shoulders
This is part of gomukasana (cow face pose), and is a pretty intense stretch for the shoulders and chest. The full expression is shown on the right, and if the hands don’t meet, use a strap as shown on the left. Try to keep the spine long, and the chest lifted.
10. Half or Full Boat Pose, (Ardha) Navasana
Place the strap under the balls of your feet, holding on to the ends of the strap. Lift up your legs slowly, and make sure your lower back stays extended, not rounded.
Push through your feet to the strap. Keep your knees bent and shins parallel to the floor for a Half Boat Pose, or extend your legs fully (shown in photo) for the Full Boat.
There are countless ways to use the strap for your advantage. Make sure you have a strap long enough to play with, and start exploring different ways to make it a part of your personal practice!
11 baddha konasana (cobbler’s pose)
The pose is the beginning of baddha konasana (cobbler’s pose). It can be tricky for people with tight hips. To support the hips and low back, use the strap as shown. Loop one end of the strap through the buckle and pull tightly. Set it just around the top of the hip bones, and loop the other side around the outer edges of the feet as shown. This will help the spine to stay long, and the pelvis to tilt forward.
Distance between the arms is super important in poses like downward dog, wheel and crow (shown above). If the elbows tend to go out toward the side, use a strap. Loop the strap through the buckle and tighten around the arms at shoulder width. Inhale and come into the posture – whether you’re trying this with downward dog, wheel or crow pose.
13 How to use a yoga strap in binds
To go a little deeper in the practice, yoga straps can be used when coming into binds like the one shown above. The full bind is in the second picture, and if the hands don’t quite meet, use a strap to get the extra length. Use the strap every time you practice a bind and in time, the flexibility in the hip will come and the chest will open up, allowing the hands to clasp.
14 king pigeon pose
What kind of yoga strap should I buy?
Straps come in various fabrics, widths and different types of buckles. They are fairly inexpensive, and pretty durable, so I recommend getting one if you can. I own both of the straps above and can recommend them. The only real difference is the buckle material.
1. Top Yoga Shop Accessories – They are great quality, and the buckles are strong despite being plastic. The buckle is metal, so it is very strong.