If you’ve never used a yoga strap in a yoga class before, then let me introduce you to the simple yoga prop that can do wonders for you. A yoga strap does much more than just help you fold a little deeper to your toes. From opening up your shoulders into the world of bound yoga poses, to helping you get deeper into your backbends, a yoga strap may be small, but it’s mighty! Read on to discover new ways to use a yoga strap in your next practice and see your practice transform.
What is a yoga strap?
A yoga strap is a long grippy fabric strap that is a useful yoga prop that aids in lengthening parts of your body, mainly your arms. Just like you’ll often hear to use blocks to bring the ground closer to you, a strap will help with bringing your hands closer to your feet or your feet closer to your body. Some straps are just simply a strap, while others have an attachment so that you can create a secure loop with the strap, or even parts to help with a quick release. For many poses, a towel will even suffice!
What are yoga straps used for?
Yoga straps are used for assisting in mobility mainly. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or have been practicing yoga for years, a yoga strap can help you create new depths in your body. A strap helps with mobility by creating additional length, but a yoga strap can also be used for correcting alignment, increasing range of motion, helping to strengthen, and lastly, avoiding injuries by over-extending.
Yoga Strap Stretches
Try a few of these yoga poses with a strap and see how much more mobile you feel.
If you’ve ever struggled with tight shoulders and haven’t been able to interlace your fingers behind your back and lift your hands away from your body, then you need a yoga strap! Instead of interlacing your fingers, wrap the strap around both of your palms behind your back and then lift. This will give you more space in your shoulders so that you can thoroughly enjoy a deeper shoulder stretch.
Cow Face Arms
Another arm position that is difficult for those with tight shoulders, cow face arms can easily be changed to a different variation with a strap. Hold the strap in your top hand so that it dangles behind your back. With your lower hand hold onto the strap, using it to move your grip upwards and deepen the shoulder stretch.
Using a strap in binding poses is a great opportunity to help assist your shoulders in opening and keeping a tight grip. Examples of bound poses where a strap can be used in include extended side angle, bird of paradise, skater, one-legged forward fold, yogi squat, and more! In each pose, move the strap behind your back and use the strap to extend your arms or help you walk your grip closer.
Seated Forward Fold
Without the weight of your upper body when doing a standing forward fold, a seated forward fold can feel more difficult for your body to get into the same position. Using a strap, wrap it around the bottom of your feet, holding one side of the strap in each hand. Keep your spine straight as you walk your grip on the strap forward, closer to your feet to gently guide yourself forward.
Head to Knee Pose
Similar to seated forward fold, use a strap to wrap around your extended foot and hold onto each side of the strap with your hands. Gently guide your upper body forward.
Extended & Reclined Hand to Big Toe Pose
The strap is used the same in both of these poses. Loop the strap around the bottom of your extended leg. Hold the strap in both hands (one on either side or both in one hand) and use the strap to guide your leg closer to your body or to the side. If you open your leg to the side, place both sides of the strap into one hand.
For those building their core strength or working to a different variation of boat pose, try using a strap to ensure that your spine stays straight. Place the strap across the bottom of your feet and lift your legs with each hand holding one side of the strap. You have the option to keep your knees bent or to extend your legs straight so that you form a V shape with your upper and lower body. Use the strap to hold your legs steady while you keep your spine in a straight line.
King Pigeon Pose
From pigeon pose, bend your back leg and wrap the strap around your foot or ankle with a flexed foot. Reach your hands up and over your head and use both hands to hold onto the strap together and gently guide your back foot closer to your body. You may need to adjust your hands by walking them further forward or back on the strap as this pose is a deep shoulder opener as well.
Bound Angle Pose
This variation of butterfly pose is great for those with tight hips who struggle to keep a straight spine. Create a big loop with your strap and loop it around your lower back and bottom edges of your feet so that the loop runs over your hips. This will help guide your feet closer to your groin and keep a straight spine.
Reclined Figure 4
Using a strap in reclined figure 4 is a great option for those who have difficulty reaching through their legs or holding a grip. Thread one side of the strap through your legs, either behind your thigh or over the top of your shin. Hold one side of the strap in each hand and guide your leg closer to your body. Be mindful to keep your knee in line with your shoulder.
King Dancer Pose
From standing, lift one foot and loop the strap over the top of the foot. Flex into the foot to hold the strap secure as you begin to lift your leg. Reach both hands back over your head and use the strap to guide your lifted foot up and towards your back body. Walk your hands closer or further away from your foot based on the flexibility of your shoulders.
A deep shoulder stretch and back bend, bow can seem out of reach for many, but not with a strap! Flex your feet and loop your strap around your ankles or create a small loop around your feet, whichever is more secure. Reach both hands up and back and then guide your feet up. Walk your hands closer or further from your feet, depending on the flexibility of your shoulders.
Mini Yoga Workshop: Ways to Use a Strap Demonstrated!
Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more flows and yoga tips!