Many yoga accessories can make your practice more effective. One of these is a yoga strap. There are different types of yoga straps that can be tailored to different body types and goals, as well as many benefits that come with using one.
Some of the benefits that a yoga strap can bring you include the ability to mimic longer arm length, better posture, the ability to practice poses that you aren’t ready to do on your own, tension relief, the ability to generate feedback from your body, and better relaxation during the exercise.
If you are interested in enriching your yoga practice, you may want to start using a yoga strap yourself. Read on to see how a yoga strap could make your sessions better.
What Is a Yoga Strap?
Usually, a yoga strap is a piece of material that is between six and nine feet long. It can be made of a variety of different materials, including cotton and hemp. Many commercially made yoga straps include some type of a buckle, which allows you to connect the two ends of the strap together to assist with certain yoga asanas.
Many yoga straps have D-rings. These are metal rings that are shaped like the letter D, and they allow you to make adjustments to the strap. You can adjust the strap by either lengthening it or making it shorter so that it is customized to your preferences. In some cases, taller people might want longer straps, for example.
You can also use the D-ring to make a loop at the end of the strap, which can help you effectively do certain yoga poses.
In some cases, people will just hold each end of the strap in order to help them stretch. They help you maintain the right posture when you are doing certain poses.
There are many different benefits that come with using a yoga strap. Some of these apply only to a few people, while some can potentially apply to anyone.
Mimics Longer Arm Length
If you have a yoga strap that is at least eight feet long / 2 m long, it can effectively make your arms longer during yoga practice. Some poses will be hard to accomplish with only the length of your arms, but when you have the strap, you will be able to attempt them and derive similar benefits as if you weren’t using a strap.
For example, if you are trying to stretch your quadricep by pulling your leg to a position behind you, you may not be able to do this on your own. A yoga strap can be made into a loop, wrapped around your foot, and used to pull your leg into the correct position.
Gives You Better Posture
Good posture is very important during yoga, and you can use your yoga strap to maintain appropriate posture throughout your practice. Basically, you can turn it into a contraption that keeps your shoulders back.
All you need to do is find the strap center and place this area between your shoulder blades. Then, move the ends of the straps under your armpits and back over your shoulders. Slide the strap ends under the part of the strap that is on your back, and pull them taut. Now, you can keep your back straight throughout your session.
Opens You Up to More Advanced Poses
A yoga strap can allow you to attempt poses that you may not feel confident trying on your own. It will give you the chance to experiment and do easier versions of these poses, which will allow you to work up to doing them without the strap.
Not every human body is created to be the same. Some people are naturally more flexible than others, for example. Even though you should push yourself to improve, you should not push yourself too hard, and attempt poses that you are not ready to do.
This is where a yoga strap can help. Suppose you are interested in trying a pose but are not quite limber enough to do it just yet. In that case, the strap can help you become familiar with the motions and muscle groups that need to be worked.
These straps can be used by people at all levels of yoga. Beginners can use them to help learn basic alignment and awareness of their bodies. The straps can also help them develop the necessary posture for the practice.
If you are more advanced in the practice, you can use the strap to venture into more challenging poses. The yoga strap will give you as much resistance as you allow, so you can safely teach your body poses and build up your strength while maintaining good alignment.
You can reach challenging yoga poses by holding your yoga straps and trying to stretch them longer. When you are ready to put this strain on your muscles, the strap can be a good stepping stone to doing these challenging poses on your own.
You can use a yoga strap to do specific stretches, which can help you warm up your muscles and start to become more flexible.
- First, hold on to a portion of your strap that is a little bit wider than your shoulders.
- Put one hand on each side of the portion and hold the strap’s length over your head.
- Move your body slowly from side to side, bending your torso on each side.
- Stretch and open up your shoulders, in addition to both sides of your body.
Opening Your Shoulders
Again, take a portion of the yoga strap that is a little bit wider than your shoulders, and hold onto the length of it with your hands. Bring your arms straight to the front, slowly move them upwards, and then move them behind your body.
This is a good way to open up your shoulders and make sure that you aren’t straining yourself. Keep your hands far apart on the yoga strap, and don’t push your arms behind you any more than what you are sure you can handle.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
This exercise can help open up your hamstrings.
- First, sit down with your legs extended all the way out.
- Put the middle of the strap around the balls of both of your feet. You should be holding onto the ends of the strap with your hands.
- Maintain space between your navel and pubic bone, and keep your lower back straight.
- Pull yourself forward gently as you hold onto the yoga strap.
Bound Angle Pose
Start off by lying down on your back and opening up your hips. This is a good exercise for stretching out your hips and inner thighs. Create a loop from the strap, and circle it around your sacrum and underneath your feet. If you have the strap circled around really tightly, your legs will be very close to your body, so put the strap around yourself as tightly as you can handle.
Reclining Leg Stretch
- First, lie down flat on the ground.
- Lift up one of your legs so that it is at a 90-degree angle from the rest of your body.
- Place the middle of your yoga strap on the ball of the foot that is raised in the air, and hold on to the ends of the strap with your hands.
- Raise your foot as close to the ceiling as possible, slowly straightening your leg. Make sure to keep your elbows on the ground. You should also make sure that you don’t feel any strain in your shoulders.
Once you are done holding this pose, repeat the pose with the other leg.
Extended Hand to Big Toe
Make sure that you are in a standing position for this exercise.
- Using the D-ring, make a loop on the end of the strap, and put your foot into it.
- Make the loop tight around your foot, though not so tight that it is uncomfortable.
- Lift up your knee, continuing to hold onto the strap with the hand on the same side as the leg.
- Slowly straighten your leg until it is at a 90-degree angle from the rest of your body.
- Use both of your hands to support yourself in this pose.
- Once you are comfortable doing so, move your hand that is opposite to the leg to your waist, and continue to hold onto the yoga strap with the hand that is on the same side as your leg.
Once you are done, repeat this exercise with the other leg.
Natarajasana (Dancer’s Pose)
- Create a loop on the end of the yoga strap, using the D-ring.
- Securely place your foot inside the loop. If you are afraid you may not have the balance to stay standing, you can stand next to a wall for safety purposes.
- Bring your hands up, pulling your leg up behind you as well.
- Point your elbows straight up.
- Press onto the strap and walk your hands along it, making it shorter and pulling your leg as far up as you can.
After holding this pose for as long as you comfortably can, repeat it with your other leg.
Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose)
- Start by sitting down with your legs straight in front of you.
- Bend your right leg, extending your knee to the right side so that your right foot is close to your left inner thigh.
- Create a loop on the strap and wrap it around the ball of your left foot.
- Hold onto the yoga strap with your hands, and slowly lower your torso towards your legs and the ground.
Be as gentle as possible, not pulling forcefully. Once you have held this pose for as long as you can, start over with the other leg.
Gomukhasana Arms (Cow Face Pose)
This can be a challenging pose for those who have tight shoulders.
- Start in a sitting position, and then bend your knees with your knees on the floor.
- Move your left foot under your right knee and then outside of the right hip.
- Cross your right leg over the left, with the right knee on top of the left knee and the right foot right next to the outside of the left hip. Try to bring your heels to a position where they are equidistant to each of your hips.
- Inhale and stretch your right arm to the right so that it is parallel to the floor.
- Rotate your arm so that the thumb first points to the floor and then behind you.
- Move your arm behind your back and keep your forearm around the level of your lower back.
- Roll your shoulder back and downwards, and then move your forearm until it’s parallel to your spine.
- Now, it’s time to inhale and stretch your left arm right out in front of you and rotate it inwardly, just like you did with your right arm earlier.
- Bend your elbow and reach for your other hand. The goal here is to be able to hook the left and right fingers, but you may not be able to do that.
- This is where the yoga strap comes in. Hold a section of the yoga strap between both of your hands, and try to bring them as close together on the strap as you can.
- Lift the left elbow towards the sky, and move the other elbow towards the ground.
- Try to push your shoulder blades down towards your back ribs, and lift up your chest. Your left arm should be right next to your head at this point, on the left side.
If you can, stay in this pose for approximately one minute. Then, release your arms, uncross your legs, and then do the pose again with the arms and legs in the opposite orientations.
Ardha Navasana (Half or Full Boat Pose)
- Start out in a sitting position, with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Position the middle of the yoga strap under the balls of both of your feet, and hold on to the ends of the strap.
- Slowly, lift both of your legs at once off of the ground.
- Do your best to keep your lower back extended rather than rounded; it might be difficult to maintain your balance, but try your best.
- Push on the yoga strap with your feet. If you want to do the Half Boat Pose, keep your knees bent and have your calves parallel to the floor. For the Full Boat Pose, extend your legs completely.
A yoga strap can help you relieve tension in your abdominal area when you are doing certain poses. Some exercises will place the focus on your abdominal area, which can be very challenging for some people. In many cases, this tension can cause your body to shake all over. You can put it under the soles of your feet and use your arms to stabilize your body.
If you are not shaking and are able to keep your balance, you will find that the pose is much easier to do. This way, you can focus on posture and breathing, rather than getting bogged down in how hard it is to maintain the pose with all the tension in your stomach.
Gives You Feedback
When you do yoga, you should be listening to your body. Using a yoga strap can give you a good chance to do this. The feedback that you get from the sensation of the yoga strap on a particular area of your body can tell you about any problem areas that you might have or what you might need to work on.
A yoga strap can help you really understand how the small movements that are important to many postures are supposed to feel. They will really help you get a feel for what is happening in your muscles when you might not notice otherwise. They can help you develop awareness in your body, which is very important in yoga.
Helps You Relax
Straps will help you rest during yoga by allowing you to stay in certain gentle poses for longer periods of time. Because the strap allows you to use the same principles and postures without straining yourself as much, you will be able to hold the pose for longer and experience the associated benefits.
Benefits Of Using A Yoga Strap: Conclusion
As you can see, there are many different uses and benefits that come with incorporating a yoga strap into your practice. Not everyone is at the same level of ability, and a yoga strap will make it possible for people to do yoga who may not have attempted it otherwise. This can allow them to derive benefits that they would not have been exposed to without this assistance.
Just like any other accessory, it is up to you whether you want to use a yoga strap or not. It may be good to have one on hand just in case.