Not much is required to practice yoga. A mat and something comfortable to wear is plenty to get going. But as a beginner (or even a seasoned yogi) there are some props that can aid your practice, such as bolsters, blocks, and yoga straps.
Now if you’ve just started your yoga practice, chances are you’re wondering what on earth bolsters, blocks, and yoga straps are. Have you noticed these pillow like objects, cork rectangles, or belt-like straps lying around your yoga studio? Well, then you’ve seen them. Today we’re going to have a look at one of those props in particular.
Ever wonder how to use a yoga strap? Then this post is for you.
Yoga straps come in a couple of different designs. The most common style is a long canvas strap with a couple of metal loops on one end, much like a very long belt. A newer take on the strap is the Infinity Strap, invented by yogi Amir Zaki. I use an Infinity Strap at home and the longer more traditional straps at my yoga studio.
The basic idea with a yoga strap is to aid your range of motion in your yoga practice. The flexibility in your body is going to differ from day to day no matter how seasoned of a yogi you are. Depending on your level of practice, how often you practice, and if you have any injuries, you might find that you are very tight in certain areas of your body.
I often hear people say they can’t do yoga because they can’t touch their toes. But being inflexible is no reason to roll up your mat and deem yourself unfit for yoga. You don’t have to be the most flexible person to ever step into a pair of yoga tights in order to do yoga. That’s exactly why we use little helpers like yoga straps in our practice, and you’ll see that even the most advanced yogis use these aids.
You’ve got to accept where your body is at and where you are at in your practice. Check your ego at the door and use a prop if you need to.
Here’s a couple of examples of how you can use a strap in your yoga practice.
How to Use a Yoga Strap
Dancer pose | Natarajasana
Allow a strap to give you the extra length you need to close the gap between your hands and foot in dancer pose.
Pigeon pose | Ekohastapada Kapotasana
Work into pigeon pose by using a strap to reach back and grasp your foot.
Crane Pose | Bakasana
Wrap a strap around your upper arms to keep your arms from slipping out to the sides in Bakasana.
Plank | Dandasana
Keep your elbows and arms in line with your shoulders by wrapping a strap around the mid and lower part of your arms in plank pose.
Seated Forward Bend | Paschimottanasana
Use a strap to reach forward and around your feet in seated forward fold.
Bow Pose | Urdhva Dhanurasana
Allow a strap to close the gap between your hands and feet in this intense back bend.
Hero Pose | Gomukha Virasana
Inch your hands along the strap to get them closer to each other and work towards clasping your hands behind your back.
Forward Fold | Uttanasana
If you struggle to clasp your hands behind your back in this variation of Uttanasana, you can use a strap to join the hands.
Dolphin Pose | Ardha Pincha Mayurasana
Place a strap on the mid to upper arms to keep the elbows from sliding out in dolphin pose.
In this post I’m wearing tights, sports bras and tops from Titika, feather tights are from the oneOeight Kickstarter campaign.
That looks all fine but how do you actually get into the pose to begin with. It is very awkward to grab your foot behind you wrap the strap and lift to the pose you see above. It would be good to know how best to get there.
Thank you for the suggestion Johanne! I will keep that in mind for upcoming/future features and articles.