This post goes out to all my yoga babes who need some loving in the flexibility category.
I’m going to assume that includes ALL OF US!
Even if you’re naturally bendy, a yoga strap can greatly increase the stretch and overall posture. And that’s exactly what a yoga strap is intended to do – make postures more accessible – to EVERYONE.
The last two posts that focused on yoga props were geared more towards relaxation, lengthening, and deepening.
And while a strap can definitely aid in lengthening and deepening, it’s typically not used to achieve relaxation. If you’re one of those only like to do yoga to relax, please stay and keep reading…. Not all is lost! And if you’re my love to vinyasa/power flow people, than definitely stay!
Let’s not waste any time about why props are helpful in yoga. I explain this concept pretty in-depth in the other two yoga prop tutorials. If you’re not sure why we use them, read those, then come back here stat.
Benefits of using a yoga strap:
- Improves flexibility.
- Helps lengthen & extend.
- Helps support and stabilize.
- Increases balance & strength in balancing postures (arm balances + inversions).
- Brings the body to you – literally.
You can buy this awesome yoga prop here or at any of your major retailers – Target, TJ Maxx, Ross, or Marshalls.
And without further ado, let’s get to this yoga tutorial, shall we?
Read below for 6 ways to use a yoga strap ↓↓↓
1. Forward Folds
How to Use:
- Wrap the strap around the balls of the feet.
- Keep the feet flexed and legs activated.
- Secure both ends of the strap with the hands.
- Use the strap to help lengthen the back body while stretching the hamstrings. It’s important to keep legs active here – quadriceps engaged & knee caps lifting, this will allow the hamstrings to relax and stretch safely.
- Hold for a few breaths here and then readjust.
- Walk hands down the strap and closer to the feet as the muscles begin to relax and soften.
Forward fold postures:
- Janu Sirsasana
- Badda Konasana
2. Shoulder Mobility
How to use:
- Bring the strap in front of the body to chest height.
- Wrap both hands around the strap and at shoulder width or wider. Most people will need to take hands wider than shoulder width here. Play around and feel what’s right for your body.
- On an inhale breath – bring strap up towards the sky and overhead.
- On an exhale breath – bring strap behind the body and down towards the booty.
- On an inhale breath – bring strap back around to the front, stop at the top, and exhale it down to the front (beginning position).
- Do this at least 5 times to really warm the shoulders.
It can feel as though it’s too deep of a stretch at times, this is okay.
Breathe through the uncomfortable emotions and know that it’s only temporary. If the uncomfortable feeling is actually pain, back out of the posture and only go to your edge here.
Feel free to move the arms around too – bringing the strap behind you, then rotating so one hand is toward the sky and the other towards the Earth. Be organic. Enjoy the movement and deep opening action here.
Savor these simple stretches, they are some of the best!
How to use:
- Bring the strap into whatever hand will be on top. In the photo above, it’s my left hand.
- The strap should come down the back side of the body.
- Right arm reaches back and up to secure the strap.
- Slowly inch your hands closer to one another. Find your edge here!
- Sit up tall and lengthen through the crown of the head.
- Gently suck bellybutton back and in to engage the core.
- Keep opening through the top elbow and sending it straight up towards the sky.
3. Supta Padangustasana
(reclined hand to big toe pose)
How to use:
- Lie down on the back and wrap the strap around the ball of the foot. For instructional purposes, let’s start on the right foot.
- Wrap both hands around the strap at a height where the arms can gently pull on the foot. As seen in the photo above, bend at the elbows and engage the arms. They are working here!
- Flatten the low back down to the ground, keep length in the back of the neck, and keep left leg active and extended.
- Slowly and gently pull the strap towards the face, stretching the right leg. You’re going to feel it!
How to use:
- Bring the entire strap into the right hand and left hand to the left hip.
- Keeping both legs active with flexed feet, bring right leg towards the ground. If more flexible, bring the leg towards the head.
- Try to keep both hips connected to the ground, the left hand on the hip serving as a reminder.
- This can be easy for some and very uncomfortable for others. Enjoy wherever you are in the moment!
4. Forearm Balance
How to use:
- Loop the strap through the metal hoops and create a circle.
- Measure the strap around the upper arms as shown in the photo above. It will take a few adjustments to find the right measurement here. You want it tight enough for the arms to feel supported.
- Use either the wall or stay in the middle of the room when kicking up. Your call yogis.
- Once upside down, push arms into the strap and lift up out of the shoulders. You want to build a shelf with the shoulder girdle here.
- Use the strap to train the body – finding length, space, and building proper alignment.
- Feel free to make fun shapes here!
How to use:
- Wrap the strap around the balls of the feet. Do your best to make sure the strap is even on both sides.
- Ground down through the sitting bones and then rock back to extend the legs out straight.
- It’s perfectly okay if the legs aren’t straight. Your practice, your body friends!
- On the inhale – lengthen the spine, roll the shoulders onto the back, and open the heart.
- On the exhale – bellybutton comes back to spine and stay.
- Flex through the feet to keep the legs active – this will make it easier, I promise!
- Continue straightening the legs and opening the chest for 5 deep breaths.
- Gaze is at the toes or up towards the sky.
As you can see, a strap is the perfect solution to help ALL yogis get a little bit deeper, maintain length, and work into those hard to reach places.
Just like a block, make sure to grab a strap at your next yoga class!
What are your favorite postures to incorporate a strap?
Please comment below and share the yoga prop love. We can all use an extra helping hand!