Yoga is an ancient practice that can be adapted to fit anyone’s lifestyle. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced yogi, using a strap for yoga, or other tools such as a yoga wheel, can help unlock your practice and take it to a new level. Straps are a great way to improve flexibility and alignment, but they can also help you engage muscles that you may not know you had.
Yoga straps can help you move deeper into poses, build strength, and protect your muscles from injury by providing additional support and stability. Not only that, but yoga straps are incredibly versatile, allowing you to customize your practice to suit your needs. With a yoga strap, you can explore new poses and find new levels of relaxation and mindfulness. So, if you’re looking to explore the potential of your yoga practice, a yoga strap is the perfect tool to help you unlock your practice and reach your goals.
What is a yoga strap?
A yoga strap is a long piece of material (usually around 1-2 meters long) that you can use to assist with your yoga poses. Yoga straps come in various materials, including cotton, leather, faux fur, and synthetic materials like polyester and nylon. You can also find different types of fastening, including a carabiner clip, buckle, or a Velcro strap.
Yoga straps have been a key part of the yoga tradition since the beginning. Back then, yogis would tie a piece of cloth around their hands, creating a loop to which they could apply more force. Modern yoga straps have been designed to apply this same assistance to any joint in the body. You can apply a strap on various places on your body, from ankles to wrists. Wherever you place your yoga strap, it will provide a stable anchor point to give you more strength, deeper stretch, and protection for your joints.
Benefits of using a yoga strap
When you practice yoga with a strap, you can increase your range of motion and strength while preventing injury. Here are some key benefits of using a strap in your yoga practice:
– Aids flexibility – Can help build flexibility in your joints, muscles, and ligaments. This can help you move deeper into your poses, reducing the risk of injury.
– Builds strength – Yoga straps can also help build strength in the muscles you use during yoga poses, including your arms and core. This can improve your balance and control, making poses like arm balances easier to achieve.
– Protects joints – Help you engage your muscles deeper, providing extra support for your joints. This can help prevent injuries and reduce the wear and tear on your body that occurs with regular daily activities.
– Engages core muscles – Using a yoga strap can help you to engage your core muscles, particularly the pelvic floor, lower back, and abdominal muscles. Using your core during poses can also help you to feel more stable and supported.
– Provides support – A great tool when you need a little extra assistance with a pose. You can use a yoga strap to help you with challenging poses or if you have an injury or physical limitation.
– Increases mindfulness – Using a yoga strap can help you to be more mindful during your practice. It can assist your body in the poses you are attempting and make you more aware of the effort you are putting in. This can help you to slow down and fully immerse yourself in your practice.
How to use a yoga strap
If you’re new to using a yoga strap, start with poses that are easy for you and utilize your hands. From there, you can slowly work your way up to more challenging poses. When using a yoga strap, ensure you engage your muscles even more than usual. This will help you to protect your joints and build more strength in your muscles.
Also, make sure you are positioning yourself in the correct alignment for each pose. This will help to prevent injury and maximize the benefits of using a yoga strap.
When using a yoga strap, grip the strap with your thumb on top of the strap and your fingers underneath the strap. Place the strap on the joint you want extra assistance with, such as the wrist, elbow, or knee. Make sure the strap is not too tight or too loose.
Tips For Selecting A Strap For Yoga
The type of yoga strap you choose will depend on what you plan to use it for. If you mostly plan to use it for assistance with challenging poses or injuries, then a thicker strap (such as a leather or synthetic strap) or a multiple-strap option could be helpful.
If you mostly plan to use a strap for assistance with easy poses, then a thinner strap (such as a cotton strap) will work just as well. If you are practicing with a partner and want to use a yoga strap for assistance, you will want to ensure the strap is the same material as the other person’s strap. For example, you wouldn’t want to use a leather strap to assist with a wrist bind with a cotton strap.
Yoga Strap Stretches To Try
Seated Foward Bend: Touching your toes can be challenging, especially if you have tight hamstrings. When doing this pose, it’s very easy to slump over, which increases the risk of injuring your lower back. Using a yoga strap can help correct your posture allowing you to keep a neutral spine while stretching those hamstrings.
- Start in a seated position with your legs straight in front of you.
- Bring your knees into your chest, wrapping the yoga strap loops around your feet.
- Hold onto the strap securely in each hand. As you exhale, slowly slide your feet back out in front of you till they are straight, like in the starting position.
Boat Pose: If you want to increase your core strength, this one’s for you! Boat pose is a great core workout, but if done incorrectly can cause lower back pain. A yoga strap is the perfect tool to use until you have the balance and core strength to maintain proper form.
- Start in a seated position with your legs straight in front of you.
- Wrap the strap around your upper back, right below your armpits.
- Bring your knees in so you can wrap the opposite end of the strap around your feet.
- As you inhale, lift your chest to the sky, straightening your spine.
- Slowly begin leaning back onto your tailbone as you engage your core. Lift your legs, so your body becomes a “V” shape
- Elongate your arms on each side of your legs, palms facing in.
- Keep your core engaged, remembering to breathe.
Extended Hand-to-Big Toe Pose: This standing pose is excellent in aiding strength and flexibility, specifically in the back of your legs and ankles.
- Being in Mountain Pose, holding one of your yoga strap in each hand
- As you shift your weight onto your right foot, lift your left leg, bending at the knee
- Wrap the strap around the ball of your left foot
- Hold both ends of your yoga strip in your left hand, and place your right hand on your hip
- Extend your left leg forward and up
- Use your core muscles to remain stable, lifting your chest and lengthening your spine
- Hold for 3-5 breathes, then switch sides
Yoga straps are an excellent tool to help assist in your practice, no matter what level you are at. They can help deepen your stretch, build strength, and protect your body from injury. Using a yoga strap can help you achieve more challenging poses and take your practice to a more mindful level by slowing you down.
Whether you have a specific goal in mind or just want to try something new, yoga straps are a great way to unlock your practice and find new ways to relax. So whether you are a beginner or an advanced yogi, a yoga strap can help you.