How to Use Yoga Straps

I remember myself starting yoga without anything like a strap or any other tools – the only tool I had was my old camping mat! So, nevertheless, I was pretty successful learning new poses because of my determination. But actually there was another cause for this – at that time I could hardly come across any decent props. But today things have changed and there is lots of various staff you can get to enhance your practice. And I think it’s great! Now let’s see why do you need a good strap and how you can use it.

What Is the Purpose of Yoga Straps?

The main purpose of yoga straps is to extend your arms. That’s right! The most common problem with our flexibility is that we cannot reach the feet with our hands, and straps help us with this. We also mentioned yoga blocks – they provide the additional support and again help with stretching, though in a different way than straps do.

Straps are usually tightly woven with an adjustable buckle at its end. The most common materials for them are cotton and hemp (which is pretty tough). Good straps have smooth surface to prevent rubbing against the skin and getting injuries.

What Is The Best Strap For Me?

how to use yoga strapsWell, there is no single best one! The best strap is the one you find the most comfortable for you. Usually they come in 6 – 8 feet long, so you can choose the needed length. If you are not sure, go for a longer one, otherwise, if the strap turns to be too short for you it becomes useless, as it will not be able to fulfill its function properly – it won’t ‘extend’ your arms to the desired length.

How this ‘arm extension’ can help? Well, with this property you can do a yoga pose better and stay in it longer, so not only your practice will be developing rather faster, but also you will be able to reap its benefits earlier due to correct poses performance.

Instead of a buckled strap you can opt for a strap with loops. I like the latter due to the simplicity and easier use. But, of course, it’s up to you what type to choose.

So How Can I Use A Yoga Strap?

Ways to use it quite numerous, but here are some examples:

  • In some standing poses you need to reach the floor or your toes with the hands. For example, in Padahastasana or in Trikonasana – if your flexibility does not allow doing this, you can successfully use a strap to help yourself.
  • Another example is the famous seated forward bend pose or Paschimottanasana. If again you cannot reach your toes – use a strap.
  • Twisting poses such as Ardha Matsyendrasana are yet another way to benefit from using a strap: you simply wrap it over your knee, and keeping your back straight, do the pose.
  • Backbends can be really challenging, but not when using a strap. Cannot succeed in Dhanurasana? Wrap a strap over your ankles, hold the ends in your hands and slowly do the pose. You will see how better it is this way.

BUT

I would suggest doing yoga without a strap from time to time; and when you get better in a certain pose, give up using the strap altogether. Why? Because yoga is about developing your body by the way of natural balance achieved in asanas. If you always and only use a strap, this balanced is diminished. It is OK to use the props in the beginning to help you learn a pose, but once you get better at it, do it without a strap.